If you’ve ever heard former United States President Donald Trump speaking and thought to yourself, “Maybe this guy is smarter than he’s letting on,” QAnon might be for you. Also, check to make sure it was actually Trump you heard speaking.
QAnon is an Internet conspiracy theory, a game, and a religious cult all rolled into one. It’s like if twenty one pilots (stylized in lowercase) fans went on an Internet search to find a Canadian cat murderer, hoping to find him in the basement of a Washington, DC, pizza restaurant, taking part in a Satanic ritual. QAnon supporters are people, just like everyone else, and they may often be smart, accomplished, and/or successful. Usually, they’re a person who considers themself to be a Christian, and they see the Republican agenda, or perhaps just Trump’s Republican agenda, to be a more Christian and more beneficial path for the country. This ties back to the deranged view of Trump as a G-d-fearing man.
QAnon and associated supporters assert that top Democratic lawmakers, both past and present, such as Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and, now that I’m thinking about it, pretty much any women in power, as well as any rich Jewish people, are part of a ring of pedophiles (George Soros, the old boogeyman of conspiratorial conservatives everywhere, does make an appearance, as you’d hope). This idea, despite having no basis in any evidence, is unfortunately quite prevalent even with conservative folks who have never heard of QAnon. By starting off in common ground, with the concept that Democrats are not simply well-intentioned public servants, now and again corrupted by the so relatable need for campaign funds, but are instead purely evil and defiantly wicked, conspirators are able to hook the sanest of conservatives. From there, the vast web of QAnon conspiracies may lead them to believe that wealthy Jewish people use lasers in space to start wildfires, or that Donald Trump will one day “round up” powerful Democrats and—yes—execute them (or send them to Guantánamo Bay) for their heinous crimes against innocent children and our great country. Like most cults, the claims seem ridiculous and unfounded when viewed from outside, but to those on the inside, and those lured in, everything feels like it adds up. And, given that this world is uncertain and we all have some desire for some central truth or ultimate plan to ground us in reality, QAnon is more marketable today than ever. (Well, minus the whole, “Joseph Biden, President of the United States” issue, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.) If you’re confused by current events, and the strange ways they often tie together, and you already believe Democrats are evil, QAnon will seem like the explanation you’ve been searching for, when it’s really capitalizing on weaknesses that are innate to you as a human.
Despite the cultish nature of this conspiracy, though, White mothers everywhere are finding their way out, and I want to use this tongue-in-cheek post to share some helpful escape hatches for anyone considering the fact that all they’ve been focused on for the last several months is a hoax.
Wake up and smell the roses, or the coffee, or whatever you need to smell to snap back to the cold grip of reality the rest of us have been living with this whole time
The pandemic is real, Joe Biden is President, and Nancy Pelosi is not going to Guantanamo Bay anytime soon. I am reasonably sad about two of these things, so maybe I feel your pain, and yes, it would be nice if we could live in the fairytale world we’ve crafted for ourselves. If we face what ails us as a society, though, rather than splintering off into our own fantasies, we will make far greater progress in the end. If all the smartest minds in the world get together, and piece together a vaccine using the latest advancements in medicine, and the vaccine is tested rigorously, and found to be of significant help fighting a deadly virus, but only 25-50% of a population is willing to be vaccinated, even when that vaccine is free and effective, hundreds of thousands more will die from an illness that could be preventable on a community scale.
If you’re stuck in QAnon, follow the lead of others who have admitted that, now that Donald Trump is no longer the President, we all know for sure that no “storm” is coming, and you can go home. Or, go to Mexico for a work retreat, if you feel like it. Giving up beats being charged in connection with whatever semi-apocalyptic event a host of rogue supporters decides to contrive next time.
Get a hobby
Taking part in QAnon takes a lot of time off a person’s hands. An active supporter may spend a couple of hours every day researching vague details, looking for all the pieces of the puzzle so that they can share their findings with others on message boards and get feedback. However, if that same supporter were to, perhaps, purchase a pet hamster, they might not have the time to do all the Googling that QAnon requires of them, because they would be busy building a proper enclosure with a good amount of substrate to facilitate burrowing and a dust-free sandy area to keep their fur clean. Other options could be taking part in NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writers Month, and is typically in November, but if you want to escape QAnon and write your first novel, I’m here to tell you that NaNoWriMo starts now, and continues for the next 28-31 days. Just write about 1,935-2,143 words every day!
Become an obsessive fan of twenty one pilots
The band twenty one pilots (stylized in lowercase) is an American musical duo from Columbus, Ohio, with some pretty good music. I enjoy much of what they produce, but I am by no means a superfan. From what I hear, though, they love a good Internet scavenger hunt, and often reward conspiratorial fans with privileged information. Someday, maybe all the White QAnoners going through midlife crises could have Facebook groups obsessed with twenty one pilots. Just an idea.
At its root, QAnon is a reflection of the conservative desire for power over democracy, which is a natural response to have, when one’s party has become so stagnant in adopting centrist, common-sense, progressive principles, that it hasn’t won the popular vote in a general election in 16 years. (For those outside of the U.S., a popular vote is just a weird term Americans use to refer to a normal election, but we don’t decide election winners this way, instead, we use a fun point system that is mostly based on population, but ultimately tilts the scales of power disproportionately in the direction of land over people.) Conservative-minded folks, particularly those from an Evangelical background, must recognize that few people in government are as despicable as they make them out to be, inhabitants of glass homes should be sparing in their stoning, and our government is not an autocracy they can be toppled with one 6’3″ Goliath and made into a nightmare of Margaret Atwood’s design. If this realization ever occurs, QAnon will shrivel up. Until then, though, conspiracies will abound.
Note: Originally, I packed this article with two whole paragraphs picking apart the logic of conservative Christians who believe Trump is their savior. While I feel I have a special responsibility to write that sort of thing, given the fact I was once a rabid Trump defender myself, I decided it was a bit much. In other words, if you’re annoyed by my political aggression sprinkled throughout, congratulate me for not adding even more.