A lone protester paced in the darkness Wednesday evening up and down a traffic-filled stretch of Fletcher Avenue near Fontana Hall.
But his sign, roughly five feet in both length and width, did not express concern about the possibility of war in Iraq. Nor did it question Saturday’s probable visit by President George W. Bush, about which the protester knew nothing.
Instead, the protester’s sign had a more elusive message, saying, “Bush must be stopped” because there is a battle to keep America from becoming a “neo-Nazi state.”
The protester, who wanted to be known only as Dennis because of a run-in with university police, said he is a former USF student. He said he recently quit his job as a taxi driver and is living off of his grandparents while fighting for his cause.
And what exactly is his cause? Well, Dennis said he believes in a quote, also on his sign, that he said came from President John F. Kennedy. It reads, “The office of President has been used to foment a plot to destroy Americans’ freedom …”
Furthermore, according to Dennis, Kennedy said that he would endeavor to warn the American public before his time in office had ended.
Dennis said he believes the cryptic warning is about to come to fruition and that people nationwide are rallying to stop America’s destruction.
“Everything is coming together at a point of weirdness,” Dennis said.
But Dennis does not blame President Bush, Bush’s father or President Bill Clinton.
Instead, Dennis sights an underground theory that the entire world is controlled by Masonic orders and occult organizations. And, Dennis said, these organizations control the presidency.
As strange as it may seem, this theory does have a sort of cult following. Hollywood even briefly touched on it in the movie From Hell, which is based on the case of the infamous killer Jack the Ripper.
Followers of this belief cite the fact that a majority of both the founding fathers and presidents of the United States have belonged to Masonic orders.
Dennis points out that even President Bush belonged to a Masonic order known as Skull and Bones during his time at Yale.
Dennis said he has launched a roadside campaign in the Tampa area to bring awareness to this perceived threat. In addition, Dennis has a Web site, located at www.geocities.com/thefreesociety, that explains his mission.
Dennis said he encourages people to look beyond the news and fight against the power-hungry, behind-the-scenes people in the United States and Europe. He said he feels like his entire campaign is coming to a focal point.
“I feel the vibe,” Dennis said.