WASHINGTON — Those people who believe in the QAnon mass delusion woke up Wednesday brimming with anticipation for the military to arrest Joe Biden and his Democratic co-conspirators, sweeping Donald Trump back into power. Finally, the plan was coming to fruition.
“Just think, today and tomorrow will be holidays for your children,” one wrote on the Great Awakening message board.
Are you, or is someone you know, leaving QAnon? We want to hear from you.
Some talked about being up all night because they were too excited to fall asleep. “President Trump would never quit and abandon us to a commie administration. Not gonna happen,” wrote one person. Another compared the adrenaline rush to awaiting a battlefield deployment. Then, as Biden was not arrested, but rather sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, the mood in Q circles shot from giddiness to anger, rejection, and despair.
“There isn’t a word to describe the depression and disappointment I feel right now,” wrote one person.
“And just like that it’s all over,” wrote another.
“I am no longer proud to be an American. There is no America anymore. Fuck everything,” wrote another.
Inauguration Day was a crucial date for QAnon followers, who believed that Trump was working from the inside to destroy a cabal of globalists and pedophiles who secretly run the planet. They believed that Trump losing the election was part of a master plan — a long con to trick Biden and the rest of the traitors into thinking they had got away with their crimes. At some point, Biden would be arrested. The thousands of members of the National Guard brought into the nation’s capital for the inauguration were seen as proof that the trap had been set.
Then a core tenet of the Q belief system — that Biden would never take power — collapsed. The reactions were chaotic. Some took it as conclusive proof that Q was a hoax all along. Others kept believing, but were despondent that Trump’s enemies had won. They expressed dismay that America as they knew it was over, soon to be replaced by a communist dictatorship.
“Today evil won. Dark times lie ahead,” said one poster.
Others continued to believe that things were going according to plan, even if they didn’t understand it. They looked ahead to new dates for when Trump might exact his revenge. Some even conceded that they may have to wait for Trump to run again. “In 4 years Trump will eat Biden’s lunch handily,” wrote one optimist.
Part of why Wednesday’s events are so psychologically devastating to Q supporters is that their identity was largely defined by their faith. They know they are the objects of scold and ridicule, sometimes from members of their own family. Even other die-hard Trump supporters will at times swoop into Q circles to mock them.
So the faithful dug in even harder. Trump supporters who accepted that Biden would be sworn in as president were dismissed as “doomers.” Some Q circles shunned doomerism, creating communities around the absolute certainty that Trump would come out on top. They frequently repeated the mantra “trust the plan.”
Some said they will continue believing in Q because they don’t know what else to do. On the social media site Gab, one woman described how she had spent what little money she had getting ready for civil war. She said she’s been staying inside for weeks and urged her children to pack up and come to her “so we can be together for the great awakening… I was given a response of ‘your crazy’ nothing is gonna happen.” She concluded by saying she loves Trump and her country and will continue to stay hunkered down inside, just in case. “Still have faith, it’s all I have left. Btw… how long do we stay inside?”
Others directed anger at Trump for leading them on. They noted — accurately — that the former president never denounced the Q delusion or made an effort to dissuade his supporters from believing this fantastical version of reality that painted him as a mythical hero.
“Trump owes you an explanation. He never disavowed Qanon. He owes you people an apology,” wrote one message board poster. On Gab, a person asked, “Why Trump not warn his supporters that Q was bs?” Another person responded, “I guess it was a good story for reelection.”
Since Trump began baselessly contesting his election loss, a cottage industry of MAGA personalities cropped up to make bold, and utterly false, claims about how the election was stolen. They mostly did not name-drop Q specifically, but their words were eagerly swallowed up by Q followers looking for any signs of hope. In lieu of evidence, people like Trump lawyer Sidney Powell said to wait for bombshell revelations that were coming soon. People believed, and they waited.
On Wednesday, when it became clear those bombshells were duds, they lashed out at Powell and others like Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, and lawyer and conspiracy theorist Lin Wood. “Fuck rudy, flynn, powell, lin, and everybody else that gave us false hope,” said one exasperated poster.
One person bluntly summed it up as “our own grifters fucked us.”
Though the Q belief system took a major hit Wednesday, there are strong signs it will not immediately fade away. Many people expressed the need to keep the community together to continue the fight against what they believe are the deep state, communists, and globalists that threaten the country. Several said, directly or indirectly, that they have invested so much into Q that they can’t bear to walk away.
“What would be the point of giving up right now?” wrote one person. “I’ve nothing better to do than trust the people that laid everything on the line for America.”