The West stays weird

by Wade Rathke

New Orleans   We humped the highway back home through Texas. It was a great trip. It was time. We have some observations for what they are worth.

We read that the governor of New Mexico is angling for a job in a potential, hoped for Biden administration as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Good for her. She was head of New Mexico’s public health department before rising to win the governorship. She has been on the Sunday talk shows and had a brief moment as a prospective VP candidate on the Democratic ticket based on her leadership on the pandemic response in New Mexico Our experience for what it’s worth is that the 14-day self-quarantine that is widely touted for any visitors is only a press release to outside news sources to discourage visitors. There were no signs anywhere in the state that suggested quarantines for anyone. Nor did anyone anywhere in New Mexico raise a peep about any such requirements. Though the Navajo Nation’s has been a widely reported national hotspot and their website indicated a requirement that even drivers through the reservation should mask, this was also pretty much a dead letter as well from our experience.

Coloradans in the general Four Corners area were better masked then Texans and New Mexicans with Texans being the worse. Walmart, where masks are supposedly mandatory, showed improvement and compliance by the staff, but their unwillingness to actually enforce the requirement meant that some walked around unmasked and in Pagosa Springs, one fellow was clearly only intent on testing the ban from what we could tell. He wasn’t alone. A fly shop covered half their door with a broadside against the Colorado governor’s requirements. A popular Natchitoches gas station off of I-49 in Louisiana, where people line up for area’s popular meat pies, took a similar shot at Governor Edwards.

In restaurants, the only clear line was dine-in or takeout-only. Once it was dine-in, there seemed to be no real limits or, if any, only in the most cursory fashion in the states we visited.

Trump support was largely invisible in these red-alert areas. We saw two or three Trump signs around in Childress and Chillicothe, Texas on the Amarillo to Dallas stretch and only in the towns. We saw one or two Trump-Pence bumper stickers over several thousand miles.

Passing under a highway overpass in Canton, Texas, found us looking up at about thirty maskless Trump folks rallying in full MAGA-gear with big Trump banners and signs hanging over both sides of bridge to catch all traffic going and coming. The whole scene was wild, weird and, frankly, scary to see.

I’ll say this. If Trump is trying to juice up his base with pictures of folks in Portland and other cities demanding justice exuberantly, Biden folks might achieve the same level of incentive from their voters with footage of wild “no-maskers” cavorting for Trump in Texas.

Wade Rathke is founder and chief organizer of ACORN and ACORN International. You can find Wade’s recent past posts here Chief Organizer Reports. And you can link to his website here Chief Organizer ACORN/ACORN International

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