American conservatism is a deeply, deeply broken idealogy. Gone are the days of pretending to care about “fiscal responsibility” and “small government.” Now the Republican Party is almost entirely dominated by conspiracy theories that just a few short years ago would have been considered laughably fringe. Much of the blame for this decline falls on Donald Trump, who regularly spreads misinformation and whose false claim that the 2020 election was stolen has perhaps irreparably damaged the public’s faith in election integrity.
But while Trump certainly played an outsized role in twisting the GOP into its current monstrous form, he couldn’t have done it by himself. Craven Republican politicians have enabled him every step of the way and even more crucially the Republican base has stuck by his side, gleefully lapping up blatant misinformation so long as it appeals to their prior assumptions or ingrained bigotries.
By far the most drastic example of this rotting of the Republican base can be found in the QAnon wing of the party — a group composed of adherents to the self-evidently insane theory that Democratic politicians are in actuality Satanic pedophiles who consume baby blood to obtain mystical powers. The Q movement is a tangled mess of contradictory theories, but central to it is the narrative that Donald Trump is a messianic figure secretly working to defeat the Democrats and their Deep State pawns. It would be funnier if it weren’t so dangerous — as evinced by the proper QAnon imagery present at the deadly January 6th insurrection.
Today, a large crowd of Qanon believers gathered at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, the place where JFK was shot and killed. The reason for the gathering? Apparently, the Q-Heads have convinced themselves that JFK Jr. — who died tragically in a plane crash in 1991 — is actually alive having faked his own death and is in fact the mysterious “Q,” the figure at the heart of the QAnon movement who believers think is a high-ranking government official releasing secret information about the shadowy war being waged by Trump against the Deep State. The fact that JFK Jr. was a staunch Democrat somehow doesn’t factor into the QAnon movement’s conviction that he would be a MAGA Republican in 2021.
Needless to say, the deceased JFK Jr. did not show up to today’s event.
As ludicrous as today’s gathering was, one can’t help but be dismayed at the size of the crowd. There is clearly a sizeable portion of politically active Americans now who have become completely divorced from reality, choosing instead to live in a right-wing fever dream into which facts simply cannot penetrate. There is real danger here and this must serve as a reminder that simply booting Donald Trump from the White House was not enough to save our democracy. It falls to all of us to vote in every election going forward so that we can prevent these unhinged conspiracy theorists from steering the ship of state for the most powerful country in the world.
The very large crowd gathered to see the JFK Jr. reveal himself after his faked death isn’t funny. It’s a deeply worrying sign of how unhinged our political conversation has become from truth. https://t.co/MMCiKu7Mev
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 2, 2021
Crowd is now significantly larger as we get closer to the time when JFK Jr. will ostensibly make his announcement. pic.twitter.com/Kud081brX6
— steven monacelli (@stevanzetti) November 2, 2021
JFK Jr. and the other dead celebrities failed to show in Dallas. But the QAnon crew has moved on, and now believes they'll make an appearance at the Dallas Rolling Stones concert tonight. "Rolling Stones? Rolling away the stone!" says one.
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) November 2, 2021
We want to hear what YOU have to say. Scroll down and let us know in our NEW comment section!
Please CALL your Senator TODAY @ 202-224-3121. tell them to support the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.