I am posting this while I don’t know who has won the 2020 US presidential election. It doesn’t matter these issues about truth and conspiracies will not go away and die. They are here to stay.
According to Fareed Zakaria, “Trump uses conspiracy theories as weapons against his political opponents.” He is fighting Obamagate. The Deep State. Those who want to rig this election. Or already did. Hillary Clinton of course, was his biggest target. And he used all his weapons against her. He called her, “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States.” He did that while his supporters carried posters saying “Hillary for prison 2016,” or “Indict Hillary,” or “Lock her up.” That was not innocent.
Recently, there was a dark conspiracy theory on the Internet that was absurd but still widely and passionately believed, aided in part by the support of Trump and his other supporters including, InfoWars and QAnon. It was toxic but incredibly useful. It had a huge following on the Internet. Trump and his allies promoted it even as it grew increasingly toxic.” It was called Pizzagate.
In the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump was helped by countless conspiracy theories, many amplified or even concocted by the Russians. For example, the Pizzagate theory that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child molestation in the basement of Pizza restaurant was entirely without any foundation yet many people believed it and therefore did not vote for her, but supported Donald Trump instead. Donald Trump was likely assisted in his campaign for the presidency by conspiracy theories.
These were not innocent dirty tricks. It was not funny. It provoked a rabid supporter named Clinton hater, Edgar Madison Welch, to take action. As he drove from his home in North Carolina to Washington D.C. to take decisive action, he recorded a message with his phone on the dash of the car, to his 2 young daughters. “I love y’all more than anything else in the world. Like I always told you, ‘ you have a duty to protect those who can’t protect themselves, to do for people who can’t do for themselves. ”
As Zakaria said,
“He was preparing to risk his life to save children he didn’t even know. You might think he was a good man, but this mission of mercy was actually a dangerous illusion. Welch fell prey to a twisted conspiracy theory called Pizzagate. He actually believed that Hillary Clinton and other Washington elites were running a pedophile ring out of the basement of pizza restaurant in Washington D.C.”
Again, not innocent and not funny. It was lunacy inspired and abetted by Trump and his supporters. They led Welch to travel to Washington with his weapons in place to break out these innocent children from their jail and it could have easily led to him dying or innocent people dying and Trump and his supporters were partly to blame for what nearly happened. He was carrying an AR-15, a handgun and a shotgun was found in his car. What is most surprising about the incident is that no was killed. As Jeffrey Goldberg said, “just because it’s crazy doesn’t mean that people won’t believe it.” That’s what happens in Fantasyland USA. He burst into the restaurant causing terrified customers to flee. But there were not abused children. There was not even a basement. The entire conspiracy theory was mad, dangerous, nonsense to which a candidate for the American presidency contributed. Welch went to prison. His family suffered. And Trump got elected. That is justice, American style.
So where did all this come from? It started with emails. In fact the source was a leaked email to Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta. It was from his brother and all it said was, “Would love to get a pizza.” Sounds innocent doesn’t it. Well nothing is innocent on the Internet. Especially to conspiracy theorists. As unlikely as it sounds, they jumped all over this email. According to them, “pizza” is well known pedophile code word. It is used by sexual predators of children and law enforcement officials have used it to get at such predators, they say. The theorists believed that various celebrities, like Tom Hanks, had joined Hillary Clinton in a vile pedophile ring.
According to Tik Tok a social media platform very popular with children, such as my grand daughters, According to the New York Times Tik Tok has logged 18 million views with the hash tag “Pizzagate.”
FantasyLand lives on. To be continued.