THE BLOG
02/29/2016 04:59 pm ET Updated Mar 01, 2017

The Reno Paradox

I'm a new resident of Washoe, a Bush-Obama switcherooo county in the state of Nevada. I recently moved from New Orleans. I've also lived in New York City, Eugene and Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Beirut, Madrid and briefly, Oakland. I'm fascinated by politics in the way a Brady, Manning, Newton, OJ or whatever fan watches football -- an endless, violent, linear (though entertaining) back and forth of a ball in one direction or the other, culminating in touchdowns that ultimately appear to mean little beyond selling Coors Lite and potato chips.

Washoe County's ability to change its partisan mind from election to election makes it a great place for me to live and engage my addiction to the sport of politics with a zeal that might out-do an addict turning those tricks all for that White Horse.

I'm not entirely jaded by the political process or the country as a whole. I do appreciate all that I have. And I most certainly vote. I won't disenfranchise myself out of some stubborn punk rock sensibility, like a petulant teenager, because of some Nietzsche quote I lifted from Cliff's Notes at the overpriced NYU bookstore. But I'd be far pressed to believe that -- despite my parents telling me I was special -- that my vote truly matters.

I live in Reno -- the county seat, a place that seems open to many sympathetic for social programs like Planned Parenthood, even though statewide, Planned Parenthood is largely demonized as a group of misanthropic mad scientists that collect fetuses, and as such it has made it expensive for your average Joe, like myself, to make sure that I am physically and medically well. It cost me $118 just to make sure that I could ethically ask a woman on a date.

I'm a healthy 32-year-old male who finds these things important. Most people are unable, as it turns out, largely because they can't afford a test to determine that they are free of the God knows what. And I get to wondering -- with a conservative Congressman that often hides behind the trappings of Christianity -- how is it that I can walk out of this clinic to immediately, in broad daylight, be propositioned by a sex worker beneath a skyline of 24-hour casinos that never stop serving booze?

I do enjoy choice, and a man or woman's vice are choices of their own. I just prefer they behave safely and have the resources to achieve just that. And to be in bed with Big Money that encourages vice and is within spitting distance of legal prostitution, why strip the state of necessary funds to make sure it is healthy and safe?

What, really, would Jesus do? I believe he would begin with washing the above mentioned sex worker's feet.

The question on many minds at this point might be, "Dude, why the hell would you ever choose to live in Reno?" It's a fair question. Realistically speaking, it's only beautiful if you look up. On bad days, I feel like I'm living in a massive ash tray full of weird little cigarette butt people that may as well be chained to a slot machine, hitting feeder bars like rats to get a food pellet as they suck oxygen through a nasal cannula. The Wikipedia page will tell you that the rich cultural history of this place basically entails The Wizard (you won't know what that means if you weren't born in the late 70s or early 80s) and, well, divorce. Oh, and it's the leading city in liver failure.

It's no surprise that this place would would be ripe for flip-flopping from one party to another, from election to election. The strange mix of conservatism and big money combined with an economy geared toward vice makes the place a bit of a paradox. Being anti-abortion yet pro-prostitution, for example, make it an unpredictable landscape for Trump and Bernie. Oh, and Hillary. No one seems to like her around here. I'm a little surprised she won the state of Nevada, but not at all shocked that Bernie trounced her in Washoe, 53-47.