Is there an allowance for these things?
Next week on the podcast, we’ll be talking a lot about a rally that QAnon supporters organized in Washington, D.C., on September 11. I don’t like to use this newsletter to plug articles I write at my day job often, but I hope you all find this one worth reading.
Q Anon Supporters Rally to Keep Faith Alive in Q’s Absence
Less than 100 pro-QAnon social media personalities, fans, and families gathered for a grassroots rally on a brutal summer day on a shadeless patch of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil. The rally marked one of the first QAnon-specific gatherings in the offline world, independent of other conferences and Trump rallies.
Alysia Gamble, a QAnon supporter calling herself “RedShiftReality” on social media, cobbled together the “family-friendly” The Great Awakening Rally on social media approximately three weeks before it took place, according to attendees. Gamble said she thought up the event after her deep interest in the Q phenomenon compelled her to do something about it offline.
“I just, you know, don’t sleep much anymore and just thought, ‘Hey, I’m going to go to D.C. with my megaphone and a sign and a table and, boy, what if I get everyone together?’ And so, this is us being a part of the solution,” Gamble told Wednesday’s crowd.
Right Wing Watch was told that the prominent social media voices who joined Gamble for her event had financed their own travels to the day’s rally. Under the unforgiving sunshine, they addressed a diverse crowd of Q followers and two unmarked white vans lingering at the back of the crowd.
Forcing the Message Into the Mainstream
QAnon movement participants believe that “decoding” a catalog of anonymous riddles left on 8chan makes them privy to a secret plan underway by the Trump administration to uproot what they believe is a global network of sex traffickers and satanic worshipers that directly involves high-profile Hollywood stars, business and nonprofit leaders, and Democratic Party politicians who abuse children. As The Daily Beast reports, the Trump administration has refused to explicitly address the conspiracy theory and its followers, and it may cause the Trump 2020 reelection campaign major headaches.
Lacking buy-in from mass media outlets, supporters have turned to social media websites and publicity stunts to disseminate their message to the broader public.
One undeniably successful moment in that effort came at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida, last year. Trump supporters with QAnon apparel, posters, and paraphernalia placed themselves in the field of view of news network cameras at the rally and pronounced themselves in a way that was impossible for national media outlets to ignore; a wall-to-wall news cycle explaining QAnon followed. Two rally speakers claimed at least part of the credit for that.
“Hello, Q family!” John Welch said, and received applause. “We’re all awake, of course.”
At the time of the Tampa rally, many followers of the conspiracy theory were disgruntled after explicit predictions made by Q had failed to materialize. Feeling upset by the sentiment she was witnessing, Lisa Welch and her husband John Welch devised a plan to fire up the Q community.
Lisa Welch said, “I told John if we could get the media to report on Q, we could keep people united. So, I knew we’d have to go big or go home and we bought the 100 Q shirts and made 2,500 ‘We are Q’ signs and took them to the [Tampa] rally and handed them out and the rest is history.”
The Welch couple says they have taken similar actions at Trump rallies in Fort Meyers and Panama City Beach, and did so again at Wednesday’s rally; they passed out a suitcase-full of QAnon swag after their speech.
Q posts were distributed on the anonymous imageboard 8chan before it was shuttered for a lack of service providers willing to be associated with the website’s cesspool of conspiracies and hate speech. With 8chan currently offline, and social media sites attempting to curb the spread of conspiracy theories on their platforms, vying for media coverage has become a more important element in the effort to spread the message of the QAnon conspiracy theory to the general public.