“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Paul Richard Harris, Axis of Logic
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That phrase is often attributed to Sinclair Lewis, although it doesn’t appear in any of his writing, or any recorded interview. It might be a paraphrase of similar words from Huey Long, governor of Louisiana (1928-1932), and a US senator thereafter until his assassination in 1935. But anyone who has read Lewis’s books Elmer Gantry and It can’t happen here can easily believe the quote came from him.
Regardless of who wrote or said it, he or she couldn’t have been more prescient.
Most people in the West have bemoaned the rise of religious extremism in Muslim countries, largely because they haven’t been paying attention. Extremism throughout the Muslim world has a long history – we just didn’t hear about it much because no one in those countries flexed their muscles in a way that bothered us. Once they did, we suddenly realized there might be a problem. Some Westerners have started, then, to breathe a sigh of relief with the pro-democracy movement sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East, and stemming almost entirely from secular forces.