An excerpt from this week's Off the Record, in which Bruce Anderson has an amusing encounter with a coupla' LaRouchies in San Francisco...
Friday about two in the afternoon, I headed west on Market Street for what I call my Up and Over — up Market, up 17th, down Stanyan, left turn through the gauntlet of dope dealers at Haight and Stanyan, past Hippie Hill and a couple hundred young derelicts, past the tennis courts, north on 7th to Kaju where the counter girl was deep into her Korean-English Bible, an island of wholesomeness after a traverse of much of The City's demographic, from clumps of open air criminals through serene neighborhoods of Whole Foods shoppers. Setting out from Bush and Kearney, I was soon on Market where, near Fourth and Market, I saw a large placard declaring, “Obama is a cracker.”
If you don't know the LaRouchites I'll save you research time by telling you they're a cult led by a one-time Trotskyite and convicted swindler named Lyndon LaRouche who says the whole global show is a conspiracy, a conspiracy which includes the Queen of England as a drug dealer. The LaRouchies are so far out even the Building 7 people think they're whacked. Two young LaRouchies, one black the other white, manned the LaRouche table with the inflammatory denunciation of Obama as a cracker. They were besieged by a half dozen angry black men and a stylish young black woman who was lifting her Nordstrom shopping bag up and down like she couldn't quite decide whether or not to swing it at the Larouchies. The white LaRouchie was a bulge-eyed nutcase, a cartoon quality fanatic, the black LaRouchie an apologetic-looking kid who seemed to be having serious second thoughts in the face of the deluge of insults he was taking from his fellow ethnics. If a pair of uniformed cops hadn't been standing nearby the two LaRouchies would have been smacked around, I'm sure. Market Street isn't the kind of venue where you want to get into arguments with passersby. Or street nuts. Or LaRouchites. But I helped myself to a leaflet and, adopting what I thought was the therapeutic tone I've learned as a long time resident of Mendocino County, announced that I thought calling the president a cracker wasn't the way to “enhance dialogue.” The black LaRouchie, nonplussed, stared back at me. The white nut called me a double fascist. “You are a fascist,” he said, “an obvious fascist.” That had been his response to all his critics. It isn't right to call the president a cracker, I insisted. Two black guys encouraged my line of flab-think. “That's right,” they said, as I added that Obama was certainly not a cracker, of all things. At which point a round black guy, pointing happily at me, shouted trimphantly at the LaRouchies, “See mothafuggas! Even this cracker say you wrong.” I walked on, vindicated.