The Grand Symbol of Our Mighty Republic


THE SKY, Dec. 20—We’re hovering 1,500 feet above Baltimore in a 200-foot blimp with Ron Paul’s name on it, and I’ve lost feeling in my hands. Elijah Lynn, vice president of the Ron Paul Blimp, passes around heat packets, the kind made for skiers. “Shake it,” he says. Over the past week, temperatures in the blimp have dropped to as low as 28 degrees. As the crew has learned, it’s hard out here for a blimp.

The Ron Paul Blimp launched last week in Elizabeth City, N.C,. and has since moved through Columbia, S.C., Richmond, Va., and now Baltimore, taking days off for bad weather. (You can track the blimp’s path via GPS here.) Anyone craning their neck blimpward sees one of two messages: “Who Is Ron Paul?” (an homage to Ayn Rand’s ” Who is John Galt?”) or “Ron Paul Revolution,” with the “evol” highlighted as a backwards “love.”

[…] There’s something perfectly Paulian about the blimp. It’s a stunt, in the best sense of the term—big, memorable, and utterly silly—a lot like Ron Paul’s candidacy itself, at least in the eyes of outsiders.

I have to quibble over this last assertion. Thanks to Ron Paul, scientists now have enough data to quantify nonsense, making the Ron Paul blimp objectively silly. No one in their right mind says,” Hay yeah, lets advertise our man for president with a blimp!” and then, not only puts forth enough effort to raise the money from like-minded idiots to put the damn thing in the air but then plasters it with allusions to Ayn Rand. The surviving members of Monty Python were preparing for a reunion, took one look at the Ron Paul Blimp and then Michael Palin turned to John Cleese and said, “Why bother?” Will Farrel, when contacted to play the part of Paul in an upcoming biopic said, “I’m sorry, I simply have too much dignity to act that ridiculous.” This is industrial strength silly, hardened in the hard heart of the most nonsensical blast furnace and constructed by mimes huffing ether.

It’s the perfect symbol for America in the 21st Century: a giant bag of hot air, drifting lazily overhead, threatening to fall on anyone and everyone for no good reason other than that it simply can. All that would make it better is if it were a nuclear powered blimp covered in depleted uranium spikes, built to substandard specs by a blimp design firm who outsourced the job to Bangalore and then had it constructed in China by eight year old sweatshop laborers, painted with toxic lead paint and imported by Wal-Mart.

Ben Franklin famously suggested that our national emblem should be, not the Bald Eagle, but the Wild Turkey. It only took 223 years but he finally got his wish.

Link via Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake.