A fading trend?
It would seem that aside from restoring the hope of a nation and the world in the promise of an America reborn, Joe Biden's inauguration also had the effect of pushing many followers of QAnon into their first real crisis of faith. Why? Because the promised day of reckoning, the 'storm', the moment that Trump would take definitive action against the pedophilic 'deep state' never came. For weeks, perhaps even months, followers of QAnon had floated the idea that January 20 would be a day of reckoning for the Democrats and their deep state sympathisers. Even after Trump lost both the popular vote and the electoral college vote, there was a widespread belief that all was according to plan and that the true plan would only reveal itself at the final moment when Trump would make his plans of protecting America clear to the Q faithful. To the supposed surprise of these devout followers, inauguration day was far from a storm. By all accounts, the ceremony was precise, peaceful and comforting. A few scattered reports mentioned a handful of protestors showing up at protest sites across America and leaving quickly, disappointed at the meagre turnout.
As a result, some of the biggest proponents of this conspiracy community have now been left in a deep state of doubt. The quote "Trust the plan" was one that inspired deep confidence in the community. Now, it a source of deep-seated confusion. The plan, as many supposed, was to have the military arrest Biden, Harris, their families, the Democratic Party, all complicit former Presidents and anyone else who stood in the way of the Christian restoration of the United States at the hands of Trump. The fact that the capital was defended by over 25,000 troops was a sign that Trump was set to spring his trap and catch the deep state in a cage of their own making. Clearly, this did not happen. Now, much of the QAnon community has been left betrayed or without hope. Some are angry at being played by the same fake news and misinformation that they decried, others are simply asking what, if anything, can they believe.
Of course, not everyone has given up hope. Few carry out extraordinary mental gymnastics while describing elaborate ways in which Biden is actually a prisoner of Q and Trump's plan but he just doesn't know it yet. This is characteristic of a movement that has confounded many with its resilience and its absurdity. Many experts have weighed in on what makes QAnon so attractive to people who are otherwise educated and informed. The answer, in part, lies with the very nature of conspiracies and how they creep into society at times when society is on the boil. Research into conspiracy theories and the people who believe them has found that a person is susceptible to more conspiracy theories if they believe even one of them. This is because the basic idea behind a conspiracy is that nothing that happens is a mere coincidence. QAnon, being an umbrella conspiracy group embodies the entire broad appeal of conspiracies in the way it shares supposed bits of information. All Q posts are vague and often even in some code. The followers of Q make their own interpretations of the message and band together in a community that brings all of them together under the idea that much of the world we see is a lie. Thus, followers of this group are compelled to believe a variety of 'truths' and hold out with resilience against those who haven't taken the 'red pill' (yes that's a Matrix reference) or are part of the same system that oppresses them.
Somewhat surprisingly, there are even those in the community that have now forwarded the remarkably straightforward approach of just moving on with life while accepting that Biden is President atleast for the next four years. While it may be hoped that this advice is heeded by as many followers as possible, the situation isn't as straightforward. For one, reports have emerged that extremist and Neo-Nazi groups are now reaching out to seek and convert distraught former believers of Q who are vulnerable. This plays into the second point that the hate and paranoia that fuelled many in the movement is not going away. As followers of Q turn back and recede into society, such ill will can simply find different, darker expression as it bides for time.