Last week, during the latest round of frenzied shit-flinging the RNC charitably calls debates, Donald Trump had a single moment that even his staunchest detractors had to appreciate. Slimy small-town used car salesman Ted Cruz had just attacked Trump by resorting to one of the tea party's most cynical yet effective weapons, made especially famous during the 2008 presidential campaign by Sarah Palin. In short, Cruz drew a line in the sand between Real America -- the home of NASCAR, Jesus, homemade arsenals and Duck Dynasty set up for a "series record" -- and Not-America. Not-America, of course, is the coasts, with their gleaming urban hubs of educated, elitist atheists who drink microbrews instead of Bud and who fuck people of the same sex mandatorily (but also because it's fun).
Cruz accused Trump of having "New York values," which as an attack line makes perfect sense given that it's always been baffling how Trump's newfound army of unwavering supporters seems to come from backwater redneck shit-holes that Trump, up until recently, spent his entire life avoiding. Trump really has always been a New York City phenomenon and so Cruz hitting him for it is smart, but instead of attacking Trump's phoniness for suddenly courting people he previously wouldn't have pissed on if they were on fire, Cruz went after New York City itself. And that, if you know anything at all about Trump, was a terrible idea. The giant orange dust-bunny, to his credit, hit back hard, reminding Cruz that New York City was the site of the very terrorist attack that launched a million GOP ad campaigns. Trump invoked the heroes and dead of 9/11 and NYC's resilience in bouncing back from the attack -- and that effectively put Cruz in his place.
Since last Thursday, though, there seems to be a push to see who can take the most umbrage at Cruz's provincial pandering. In other words, who can come to the defense of New York and its "values" best. Human camel-toe Chris Christie called Cruz's comment "asinine" and reminded everyone that for all his bullshit corn-pone bluster, Cruz is a guy who takes Wall Street hedge fund money hand over fist. Chuck Schumer followed Trump's lead and conjured the ghosts of 9/11's dead to hammer back at Cruz. And of course, now famously, the morning after the debate the world woke up to a heavily circulated New York Daily News front page that showed Lady Liberty giving Cruz the finger alongside the headline, "Drop Dead, Ted." And there were others. So many others who felt that New York City somehow needed to be defended from Ted Cruz's implication that it was -- well, not a barren wasteland of ignorance and incivility.
A couple of years back, after Rick Perry began running ads in New York urging businesses to leave the city and come to Texas for "lower taxes and looser regulations," Lewis Black famously struck back at him on The Daily Show. In a pre-produced bit, Black, as only he can, praised New York City for being a place where millions come from all of the world for "the freedom to live as they choose"; a place where the buildings are majestic and the opportunities are endless; a city like nowhere else on earth. Most of all, though, according to Black, the best thing about New York City -- and the thing that draws so many to it -- is "the fact that it's not Texas!" Ted Cruz, coincidentally, is a Senator from Texas -- and Texas, not surprisingly, is a place that's proven over and over again that it needs to be nuked from orbit for the good of us all. Although, really, while Texas is admittedly a stronghold of blithering political idiocy, conspiracy theorist thinking, and die-hard fundamentalist superstition within our country, a good portion of the rest of America -- even out to the oft-vilified coasts -- may as well be the Bundy Ranch compared to New York City.
That's because New York City is the greatest part of America. Sure, there are plenty of fantastic sights across this land and there are plenty of cosmopolitan cities, but New York City is singular. It's maybe the only city in the United States that feels like it's both intrinsically American and something far beyond -- that feels like it's a global community. That's one of the many things that should leave its citizens wondering why the hell anyone would feel like they need to defend New York. They don't. Nobody needs to defend New York, not to Ted Cruz and not to anyone else who would dare to cast aspersions on it. New York City defends itself. Its very day-to-day existence -- everything that makes the city what it is -- is one giant middle finger to anyone who wants to claim that its values somehow aren't American. On the contrary, its values are precisely American in that its proud, it's diverse, and it's welcoming to all kinds -- anyone seeking to be the very best version of themselves by being a part of the engine that drives America through everything from its finance to its art.
New York City is, self-evidently, fucking incredible. There's no other place like it in the country or the world. Certainly, Ted Cruz's idiot communications director can tweet out examples of how New York City's values differ from the rest of the country all he wants -- he can slam a joke "masturbation station" that recently popped up on 5th Avenue or its willingness to reconsider the case of Ethel Rosenberg 60 years after her execution -- but all that proves is how much better New York's values are from, say, the place Ted Cruz calls home. New York City is indeed a liberal place, certainly in the sense that tolerance is built into its foundations, but those kinds of values -- those liberal values -- are more American than what you'll find these days in parts of the country that somehow equate freedom with old time religion, intolerance, and an obsession with guns. The City is and always will be the best part of us and the clearest representation of our ideals because that's what it created to be.
So the offended can tie themselves in knots to try to prove Cruz wrong. They can slam Cruz for his slight. But honestly they should be reveling in his criticism, knowing full well that if Ted Cruz says there's something wrong with you, you must be doing something -- in this case, everything -- right. He can have the hinterland territories along with the rest of the Republican yokel base. I promise you, New Yorkers will keep New York -- and they'll keep it just the way it is.