The best place to hang out at a Ron Paul event is at the edges of the crowd. That's where you can meet the people who come to see Ron Paul because they look into his eyes and see there, reflected, all their own personal grudges and enthusiasms. In Iowa and, to a lesser extent, in New Hampshire, you'd find gun enthusiasts and the really hardcore anti-war types, the latter the kind of people who make those we're-sorry-about-Iraq-now types in the Democratic establishment very nervous. Here? Well, here the indigenous political fauna are even more exotic. One gentleman with a fine bit of artwork down the back of his neck wanders the crowd, handing out literature and membership cards for the Oath Keepers, an interesting right-wing bunch made up of former and current law-enforcement officers who swear not to carry out any orders that are not, by their lights, constitutional. (Recently, the Oath Keepers have teed up both the SOPA law and the National Defense Authorization Act, so they must be progressives or something.) The handbill was an ad for a engagement by one Bob McLain, a local radio host, who would discuss, it said, among other topics, "What Does the 13th Amendment Really Say?", "What Was The Purpose Of The War of 1812?", and "What Was Seward's Folly All About?" (I was sort of intrigued by that last one but, alas, recordings will not be permitted.) I was in the middle of contemplating what might be wrong with Alaska besides the Palin family when a nice old lady came smiling up and handed me a flyer in which it was explained that the Vatican is at the back of a one-world global economic scheme "as the end times approach."
"The current global economic crisis has been brought on through largely socialistic principles," the flyer said.
Apparently, both Benedict XV and the upper echelons of Goldman Sachs are rife with socialists. Why in hell isn't Bernie Sanders richer than he is? Life is not fair.
There is a sheen of messianism running through all of this material. They have cracked the code. They are the Gnostics, the keepers of the hidden knowledge — except, of course, for those of them who believe that the actual Gnostics, working through the Templars, the Illuminati, the Masons, and the Council on Foreign Relations, have been controlling the world since they stumbled out of the Sinai 2000 years ago. They are here because they know they will get a hearing here because, alone among serious American political candidates of the past 50 years, that same messianic sheen is what lights up Dr. Ron Paul, who Knows What's Really Going On.
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