If you’re not familiar with QAnon I’ll explain it later. But if you spend any time at all on the hellscape that is Facebook you probably know what it is. A vast and diffuse conspiracy theory about dead babies and baby blood drugs and John F. Kennedy, Jr. for some reason that posits the Clintons as the reptilian villains and Trump as the hero sent by Jesus Our Lord And Savior to take down a cabal of liberal pedophiles.
You know, just 2020 things.
Across the country, the GOP has been experiencing what you might generally call a mission creep at the hands of QAnon people who are all but destined to take the party over some day. The best way to think about the old-school Republican establishment is that they’re vampires methodically sucking the blood out of the state. The new QAnon wave is more of a zombie outbreak. The vampires think they can use the zombies as a tool but the thing about zombies is they don’t so much care who they bite they’ll bite a vampire just the same as anyone else and then we’ve got zombie vampires. You see where I’m going with this? I’m being cute but QAnon is the sort of cocktail of resentment and alienation and scapegoating and myth making that a more competent fascist than Trump could easily ride to demigod power.
So, lucky for us, we have one of those zombies running for federal office right here in Worcester.
In a recent story in the New Boston Post, a right-wing publication that once accidentally outed Aidan Kearney as the Turtleboy Sports shithead (proud of that one, btw), Tracy Lovvorn, the Republican challenger to Congressman Jim McGovern in the upcoming election, talks at length about Q.
“I’ve said the whole time that I’m very aware of QAnon,” Lovvorn said. “It’s information and I don’t know a lot of the details, but ever since Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself that a lot of the QAnon information has been validated. Not everything, but some of it. Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, three years ago that was conspiracy. The [pedophile] island, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, that was all conspiracy. The fact is that I appreciate at least it brings attention to something horrific. If you don’t believe that sex trafficking and child pornography is a problem, then you’re wrong.”
“Anything that can bring attention to that isn’t bad,” she added.
“A lot of the QAnon information has been validated.” These people are so close to actually understanding the situation, and yet so very very far away.
And then she tries to tie McGovern to it.
“Jim McGovern’s wife was an intern for him,” Lovvorn said. “Jim McGovern was the one who invited Bill Clinton to Worcester after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Jim McGovern supports Cuba and has spoken highly of Fidel’s education and health care, and now it comes out that Epstein was in Cuba and Cuba is a pedophile island. I wouldn’t mind pointing fingers that way. If he can’t speak out against it, does that mean he’s for it?”
Cuba is a pedophile island! This congressional candidate said and presumably believes that!
The kicker of the piece is this unintelligible bit of brain stew where she’s presumably squirreling around saying that Q Was Right and Trump Will Save Us and Where We Go One, We Go All. As seen in the header image of this post, she’s already gone and tweeted full QAnon things, so I don’t know why she’s bothering here. If you see #wwg1wga, run. It is the creepy and cultish rallying cry of the Q Zombies.
When speaking about QAnon, Lovvorn concluded by saying this: “If it were something that just some normal soccer moms were talking about in the corner, nobody would pay attention, but the fact that it’s kind of weird and when you look into it, the more science fiction it sounds, it gets people talking about it. And anything that raises awareness for these problems, I think is a good thing.”
Now it should be noted that Lovvorn is not an electoral threat by any means. She ran against McGovern in 2018, much simpler times, and got spanked. She took 32 percent of the vote to McGovern’s 67. If she were to win in November it would be a thoroughly shocking upset. But QAnon people in other parts of the country are very much electoral threats, and Lovvorn is riding the same wave. Let’s take a look around.
QAnon-head and general racist Marjorie Taylor Greene won the Republican nomination for a congressional seat in Georgia, with help from top GOP leaders.
In Colorado, one Lauren Boebert knocked off a five term incumbent and she also believes there’s someone named Q dropping missives from the Deep State on 4Chan so that’s cool.
In all, there’s about 20 candidates across the country running on the QAnon conspiracy theory and you can recognize them by the obscure insider hashtags and slogans they post. Media Matters has—painstakingly, I’m sure—compiled a thorough list of QAnon people in politics. Lovvorn is on the list, as is Shiva Ayyadurai, the purely cynical grifter running a write-in campaign for Elizabeth Warren’s Senate seat.
Ok, a quick QAnon explainer for the uninitiated: QAnon is a conspiracy that first developed on the message board 4Chan. If you don’t know what 4Chan is, that’s a good thing and let’s keep it that way, but in general it’s a place where alienated and disaffected young men go to be as vile as possible behind a shroud of anonymity. So in 2017 some anonymous person who goes by “Q” starts posting stuff claiming to have access to classified information about a cabal of liberal political and Hollywood elite involved in a child sex trafficking ring and how Trump plans to overthrow it. Q would occasionally drop missives on the board and sometimes they would be borne out in varyingly spurious ways by events that would follow.
The biggest event, obviously, is Epstein. Here’s where these people are so close to the truth and yet so very far away. Epstein did traffic young girls. He was a pedophile. He had pedophile friends including Bill Clinton and other powerful people. There is not, however, a resistance movement to this extreme abuse of power led by Donald Trump. Trump is at best an outsider to the club, bitter he was never fully allowed in. It should be interesting and illuminating enough that real evidence of a pedophile ring among the most powerful people in the world has emerged. It should be enough to understand that powerful people abuse their power with impunity in our system. For QAnon people, it is not. They need to coat it with an absurdity and a narrative that gives them a hero to rally around. This is the real danger of QAnon. It takes the very real and very potent feeling of resentment toward a system which abuses regular people while letting the rich and powerful commit untold atrocities, and channels it toward the unflinching support of a horrible person who does not give one hoot about them and actively contributes to making the system worse. It gives them a scapegoat in the liberal elite, who are objectively awful but let’s not give them too much credit—they’re dumb as we are and some of them are perverts and pedophiles. It gives them the feeling of participating in a movement which is at best artificial and will never bring about any changes to the system that will benefit them in any way. TL;DR it’s a really good way to get people to root against their own self interest and cheer on a fascist takeover.
So yeah, we have one of these people running for office in Worcester, and it won’t be the last time. This candidate has the support of the police union, unsurprisingly. She got some 90,000 votes in the last election. There are a lot of people in the lumpen townie rat king that comprises a powerful political coalition in Worcester and in each of the towns that comprise the congressional district who believe what Lovvorn believes. And it’s not just around here. A recent survey found that 56 percent of Republicans believe or partially believe that QAnon is real. This is the new face of the right wing, and it’s alive and well here, growing every day through Facebook posts and memes and YouTube videos.
Yesterday Aida Chavez at The Intercept posted a super interesting story about how the QAnon conspiracy spread through her Colorado hometown.
(T)he Q believers I spoke with stumbled upon these incomprehensible ideas the old-fashioned way. They say they were indoctrinated (though they don’t use that term) by their parents, other family members, and friends, or introduced to the conspiracy through word-of-mouth, rather than via the algorithms that have received the most national attention. But word-of-mouth alone isn’t enough. The ability of people sitting at home to follow the online rabbit holes downward is critical. Moms are seeing an ever-changing web of trafficking conspiracy theories bounce around their circle of mom friends, like the debunked Wayfair conspiracy theory and USPS phishing text scam. The Jeffrey Epstein saga, a real-life case that involved an alleged sex trafficking ring and was covered by reputable news outlets, has also served as a key gateway into QAnon.
They’re zombies and they’re biting new people every day.
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I am in a horrible mood today. The callousness and the cynicism baked into the Grand Jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case has me feeling helpless and defeated. There’s a pit in my stomach and I’m breathing normal but it still sort of feels like I’m suffocating, you know what I mean? I may write a personal essay soon on my particular brand of depression and the way that I very poorly handle it if anyone would care to read that but I’m guessing probably not.
Shit’s bad everywhere but the police here in Worcester are different, though. I keep hearing that from the people responsible for running the department and the city in general so it must be true. It’s not like two Worcester police officers pulled a 10-year-old autistic child from a car and broke his arm and now they’re facing a lawsuit that if they lose we have to pay for it not them. That’s the way it works. The cops abuse their power, the city fights the lawsuit for them, the cops inevitably lose and we the taxpayer get to pay all the legal fees and the settlement too and it’s never cheap. Their names are John Alers and Paul McCarthy, by the way. Those are the two guys who pinned a 10-year-old to the ground and broke his arm. That’s what they got paid to do that day.
It’s not like the chief of police continues to say he’s never seen an instance of racism in his career at the Worcester Police Department every chance he can get.
It’s not like the school district administration continues to unequivocally back the presence of police officers in Worcester Public Schools despite report after report showing that it’s harmful for kids.
On the bright side this is a legitimate rendering of what the owner of the Midtown Mall wants to do with the face of it.
This is obviously horrible but it sort of works in a way like downtown deserves something that looks like that. Why not! Woo!
I’m going to have to do another WooSox post soon though I’m dreading it. The project is turning into a calamity faster than I thought it would and I wasn’t hopeful to begin with. The two year delay to the development across the street is a very very very very bad sign. I’m going to go long on that one and get it all out at once so as to not spam you guys constantly with all that.
This morning a good friend of mine brought me in to speak to her AP Gov class about media consolidation and the problems with corporate journalism and what we can do to get around it. It was a really fun discussion, though it was weird to do it over Zoom and it makes me feel especially bad for everyone in school right now. After, I compiled a list of my favorite independent media outlets for the kids so I guess I’ll post it here too.
Worcester Sucks and I Love It (me, shamelessly self promoting)
Discontents - This is a collection of writers doing the same thing I am on a national level. Each post basically links out to all of their own personal newsletters and whatever they’re doing that week.
My favorite of the group and my personal role model is Luke O'Neil and his newsletter Welcome to Hell World. I think you would really like Kim Kelly's substack on labor and heavy metal and other stuff called Be The Spark.
And this outlet hasn't launched yet but it's particularly exciting. The Brick House could be very cool.
Also, friendly reminder that I am playing a set of Townes Van Zandt tunes at Ralph’s Rock Diner on Saturday around 8. Here’s the Facebook event. It’s going to be chill and lowkey and I’ll get to take my bummer out on everyone in a different way than on here.
Ok that’s it, friendos! Gotta run to work, I’m already late. Till next time.