“I’ve now become the laughingstock of my entire family.”
That’s what one QAnon conspiracy theorist posted to a message board as he watched Joe Biden get inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday.
And how could the swearing-in of an elected official possibly make some rando an embarrassment to his loved ones, you ask?
Well, you see, QAnon diehards didn’t believe that Biden would have a chance to place his hand on a Bible and take the oath of office.
Instead, they felt that intervention would come in the form of a long-promised event known in Q circles as “The Storm.”
Specifics regarding The Storm vary depending on which particular nutjob you’re talking to, but the jist is always roughly the same:
These tinfoil hat aficionados believe that Donald Trump, acting in concert with a mysterious hero known only as Q, has been working for years to expose a global cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles, and The Storm is the moment at which justice will finally be served.
When Trump lost the election, Q adherents reasoned that he had done so on purpose, and the inauguration was a trap set by 45, at which Biden would be arrested and other high-ranking Dems would be executed by federal agents.
During the inauguration, Q believers used messaging apps like Telegram to express their dismay.
“I don’t think this is supposed to happen,” one follower wrote.
“How long does it take the fed to run up the stairs and arrest him?”
“We were promised arrests, exposures, military regime, classified documents. where is it????????” a second asked.
“Well babies are still being raped and eaten, any f–kin minute now GOD,” a third chimed in.
“Anyone else feeling beyond let down?” a top post on a popular QAnon forum read.
“It’s like being a kid and seeing the big gift under the tree thinking it is exactly what you want only to open it and realize it was a lump of coal.”
“The most hardcore QAnon followers are in disarray,” counter-extremism activist Daniel J. Jones recently told CNN.
“After years of waiting for the ‘Great Awakening,’ QAnon adherents seemed genuinely shocked to see President Biden successfully inaugurated,” Jones continued.
“A significant percentage online are writing that they are now done with the QAnon, while others are doubling down and promoting new conspiracies.”
But believe it or not, amid all this insanity, there are reasons to be optimistic about our nation’s future.
Confronted with the reality that The Storm was never actually coming, and in all likelihood they’ve been conned, some Q crazies actually saw the light and abandoned their bonkers belief system.
“Biden is our president,” a fourth user in the Telegram channel said. “It’s time to get off our devices and get back to reality. If something happens then something happens, but for now I’m logging out of all social media. It’s been fun guys but it’s unfortunately over.”
Now, clearly this person is holding on to some hope that babies are really being devoured and their inedible parts are being turned into footwear for the (yes, these are actual QAnon beliefs).
And that’s both disturbing and discouraging.
But on the bright side, they’re also open to the idea that the Q movement is predicated entirely on BS, and is every bit as dangerous and desctructive as any of history’s most infamous cults.
It’s not easy to admit that you’ve been had, to climb out of your trench and admit that you wasted years of your life believing in a malicious lie.
But hopefully, for the sake of our country and the sanity of future generations, tens of millions of Americans will do exactly that in the months and years to come.