Along with everybody else I’ve been reading the articles and op-ed pieces in the Times on the current “populist rage” in the country, but it all seemed pretty far away, especially since we have no 24-hour news channel to amplify and repeat instances of it. To paraphrase Thoreau, my broad, flapping American ear barely even registered Rep. Joe Wilson’s whooping cough.
So I was a little surprised Friday when I found myself walking next to two young men, in the usual between-class throng of thousands, who were chanting, “Fascism! Don’t let the Bill of Rights stop you! Don’t let the Constitution get in the way! Fascism here!” They held aloft photocopies of the presidential-race image of Barack Obama by artist Shepard Fairey, but in place of the caption “HOPE” was the word “FASCIST.”
A few passersby took the homemade posters as they were proffered, whether from sympathy or bemusement it was hard to tell. The young men, sweating into their oxford shirts, cargo shorts, and running shoes, headed on up the quad barking their message and were lost in the crowd.