While watching a John Oliver video on COVID Conspiracy Theories, I was inspired to check out Chris’ Facebook page. Chris is in my story of Richard and Tracy; he was a friend Richard made here in town, who basically supplanted me as Richard’s BFF, inspiring some jealousy–but I also liked Chris. However, over time, he’s turned out to be–well, how to put this charitably–nutty.
I’ve watched his Facebook over the years; there’s been everything from birther theories to fluoride to anti-vax to Oathkeepers to Obama putting us in concentration camps to aliens to flat-earth. He was very upset with his ex for vaccinating their son. He’d been quiet for some time, but COVID has inspired a whole bunch of posts lately about how it’s all a hoax and Trump is great and drain the swamp and masks will kill and COVID doesn’t kill but the vaccine will! Then there was a post about how the vaccine was going to inject nano-bots into our bodies. He pulls from such respectable sources as Alex Jones and Infowars.
One recent post said, Do you actually know anybody who’s been killed by COVID? Like nobody *really* has died from it. I saw this, like, a day or two after learning that my old online friend Enema had died of it, and that my mom and brother are dealing with it. The brother of one of my college friends also died of it a few months ago. So yeah, it happens, and you don’t have to be elderly.
This is the danger of these conspiracy theories that go around these days. Before, they were annoying but mostly harmless; now they can get people killed.
Years ago, I pulled up some stuff about Chris on the Internet, as I described here–a history of people calling him a con and a psychopath and even clinically paranoid. This is the person who replaced me as Richard’s BFF?
I remember writing this post after discovering that Chris had unfriended me on Facebook in 2011. I was afraid of what Richard and Tracy had been telling him about me. Three years later, I wrote this post because Chris had friended me again, making me wonder what had happened. I’m amazed that with all my political posts over the past year, he has said nothing–heck, nothing about anything to me, really. Makes me wonder if he even remembers me.
Given that, and given what I seriously think is some kind of mental illness, I finally decided to take him off my Facebook. This is just crazy. Is this QAnon? I don’t know a lot about QAnon, but that may be where it’s coming from. I just read about a Reddit support group for people who’ve lost loved ones to the Pod People (ie, QAnon).
This is the kind of thing that’ll lead to the end of this great democracy: people too far into their conspiracy theories to have any idea what’s really going on, while the Truth has been heavily documented and proven for all Americans to see in legitimate sources: government documents, videos, transcripts, news articles. And these QAnon people call *us* “sheeple,” while they’re blindly following some anonymous poster on the Net. They’re sucking on the Fog Machine.
Oh yeah, and this article, Christianity Will Have Power, came out today, trying to explain why white Evangelicals are so heavily supporting Trump even now. It described a deeply religious community in Iowa, and a Trump speech which for the rest of us was about him saying he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. But for the people at the speech, it was about giving white Evangelicals power and domination.
For anybody who knows white Evangelicals, and follows ex-vangelicals and political and religious commentators, this is hardly news. But it inspired me to share it on social media with the comment: “It’s Weimar Prussia! I recommend “Sanctity of Rural Life” by Shelley Baranowski. The parallels are uncanny.”
I read that book back in 2016 or 2017 as research for my work-in-progress. It was published 20 years earlier and had nothing to do with today’s American political climate. But it described how Prussia’s farmers were deeply religious, and while they depended on immigrants from Poland to do farm work (Germans wouldn’t do it anymore), they hated the Poles bringing Catholicism into Protestant Prussia. It was also controversial to let all those immigrants in. The deeply religious Prussians saw their way of life eroding, with their kids going off to the cities for work, and the cities full of every kind of sin and iniquity. The Weimar Republic took away the titles of their nobility, and, as far as they were concerned, also took God out of the schools. They were upset that they didn’t say prayers in schools anymore.
Then the Nazis stepped in and said they would fix all that. They would save Germany. They would save Christianity. They were a kind of “Christ.” They would stop abortion. They had all the same concerns as the Prussians. Christian Nazi groups sprang up. Junkers, the landowners and military and political class, thought Hitler and the Nazis were barbaric, but figured they could use Hitler as a tool to change things back the way they wanted (monarchy etc.). They could keep him under control! They also spread conspiracy theories about the Jews, such as the “stabbed in the back” theory and the story that Jews were behind everything, controlling everything, influencing everything.
Since I read that during Trump’s campaign, the alarm bells have been going off for me for years. Everything I’ve seen since then, has only confirmed those alarm bells. He’s just as bad as we feared he would be, if not worse. And huge groups of our population are so entrenched in their alternate realities that they don’t even see it. They think Trump is the savior of America–just as Prussians thought Hitler was the savior of Germany. And GOP leadership thought they could control him, use him as a tool to turn America back the way they wanted.
I’ve been studying history and literature for most of my life; I have seen written in those pages just how entrenched conservatives can get in power and control, how much they want to keep it, and how it prevents society from progressing in ways that help the downtrodden, that help everyone have a better life. It especially struck me when reading a book about Asia, but also when reading about humanists and many religious societies such as the Puritans. I realized–from reading the Bible through many times and seeing what it really said–that over and over again, liberals would try to bring values to society that would make them more Christian as Christ taught it, but conservatives would step in and turn it all back again. I began to realize who the real Christians are (and you don’t have to be named a “Christian” to fit the bill).
The people who believe these conspiracy theories are not just harmless kranks anymore (and, depending on the theory, weren’t always before, either). They could actually lead to the end of our Great Experiment. Already, I see leaders like Macron and Merkel taking over where we once stood as leaders of the Free World. They have to.
I will leave you with this video by Wiegand: