On Telling President Obama to Go Back to Africa

Ted Cruz's father stands within an ugly American tradition.
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Reuters

David Corn digs up some video from Ted Cruz's 2012 Senate campaign, with utterly unsurprising results (my emphasis):

In April, Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), spoke to the tea party of Hood County, which is southwest of Fort Worth, and made a bold declaration: The United States is a "Christian nation." The septuagenarian businessman turned evangelical pastor did not choose to use the more inclusive formulation "Judeo-Christian nation." Insisting that the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution "were signed on the knees of the framers" and were a "divine revelation from God," he went on to say, "yet our president has the gall to tell us that this is not a Christian nation…The United States of America was formed to honor the word of God." Seven months earlier, Rafael Cruz, speaking to the North Texas Tea Party on behalf of his son, who was then running for Senate, called President Barack Obama an "outright Marxist" who "seeks to destroy all concept of God," and he urged the crowd to send Obama "back to Kenya."

For what it's worth, Barack Obama's roots in this country go back through his ostensibly "white" mother all the way to an enslaved African in 1640. I point this out because Cruz is not the original author of his line of thinking. Black people are one of the oldest ethnic groups in America. Still, it is fairly normal in our history to find recent immigrants seeking to establish their nativist bonafides by accusing us of being anti-American, and insisting that we be sent back to Africa. 

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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