Ron Paul Country: Mongolia in California
California is, for the most part,Mongolia. Erase the coasts and the canals that suck water from the north to feed Big Asparagus and whiten the teeth of Valley Girls, it would be as desolate as the steppes of Central Asia. Driving throughthe high desert between Bakersfield and Las Vegas I note two landmarks: a graveyard for embalmed airliners, in permanent holding pattern at Mohave airport, and a shrine for Republican presidential
candidate Ron Paul. Paul is what is known as a Libertarian, a sect of American politics that wavers between admirably cranky conservatism and loco-weed lunacy: just right for the build-a-wall, save-the-republic denizens of this landscape of coyotes, cactus and bullet-riddled road signs.
There is also no radio here, outside of the squeals and crackles of distant 50 thousand watters. I set my radio to scan, knowing that Paul and the rest of his party’s contenders were scheduled to debate on the ABC Network. Surely the mighty 810, the ABC powerhouse talker in San Francisco would carry it. Not so. Just a guy named Gabbert…gabbing. After drifting through whistles and pops and pleas of preachers savoring the vowels
of Jeeeeesus like a good bowel movement, I finally alight on the debate, weak and fading, for sure, but audible. As I might have expected, nothing new or interesting here, even though I somehow feel
it is my patriotic duty to listen to this posing and jabbing on the remote chance that I might find something redeeming in anyone in this peanut gallery, with the possible exception of John McCain, an
honorable man whose time has past.
And then it happens, like a bad analogy one of these guys might seize upon. The debate fades out and in fades Jalisco music, an immigrant radio signal evading the border patrol, bouncing over the Rio Grande off of that big wall in the ionosphere. The debate fades back again for a few seconds, then disappears…replaced by joyful Mexican trumpets. Just the right thing to keep me awake on this stretch of desolate road.
Maybe I’ll read about the debate in the morning. Maybe.