Alternate Reality Rally
Fans of the current occupant of the White House recently rallied in your nation’s capital, arriving by the thousands to lodge their protests in an event at a large plaza just blocks from the White House — before marching up Pennsylvania Avenue to rally again in front of Supreme Court. There they stood, maskless and packed in tightly as they yelled false accusations of an election stolen from the man they love.
A coalition of conspiracy theorists, white nationalists and garden-variety white supremacists entertained themselves by listening to speakers from one or another constituency of the right-wing coalition, each with a tale of grievance. All, it seemed, bought into the president’s disinformation campaign to baselessly claim that in cities with Democratic mayors and populations where Black people form the largest voting bloc, the election had been “rigged” against the man with the elaborate comb-over.
At Freedom Plaza, during the Nov. 14th event, white nationalists going by the organizational name “America First” held large flags emblazoned with the president’s name. The man with the celebrated name drove by the gathering on the way to his Virginia golf course, the better to signal his approval. And, as the saying goes, the crowd went wild.
In the evening, after the permitted events ended, a group called the Proud Boys — a kind of pro-Trump fight club — engaged in street brawls, picking fights with anti-fascist activists. And, as the saying goes, a delightful time was had by all.
Among the speakers who addressed the maskless crowd arrayed in front of the Supreme Court was Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed her support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and its adherents, a number of whom were present for her speech.
An internet figure known only as Q is the anonymous prophet fueling the QAnon movement; the person or people who post under the Q moniker have spent years flooding the internet with unfounded conspiracies, proclamations about the so-called deep state’s cabalistic control of the United States, and the current White House occupant’s role as the anointed savior fighting off the forces of evil. After launching the ruse in 2017, Q quickly amassed a large following through his posts (known as “Q drops”), and the movement grew among right-wing circles.
QAnon eventually morphed into a cult where supporters claim that a cabal of elite pedophiles made up of Democrats, Hollywood figures, and business executives is behind a global Satanic child sex-trafficking ring. The unfounded conspiracy theory also alleges that Trump is planning a day of reckoning known as “The Storm,” during which thousands of these alleged wrongdoers will be arrested and executed. Many believed that the supposed reckoning and the eventual defeat of the deep state would begin with Trump’s victory in the 2020 election. Joe Biden’s victory served as a body-blow to the movement’s ardent followers, and making matters worse for these true believers, Q seemed to have disappeared in the days following the election.
Then, on Nov. 12, Q miraculously reappeared, just in time to shore up the dejected QAnon adherents. At 9:32 p.m. Eastern Time, Q posted an American flag along with a short message aimed at rallying his digital troops. “Nothing can stop what is coming. Nothing!” Q wrote.
And throughout QAnonland, the people rejoiced.
When Love = Hate
The day after the Washington, D.C. pro-Trump rally, a group calling itself the Walk Away movement — which includes LGBTQ, Black, and Latino people who say they have “walked away” from the Democratic Party — convened, with several speakers said the movement is all about love. Speaker Drew Hernandez, however, did not seem to get the “love” memo, because he celebrated Proud Boys’ violence against anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter activists, adding that he was ready for civil war.
“And right now, it’s your time, America!” Hernandez exclaimed. “It’s your time to rise! Whether Donald Trump wins or not, it’s your time to rise! Because we will not go down without a fight! We will not go down without bloodshed!”
Love, it seems, is complicated.