SAY WHAT? - Bearing merch with their wholly incomprehensible motto, "Where We Go One We Go All," hundreds of QAnon devotees gathered Tuesday at Dallas' ignominious grassy knoll to await the resurrection of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. - who was slated to appear to declare Trump president again - even though JFK was assassinated in 1963 at the age of 46 and his son died in 1999 at 38 after crashing his small plane into the Atlantic Ocean.
Representing a JFK-Jr.-obsessed "splinter faction of a splinter faction" within the otherwise entirely rational QAnon world Trump famously countenanced, devotees were drawn to the assassination site by obscure online chat channels; citing numerology, they argue the Kennedys are descendants of Jesus, JFK Jr. has been in hiding for 22 years, and it's time for him to return as Trump's vice-president. Others argue JFK Jr. is "Q," or that, once Trump is re-instated, he'll step down, JFK Jr. will be president, Michael Flynn will be VP, and Trump will become "the king of kings." It's a lot, we know. And so they came, some spending the night and from as far away as New York and California, to stand in the rain - waving at cars, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, insisting we never landed on the moon, and eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of the lunatic prophesy at 12:29 p.m.
As they waited - in an odd coincidence, if there are really any coincidences, on All Souls Day, dedicated to praying for souls stuck in purgatory - they happily approached and introduced themselves to sundry other dead celebrities in attendance who, according to QAnon, had faked their deaths to avoid the deep state. "They said dead people would be walking around," said a woman on the QAnon livestream. "Thoroughly excited!" By then, people reported they had "seen" Robin Williams, Kobe Bryant, Dale Earnhardt, Debbie Reynolds and Richard Pryor. On the livestream, they're jubilant: "There's somebody in a mask. Is it Michael Jackson? It's Michael Jackson!...I just can't wait to see Kobe Bryant!... There's been a rapper here, we're not sure of his name...Tupac, maybe?" One attendee worried no parade permits had been received for the parade of dead celebrities planned for later in the afternoon, but most people were sanguine about the historic day. A woman in a Captain America costume was confident JFK Jr. would arrive alive, accompanied by his now-104-year-old father to help usher in the Trump/JFK. Jr administration: if they didn't show up, she said, "We'll figure something happened in the plan that made it not safe to do it. We'll figure it just wasn't the right time."
With the approach of 12:29 p.m., ostensibly the right time, people chanted "God bless America!" and "JFK!" amidst a countdown: "It is almost 12:29... Any minute now, the big reveal..." Then, bafflingly, the dead president and his dead son failed to arrive. Talk about a bummer. The wet mournful crowds slowly dwindled as livestream hosts offered a mix of gloom and hope: "I'm sad for everybody - we look like a bunch of liars. But let's keep the faith." One noted QAnon at least brought loners and losers together: "Some of them were home alone feeling lonely - they had nobody." And many didn't give up, vowing to return to the knoll at midnight or predicting JFK Jr. and his dead cohorts would emerge at that night's Rolling Stones concert in Dallas. Online skeptics chimed in: "Will they play 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'? Will Elvis/Jimmy Hoffa/Amelia Earheart show up? Can we just get to the part where they all drink poisoned Kool-Aid? This is what happens when you don't pay attention in U.S. History class. Texas y'all." Alas, the comic relief comes with harsh reality: Mass derangement isn't all that entertaining, the QAnon channel had 4,600 subscribers asking why JFK didn't show, even extremism experts were shocked at the numbers who did - "If they're willing to show up (to see) JFK Jr., (what) happens when they get real power?" - and, speaking of, these people belong to a party that could win the mid-terms. Then again, if they're reviving dead people, can we have John Prine back please?
(Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.)