For QAnon adherents, March 4 was supposedly the day when Mr. Trump would emerge victorious, and regain his “legitimate” 19th presidency. None of that happened.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the U.S. Capitol Police department said it made necessary “security upgrades” to make sure that the Capitol would be protected from potential attacks from QAnon adherents.
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the statement read. “We have already made significant security upgrades to include establishing a physical structure and increasing manpower to ensure the protection of Congress, the public and our police officers.”
To avoid further embarrassment because of their baseless conspiracies, QAnon adherents soon backtracked and labeled it as a “false flag” constructed by the mainstream media “to make the whole movement look dumb.” If anything, they moved the whole inauguration of Mr. Trump to March 20.
“There’s this clause in the constitution that says that power doesn’t transfer till March 20,” Dave Weigel, a journalist covering politics for the Washington Post, revealed in the transcription he wrote. “An oath might get taken on the 21st [of March].”
In their book An Invitation to the Great Awakening, QAnon adherents narrate their personal “awakening” moments. In essence, they said that “the calm before the storm,” a statement said by Mr. Trump during a military dinner in October 2017, was a sign that “something truly great was happening was evident,” and became “burned into the fabric of this movement.”
“For myself, the first proof took place on October 5, 2017, before the Q posts even began,” a QAnon member wrote. “When asked directly, ‘What storm, Mr. President?’ President Trump answered flatly, ‘You’ll find out.’ No one could have known … what he meant, but many of us had an instinct that something big was coming,” they added.
Earlier in August 2020, Mr. Trump praised QAnon adherents during a White House news conference about COVID-19.
Foremost is, the adherents’ storming of the Capitol Hill on January 6, which Mr. Trump was literally flaring up, was the on-ground manifestation of their rhetoric Calm Before the Storm — or the CBTS — as they put it. For those insurrectionists, they are combating in a war against the Deep State to “eliminate evil and corruption … and to restore sanity.” In essence, they were the ones who, in the aftermath of their Capitol riot, caused so much corruption and casualties.
Earlier in August 2020, Mr. Trump praised QAnon adherents during a White House news conference about COVID-19. When asked about his role in saving the world from a “satanic cult,” he was willing to help. “I’ve heard these are people that love our country … if I can help save the world from problems, I am willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there.”
It’s ironic to see that they labeled the March 4th inauguration as a false flag, and said that the media just wanted to make the movement “look dumb” — only to see them saying that the de facto day of Mr. Trump’s return to office would be on March 20. Alternatively, by claiming that the whole issue was in the date, rather than the idea, they just proved the point of the mainstream media. Having said that, QAnon adherents claimed that Mr. Trump’s presence as the POTUS was integral to their plan that would save the world from the “satanic cult” and “the Deep State.”
“When you understand The Plan to Save the World,” they said, “you will have a better understanding of why Donald Trump was elected president.”
Similarly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA.) — who has been openly one of QAnon’s adherents — stated in 2017 that even though she didn’t know about the identity of “Q,” she still wanted to inform everyone about their work because it was “something worth listening to and paying attention to.”
“There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it,” she added.
Even though Ms. Greene apologized for her previous conspiracies that she posted, she didn’t seem like she actually regretted posting bogus conspiracies at all. And being stripped of her committee assignments, she attacked Democrats and Republicans, saying that they curbed her right to freedom of speech and that by stripping her, they stripped her district as well.
“Free speech really matters,” she said. “And yesterday, when the Democrats and 11 of my Republican colleagues decided to strip me of my committee assignments … they actually stripped my district of their voice. They stripped my voters of having representation to work for them for the budget.” Of course, in this era of cyber-democracy, spreading disinformation and conspiracies, as well as promoting violence, will overlap with the First Amendment. But, this right to freedom of speech should never lead to such political fissure or hatred.
In May 2019, the FBI issued a report targeting conspiracy-driven violence, “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.” If anything, FBI Director Christopher Wray called the Capitol riot “domestic terrorism.”
Unfortunately, the families of QAnon adherents are paying the price for those who gave in to the movement. On Reddit, families are sharing their QAnon casualties with each other to have that sense of being not alone when it comes to losing their most significant people because of QAnon conspiracies. Worse still, many of them have been threatened by QAnon for trying to stop their loved ones from engaging with their theories. The rest have been crying for help upon witnessing their significant others become aggressive and abusive.
With QAnon being so persistent in carrying on their fight against “the satanic cult and elite pedophiles,” they will be a threat to not only cyber-democracy but also democracy on the ground. And with President Biden’s aspiration to “bridge the gap” that exists within the nation, conspiracy theories might impede such a gap.