Sunday Pages: "Q-uiet Riot"

An essay by Sean Beaudoin

Dear Reader,

Joe Biden will be president in just under 76 hours. What should be a joyous countdown feels more like the scene in the movie where the clock is ticking and we hope that the bomb squad gets there in time to shut it off before it explodes and takes out the whole damned country. Lame duck? This is the nail-biter ne plus ultra.

There’s supposed to be more Q shenanigans today. There’s supposed to be more on Tuesday. And I am one of, what, 83 million Americans concerned for Biden’s safety on Wednesday. I mean, no less an authority than the My Pillow Guy prophesied that Trump would be president for four more years! The straits are dire.

Still: 76 hours. You could watch this eight times in a row, and when it is finished, God willing, Biden will have been sworn in:

For today’s “Sunday Pages,” I’m turning the PREVAIL floor over to my dear friend and former Weeklings co-editor Sean Beaudoin, for his take on the Qancer that has befallen our society:

Q-uiet Riot
By Sean Beaudoin

QAnon will remain active even after its messianic warrior and scourge of Deep-State Satanists, Donald J. Trump, leaves office. I am as guilty as anyone for dismissing the cult as a laughable band of rubes when they first wormed into the collective consciousness during Pizzagate, in which sometimes-employed Q devotee Edgar Welch, who believed like his fellow acolytes that Donald Trump tweeted to him in a secret code only he and other Qs could decipher, drove from North Carolina to Washington to rescue children hidden in the basement of a D.C. pizza joint—mainly because he’d been told it was the nexus of a pedophile ring run by, among other Democrats and global elites, Hillary Clinton. He showed up with an automatic weapon to find that not only was Comet Ping Pong just a restaurant, it didn’t even have a basement. And so it seemed the movement would fade away in shame and embarrassment, but somehow Q only gained momentum, believers, and additional layers of conspiratorial spinoff. Donald Trump did not create QAnon, but he certainly legitimized it. In an interview during the campaign, and in possibly the most pristine example of his ability to spew obvious bullshit with zero compunction or even forethought, he claimed to never have heard of QAnon despite regularly retweeting their posts, and refused to condemn them because, “I know they’re against pedophiles, and are fighting very hard, what’s wrong with that?” Clearly a question he neglected to ask of Jeffrey Epstein while jetting around on the Lolita Express.

As Trump continued to seduce, cultivate, and pander to the most lunatic wing of the Republican Party, QAnon found a welcome home among their least intellectually capable members, and so the cult soaked in and festered, with Trump’s gleeful approval. He handed the movement both a foundation and a vocabulary, with his endless claims of rigged voting machines and stolen elections, doomed lawsuits and Raffensperger harangues, virus-denial and violent prognostication. Not to mention unleashing his crack legal team, Lin Wood (true psychopath), Sidney Powell (soon to be replacing Kathy Bates in Misery II: The Curse of Hugo Chavez), and Rudy Giuliani (the fraud of dementia/the dementia of fraud), who crashed courtroom after courtroom with such an outrageous sheaf of mendacity and fabrication that anything even relatively plausible began to resemble George Washington’s cherry tree (which, it turns out, didn’t actually happen either.) It is possibly worth noting that the Kraken boasted a division-leading record of 1-60 in its spate of fatuous lawsuits.

It turns out that a reflexive, pathological liar is precisely the idol to worship, far better than one who promises rain during a drought or listens to healing prayers for grandma, because blanket irrationality excuses all possible utterances and behaviors without the need for thought or analysis. The footage of hysterical Q acolytes chasing Lindsey Graham through the airport was momentarily hate-cathartic, but in the end harrowing, because it spoke to QAnon’s complete lack of a gravitational center, the willingness to lash out at anything and everything, an amoeba of delusional hatred spread in every possible direction. After his speech on the morning of Jan. 6th, Donald Trump might not have marched Q-pied down to the Capitol steps like the Piper he promised his followers to be—just another lie in a raging sea of them—but this does not absolve him of fomenting an insurrectionist riot. Osama Bin Laden didn’t fly any planes either.

As it stands now, the Republican party no longer exists as a functioning entity. There is no actual conservatism, no agenda, no ideas, no diversity of thought. Its one and only tenet is power for power’s sake, and an insistence on the de-legitimacy of anyone else who might ever hold it. The vast majority of Republican lawmakers are deeply unserious people wholly lacking the capacity to govern, which is one reason why there are 20,000 troops in D.C. for Inauguration Day, more than we have in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Apologists over at FOX and across the internet immediately claimed the insurrectionist mob were Antifa infiltrators, but, as is obvious to everyone but aggrieved pork chop Lou Dobbs and Mario Bartiromo’s collagen, it was almost entirely angry white men in Camp Auschwitz hoodies. Angry white men in 6MWE shirts. Angry white men in Q sweaters and Q leather and Q hats and Q flags and Q ink. Not to mention a horned Q-shaman posing with his bros like an album cover for Rasputin & the Dipshit Trio, featuring the hit single “My Penis Tattoo Is bigger Than Your Penis Tattoo.”

In the end, QAnon may be more dangerous than all the Nazi fetishists and Confederacy Flag (of) Dunces combined, all the Incels and Boogaloos and Boys who are unwarrantedly Proud, because the more breathlessly inane the conspiracy, the harder it is to push back against. There is no rational purchase for conversation let alone debate within their tortured ideology, no facts in a fact-less, hermetically sealed, Pringle-tube biosphere where the notion that an anonymous high-level government agent named Q is secretly working with Donald Trump to fight against globalist saboteurs, who guzzle infant blood like cheap Merlot, actually begins to sound convincing. Even at the end of the long line of lonely farmers who claim to have been beamed up into glowing pie-plate spacecraft for some quick Saturnine proctology, you could at least ask what the medical bay looked like or conjecture about light-speed propulsion systems, but how do you argue against a shadowy international cabal of baby-eating cannibals, who no one has ever seen or caught in action or has an iota of evidence against, but strangely, are positive they’re all Democrats, plus George Soros?

Senator Joe McCarthy once terrorized Washington and Hollywood with his 50s Communist witch hunt in one of the darker episodes of American hysteria (coincidentally and ironically abetted by Roy Cohn, who later became Trump’s mob go-between, lawyer, and all-around fixer/goon), but we may actually require a modern Tail Gunner Joe to root out our own infiltrators. The first step is to immediately declare QAnon a terrorist group, not to mention a dangerous cult, just like Scientology should have been before it was given tax exempt status and therefore the patina of legitimacy. Politicians who traffic in Q-content should be treated no differently than ones who publicly spout racist, anti-Semitic, or pro-Nazi sympathies. The fact is that the insurrection of January 6th accomplished absolutely nothing, except to commit murder(s), pop the balloon of their own movement, earn the hatred of all rational Americans, bring down long-overdue and massive law enforcement scrutiny, and perhaps most importantly, out traitors like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz—not to mention lesser sludge like Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Ron Johnson, (R-WI) Andy Briggs (R-AZ), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

After Taylor Greene was elected (ran unopposed), she said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take the global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.” Trump congratulated Greene on her primary win in August, calling her a “future Republican Star” who is “strong on everything.” Every single congressman who voted to decertify and overturn the electoral results should be immediately expelled from the House. The six people (Q stands for quisling) in the Senate who shepherded them toward ignominy should closely follow, Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz in particular roughly tossed down the Capitol steps like boozy cowboys ejected from a saloon. There needs to be zero tolerance for the current national retreat into delusional, good vs. evil, supremacy-tinged, masturbatory fantasist conspiracy. It must be bleached from every form of government, every police department, and all wings of the military. Disinformation is in and of itself a deadly virus; bracing swipes of factuality, the only cure. From this day forward Joe Biden should never let the words “Donald Trump” pass through his lips again. The Senate can handle conviction proceedings. Biden can handle agenda, policy, and a return to actual governance. The greatest weapon against a lunatic fringe, aside from lengthy jail terms, is the example of a smooth, truly functioning government.

It was watching the karma-porn footage of various teary Qs being pulled off planes and arrested that should finally have convinced us all of the true danger. The surprise and dismay, the yelps of injustice, as if someone had just backhanded them across the face and they had awoken from a dream, realizing the Broadway production of West Side Story they thought they’d been living in was really a shabby community theater production of Peter Pan, and, as it turns out, storming and sacking the Capitol has real-world consequences.

Over the last four years the followers of Q swallowed Donald J. Trump whole, digested the fatty, marbled cut of his deception, and made him the entirety of their personalities. Since Donald Trump has no discernable personality, that was probably unwise, no matter what RevolutionBob666 said over on Parler (sadly now a shuttered bodega full of rusty tuna cans, remaindered copies of The Road to Serfdom, and loafs of clotted sexuality) and many are going to be left holding the incarceration bag. Which is as it must be. But there is so much more work to do. A complete purge of this genuinely dangerous, culture-unraveling bullshit needs to roar into action somewhere between nine and twelve minutes after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris pull away from the Capitol steps on January 20th, spilling post-toast martinis as their limo driver guns over the speed bump that was not only Donald J. Trump, but the entirety of his pestilent era, before quietly merging into early evening traffic.


Sean Beaudoin (@seanbeaudoin) is the author of Welcome Thieves, a short story collection.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Murphy via Wikipedia.