Food for thought

25Aug17

My horoscope for Saturday, Aug. 19 said that I would be faced with a difficult choice. As always, it was correct, which is why I base all major decisions on the stars.

Everything good always happens on the same day. My dilemma on Saturday was whether to grab my Louisville Slugger and my mask and head into Boston to fight the fantasy fascists or go to Festival Italia in Wakefield.

I decided that the food would probably be better at Festival Italia. Since my anti-fascist brothers and sisters outnumbered the Free Speech demonstrators by roughly 30,000 – 40, I figured they probably wouldn’t need my muscle in Boston.

Given their numbers, apparently the counterprotesters were expecting the entire Wehrmacht to show up. It speaks volumes about the low opinion they have of their own country that they imagine so many of their fellow citizens to be white supremacists. But if you’re going to be a social justice warrior, you need boogeymen, and imaginary ones will do in a pinch.

It was hard to get a handle on exactly what the 40 or so “Free Speech” demonstrators were all about because it was determined early on that the narrative would be that Boston was going to be the next Charlottesville. So, the organizers of the Free Speech rally had to be cast as white supremacist, Nazi, KKK members on steroids. Because, you know, Massachusetts is overrun with them. And anyone who questioned it must be a fascist too.

It’s also difficult to determine what the 30,000 counterprotesters actually accomplished, other than a mass virtue-signaling event that also gave national exposure to a few score imaginary white nationalists.

I know, bigotry and hatred should be fought, no matter how small the numbers. Fair enough, but there’s such a thing as a proportional response that doesn’t result in giving national attention to a few dozen fringe demonstrators that would have otherwise gone entirely unnoticed.

It’s such a bold stand to demonstrate your opposition to the white supremacism espoused by the KKK and neo-Nazis when upwards of 99.9 percent of Americans already agree with you. It’s almost as courageous as going to Gillette Stadium and daring to root for the Patriots.

Now that I think about it, since last Jan. 20, a lot of Americans do seem to think they are living in a fascist country. I guess they must be thinking that from their prison cells, because if this were truly the fascist state that they love to imagine it is, that’s where they’d be – not strolling down the middle of Tremont Street in Boston on a lovely Saturday in August.

In the end, my horoscope was wrong. It wasn’t a difficult decision at all. I had no inclination to attend the “Free Speech” rally and zero interest in calling attention to them by joining the counterprotest.

And of course, the food at Festival Italia was awesome.

[This column originally appeared in the August 24, 2017 Wakefield Daily Item.]

Boston Common counterprotest photos by Tim Carter.

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One Response to “Food for thought”

  1. 1 Barbara Mahoney

    Right on as usual.


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