How wealthy businessmen and one future political leader abused young girls over decades
Among the more feverish (though increasingly mainstream) wings of conservative true believers, there has been a years-long, inchoate conspiracy theory that posits, among many other things, a group of global elites are at the center of a child trafficking ring. Pizzagate and QAnon are manifestations of this paranoid worldview, with QAnon metastasizing into a “collective delusion” (or even more terrifyingly a Nazi cult) particularly among broad swaths of Trump voters, administration officials, and members of congress. I doubt that Trump himself has thought very deeply about it, beyond what fragments pass through his fetid view during Fox News binge-fests or his ego-scrolls through twitter desperate to find something to retweet, but that hasn’t stopped the president from abusing his power to fuel our own Reichstag flames.
I mention this in the context of this Guardian piece because one of the many Trumpian psychoses we’ll spend years trying to recover from is projection and this story typifies it. Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Trump supporters have convinced themselves that Hillary Clinton and George Soros are a part of some global child trafficking scheme when Trump himself spent decades at the center of a legalized system that saw girls as young as fourteen abused by rich and powerful men. At the very least, he profited from the pageants and agencies that facilitated obviously abusive behavior, he strolled through backstages where teenage girls where getting dressed, and he has been credibly accused of sexual assault by no fewer twenty five women, many of the assaults occurring during the time when he was running these shows.
None of these obvious facts matter to the cult of personality that will once again rise up to cast their vote for this man to lead the country because they have settled on their own truth. When I think through how we might begin to rebuild from the disaster of Trump’s illegitimate reign, this is the fact that stops me cold. Trump will some day no longer hold official office, though I’m certain that even when he does leave the White House he’ll refuse to abide by the unspoken rules of past presidents and will rally his supporters in a way that he’ll be able to maximally profit from no matter the damage it does to the country. Even if the Republican party continues its devotion to Trumpism, many of the policies he championed will be reversed and we will move forward with some progress.
Conspiracy theories have, of course, long preceded Trump and the right wing of American politics has suffered a paranoid style for generations. Every new form of mass media has further amplified an atavistic human need to make sense of the world and protect our own egos — QAnon is the natural outgrowth of information age reach being fueled by platforms like Facebook taking absolutely zero responsibility for what they’ve built. History suggests after this dark period, our understanding will adjust and we will shift and incorporate the new media reality; the continued existence and influence of Fox News reminds us the shift will not always be towards progress. The collective delusion is here to stay.