QAnon has been one of the strangest and most troubling phenomenons of the Trump era, a strange cesspool of whackadoo theories about a secret cabal of Democrat sex traffickers and the secret Trump plot to take them all down. Over time, this theory branched out into a larger tent of even stranger conspiracies, most of which assured adherents that Trump had a second term in the can and was patiently biding his time to spring a trap for President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, the Obamas, the Clintons, George Soros, Tom Hanks, Chrissy Teigan and any other notable figures who run afoul of QAnon’s crosshairs. Suffice to say, that did not happen, and now the narrative is in tailspin.
Things were already looking pretty bleak after November when Trump handily lost the election, but a slew of lawsuits alleging voter fraud kept hope alive. “Trump will walk out during the arrest and thank America for reelection,” one QAnon supporter posted not long before the inauguration. “This will be remembered as the greatest day since D-Day.” There was some speculation that the members of the National Guard guarding the inauguration would spring into action and enact a rush of mass arrests on live television. But the long-awaited “storm” just did not materialize. Trump said good-bye and left the White House. Biden and Harris were sworn in. And now QAnon appears to be in disarray.
“I’m about to puke,” one QAnon fan wrote as Biden took the oath.
“OMG,” said another. “None of this was real.”
Some “Anons” theorized that Biden may actually be on Trump’s side, or moved the goalposts on the timeline. But the general attitude appears to be one of disillusion and discouragement. Ron Watkins, himself a major QAnon supporter who some have suspected may actually be Q — the enigmatic ringleader — has apparently thrown in the towel. “We have a new president sworn in and it is our responsibility as citizens to respect the Constitution regardless of whether or not we agree with the specifics and or details regarding officials who are sworn in,” he wrote. For QAnon, this would be like Thor telling the Avengers to let Thanos have the win on this one.
QAnon made significant inroads with the American Church, mapping much of its conspiratorial thinking onto biblical prophecy, getting even a few pastors into buying into the con. Unfortunately, when faith is set up as a culture war instead of an opportunity to serve, the result can only be disappointment.