Activists who caused mayhem trying to crash the joint session of Congress last week –- tragically leading to one shooting death and several other fatalities, including one policeman –- have been characterized in news reports as right-wing conspiracy theorists who identify with such groups as QAnon. It’s not the first time Trump supporters have been reportedly associated with QAnon, and when this came up once before, some readers wrote and asked us, “What is QAnon?”
Heck if I knew. Seriously, we had no idea. And those readers must not have known, either, or they wouldn’t have asked us. Judging from typical news accounts, though, Trump supporters are deep into this and other wild conspiracy theories, like the crazy belief that some people actually commit election fraud. Of course we know that’s nonsense, especially when applied to the 2020 election, which we’ve been assured was the most accurate and secure election in our nation’s history and that’s good enough for us. (Sarcasm alert.)
And since news accounts are known for giving such keen and insightful depictions of Trump supporters –- how we think, what motivates us, what we like to buy at Walmart and order at the Olive Garden –- we were frankly a little embarrassed at our ignorance about QAnon. What kind of self-respecting Trump supporters were we, not even knowing what it was, let alone not believing whatever it was they were putting out there? So we did a little very basic research and tackled the question briefly in a months-old newsletter.
After the Capitol Hill riot last week, the topic of QAnon came up again, in a particularly sad context: Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was killed by a Capitol Hill officer inside the building, reportedly at least looked into it herself.
Here’s how the AP put it: “Her Twitter account promoted mainstream conservative views but also included references to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which centers on the baseless belief that Trump had been secretly fighting deep state enemies and a cabal of Satan-worshiping cannibals operating a child sex trafficking ring.”
Well, they kind of had us at “deep state enemies” but lost us at “Satan-worshiping cannibals.”
Please understand, we strongly condemn the foolish and destructive actions at the Capitol. Everyone involved should be ashamed of what they did and those who disobeyed Capitol Police, vandalized the building and led to the death and destruction should be prosecuted as fully as we called for that to happen to the Antifa and BLM rioters last summer. Their actions helped Trump’s adversaries wrongly paint the President and ALL his supporters as insurrectionists and even seditionists, giving the left an excuse to crush our civil rights, which they are now doing. Still, the AP report about Babbitt reads mostly like a hit piece, especially jarring since the woman had been killed just the day before. It includes a couple of nice remarks from her ex-husband Aaron, but otherwise paints her as a nutty Trump supporter who believed all those crazy things about the election and tweeted about gun rights and illegal immigration.
According to the AP report, “Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who identified as a Libertarian and supporter of the 2nd Amendment, frequently posted unsubstantiated views about election fraud by the President and his most extreme supporters –- activists whose conspiracy theories and unflinching support for Trump have attracted large numbers of online followers.”
Babbitt was once charged with road rage, it says, but acquitted. She reportedly supported a recall drive against California Gov. Gavin Newsome, which is at least one testament to sanity and good judgment.
Again quoting from AP: “Brian Levin, Director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said Babbitt will be remembered as a martyr by people with a wide range of grievances spanning from disbelief in the seriousness of the pandemic to beliefs in QAnon conspiracy theories.
“‘When you have people in an alternate universe, they will take a catalytic event and spin it in a way that is most appealing to their emotions and fears, irrespective of what the facts may end up showing,’ he said.”
Well, isn’t that special. I get the impression that to such a condescending person, gun rights and legal immigration –- and Trump support –- are right up there with a cannibalistic sex trafficking ring as crazy things to believe in. And many on the left eagerly lump us all into that same alternate universe.
I’d also say that anything called the “Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism” might want to focus just a little attention on the hate and extremism coming from the left, along with those wild conspiracy theories about Trump and Putin and Russian prostitutes. Bet they won’t, though. Because those examples are perfectly normal.
Another report, this from the AIR FORCE TIMES, refers to Babbitt as an “adherent" of QAnon.
Incidentally, this report tells us that Babbitt “was part of a mob that, after being incited by President Trump’s fraudulent claims of a stolen election, overran barricades and stormed Congress...” Hold on --- one timeline of events suggests the mob could not have been listening to Trump’s speech and get there in time to cause the chaos at the Capitol when it took place. We're checking into this, but It appears these people might not have even heard Trump speak, so I’m curious to know how he “incited” them.
Also, the event they were interrupting was an attempt by Republicans in Congress to present their evidence, which thanks to their idiocy, was not presented and never will be.
Apparently, Babbitt had posted a photo of herself in a “QAnon” shirt. We wish we could tell you more about this group, but we –- like most Trump supporters –- are just not into that. When President Trump was asked about it by incredibly rude town hall host Savannah Guthrie last year, he said he didn’t know anything about it. “I just don’t know about QAnon,” he said.
Guthrie argued with him (!), as she did repeatedly throughout the interview. “You do know,” she said.
He insisted he did not. Then he said they were against pedophilia, but it seems he was confused and really talking about Antifa. Apparently, even President Trump didn’t know what QAnon is, or had only a vague idea.
QAnon was supposedly named for “Q,” a shadowy figure who remains anonymous. But if some of those people who stormed the Capitol and dashed conservative hopes are members of QAnon, I say the “Q” should really stand for “Quixote,” as in Don Quixote, who famously tilted at windmills.
From this we get the word “quixotic,” which means “foolishly impractical, especially in the pursuit of lofty ideals.” Also, “Having or showing ideas that are different and unusual but not practical or likely to succeed.” That foolhardiness and its tragic end are all the “Q” represents to me.