Can I sue Donald Trump for undue stress? This essay, or rather, a much angrier version of it, has been in my possession for a long time. It wasn't until today that I felt comfortable releasing it, after AI and I edited it together. Remember, this essay was written in 2020.
For a person who considers themselves intelligent, I found myself grappling with an unexpected challenge. Throughout my life, I have battled depression and anxiety, but it was during the Trump presidency that I realized stupidity could be a catalyst for a nervous breakdown. However, it wasn't Trump himself who caused me to unravel completely; his presidency did have a profound impact on my life, leading me to cease writing and succumb to anger and bitterness.
In the spring of 2020, an encounter with a woman and her teenage daughter triggered a series of events that would forever alter my perspective. The woman, a self-proclaimed nurse, dismissed the necessity of wearing a mask during a pandemic. When she mentioned Q, referring to QAnon, I initially didn't catch what she said. Curiosity led me to ask her to explain, and she proceeded to quote a recent "Q drop" as if it were an indisputable truth. I couldn't help but roll my eyes at her, dismissing her as a fool. The encounter overwhelmed me, and I excused myself, desperately attempting to stave off a panic attack.
Ironically, I was already well-versed in conspiracy theories. Since my early years as a sensitive and serious child, I had delved into various alternative narratives, from Von Daniken's writings to the works of Carlos Castaneda. Conspiracy theories had become an integral part of my life, and I considered myself an expert in the field. Yet, despite my familiarity with such theories, the prominence of QAnon and the number of believers unnerved me, particularly given their right-wing affiliations.
Let me make one thing clear: QAnon is not Trump himself but a con orchestrated by individuals seeking to perpetuate the fiction that Trump is a righteous savior on a divine mission. After devoting 18 months to following Q and thoroughly researching its claims, I concluded that Q itself was harmless and would have little impact if not for the legion of right-wing conspiracy enthusiasts who gravitated towards it.
Living in Canada, it is unsettling to witness QAnon gaining traction beyond American borders. The encounter with the nurse, a Canadian follower of Q, magnified the fear within me. Her unwavering belief that Trump and Q would miraculously fix everything, including the pandemic, highlighted the delusion that permeated the QAnon narrative. The danger lies not in the existence of an elite pedophile ring, which cannot be discounted, but in the manipulation of followers' beliefs to exalt an individual with a questionable character and reputation such as Trump.
The repercussions of QAnon's influence have become increasingly alarming. Politicians espousing QAnon's ideology are being elected, and the movement has permeated offline communities, sowing division and impeding the efforts of organizations dedicated to helping missing children. The refusal to wear masks due to beliefs in pandemic denial has led to avoidable deaths. As someone who has delved into conspiracy theories for years, I urge Q followers to critically examine their beliefs and the implications of their actions.
In reflecting upon my journey with QAnon, I am reminded of the timeless tale of "The Emperor's New Clothes." In the story, the emperor is swindled by con artists who convince him that only the wise can see the magnificent fabric they claim to weave. Afraid of appearing foolish, the emperor parades before his subjects, who play along with the illusion until a child speaks the truth: the emperor is naked. This story resonates deeply as we witness the allure of QAnon's narratives and the reluctance of followers to question them.
In our modern world, where information spreads rapidly and conspiracy theories find fertile ground, we must ask ourselves, "Whatever happened to the people?" Have we become so consumed by fear, distrust, and the quest for simple answers that we willingly participate in illusions, neglecting our critical thinking faculties? The tale of "The Emperor's New Clothes" serves as a reminder that truth can be obscured when we fail to challenge prevailing narratives and succumb to blind allegiance.
In conclusion, my journey with QAnon and the fear of "stupid people in positions of power" revealed a stark dichotomy. While QAnon's influence instilled apprehension within me, it also kindled a glimmer of hope—hope that lies in the power of the people to recognize the manipulation, reject baseless conspiracies, and actively work towards a better future. Let us embrace the spirit of the child in "The Emperor's New Clothes," speaking truth in the face of delusion, fostering critical thinking, and nurturing a society grounded in reason, compassion, and unity.