Sexual perversity is not what I thought I’d be writing about on this morning in America when the Presidency passes from a mentally-ill person to a sane and decent one.
But the QAnon Movement has grown since its birth in 2017 from an unhinged conspiracy theory of the demented right, to a virus infecting the brains of millions of Americans. Improbably, tens of millions. Possibly even hundreds of millions.
What could possibly be worse than that? Well, long after Trump is gone, QAnon could become a permanent feature of American politics. So, despite the fact that even giving QAnon page-time here is indicative of how far America has come undone, it’s best we learn about this now. I’m not sure how much more unravelling our neighbor can take.
My take on QAnon used to mirror the same slightly amused view of Donald Trump most of us held when he ran for President centuries ago in 2016. He’ll never win! Then he won. He’ll never do all those bad things to Mexicans and Muslims! Then he did. He’ll never deny the reality of Biden’s win! Then he did that too.
So even when the subject is as crazy and unreality-based as this is, I’ve learned to check my condescension at the door.
Let’s start with a definition.
QAnon is an online movement that’s convinced the world is run by a Satanic group of pedophiles led by top Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and George Soros; Hollywood A-listers like Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey; and religious leaders like Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. It also believes Donald Trump is leading a top-secret mission to bring these evildoers to justice.
QAnon is a “big-tent conspiracy theory” because it’s constantly evolving and adding new claims, like about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the existence of UFOs. In some ways, according to a podcast about the movement, it’s like a massive, multi-player online game. No one’s really in charge, but everyone contributes, and so, like our current virus, it mutates and gains new energy to infect those previously immune.
Many of us would be tempted to call QAnon followers batshit crazy. But there’s another, more grownup word to describe someone who has delusions that separate them from reality: psychotic.
An Ipsos poll taken last month claimed that 17% of Americans (56 million) believe QAnon’s view of the world is true.
Just as worrying is that 37% (122 million) “are unsure whether the theory backed by QAnon is true or false.”
Hold on, 122 million Americans “are unsure” if Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts preys on small children?
This would all be only head-shaking were it not for the fact that QAnon openly boasts about its role in white nationalist terror attacks including the massacres in Christchurch and El Paso.
But I think the bigger danger of QAnon comes from its infection of the mainstream political power structure in America.
In last November’s elections in Georgia’s 14th district, Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene was elected to the US Congress. While she’s predictably right-wing on abortion, gun rights, COVID, race, religion and immigration, she’s also a QAnon adherent. Or was. By last August, she claimed on Fox News that it was filled with “misinformation” and had backed off.
Until yesterday, that is, when Twitter suspended her account for “multiple violations of our civic integrity policy.” This includes continuing to claim that Trump is the victim of massive voter fraud. Twitter went further and claimed that Greene’s tweets carried “the risk of violence.” What’s more, she’s already announced plans to impeach Joe Biden tomorrow, on his first full day as President.
The good news is, of the two dozen Republican candidates in last November’s election who identified as QAnon members, only two of them won.
The bad news is the other QAnon winner was Republican Lauren Boebert, the first woman representative from her district in Colorado. It seems she didn’t just insist on wearing her pistol into Congress when it voted last week to impeach Donald Trump, she gave a private tour to rioters days before the January 6th insurrection.
If I were a Republican, whose party delivered 74 million votes to their Presidential candidate last Fall, I would be very worried.
Not only is America’s real enemy among them, it’s in the House with them.
Now that’s crazy.
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