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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Heard

Letters From My Qanon Parents Part 1: Stuff Like This Doesn't Happen To Us

Qanon parents in Fiji.
My parents in Fiji.

I have an email open from my mom with the subject, "What we want you to know" filled with riotously wild claims about the world around us that are too far-fetched even for a ScyFy series. The letter was sent to my brother and I after a long battle with them about the covid vaccines. I don't know how to convey the shock my brother and I were in upon reading this letter that contained lines like,

"The vaccines are very dangerous! They have a chip in them so that they can control us. Not only that, mRNA is experimental."

As soon as my brother and I had both received this letter and read it, we were texting each other.

"Holy shit, did you read mom's email? They are full-on Qanon!" My brother texted.

"I know. I couldn't even get through it," I told him. I still haven't been able to really read it. Each time, I just skim to avoid my blood boiling and my heart racing. It's been a year since it arrived in my inbox and I just can't bring myself to fully read it. It still feels like a joke.

A few months prior to the pandemic, we lost a beloved aunt. She was my mom's sister and she meant the world to me. My son is named for her and I can honestly say there were times in my life that I desperately needed encouragement and acceptance and she always seemed to know and offered it in abundance. She was a powerful feminine influence in my life, much like my mom.

When I read my mom's email, my heart broke. I couldn't help but feel that I was losing another loved one while the loss of my aunt was still raw.

But this time, it was my mom.

And this time, we’re losing her to a cult.

There’s a sudden clarity you gain when one of your family members succumbs to a cult. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like being humbled, knocked down a peg. I had always understood rationally that my family was no better than anyone else’s, but emotionally, of course, I held them above everyone. Somewhere, in the darkest corners of my mind, I thought my family could never fall victim to a cult. My family was educated. My family was smart. That cult shit is for uneducated rednecks and desperately lonely, uncultured people with no other source of hope. It would never infiltrate my family. It most certainly could never tear us apart.

But then, one day, it does. And then you realize you’re just a dumbass meat sack like everyone else.

When the illusion of my family’s exceptionalism shattered around me, I crumbled. This was the fundamental core of who I am. And there’s a good reason for that. We really did seem exceptional. I think, in reading this series, you might agree.

My parents were hippies and brought my brother and me up on Vietnam protest songs, progressive ideals, and a deep disdain for capitalism. They were humanists in every sense of the word. My dad fought on the frontlines of the war on mental illness at a time when no one really understood what mental illness was. My mom taught kids in a classroom with a unique model of teaching that never failed to turn a light on in every mind that came through it. They both had a profound love for humanity, and quite frequently put themselves out to help it. My dad, in particular, spent his career preventing suicide, helping people recover from addiction, helping post-release offenders transition to outside life, and so much more. Regularly, he would be called to testify in court cases to advocate for the little guy, especially in cases where the defendant was indigenous. My home was full of his artwork that included detailed paintings of native leaders he revered, like Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. Our book shelves were bursting with texts like Bury my Heart At Wounded Knee and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse.

My Qanon parents and us in Asia.
My parents, my brother and I somewhere in Asia.

As such, it barely needs explaining that growing up, my brother and I were taught all human beings had fundamental rights, no matter what colour their skin was, what their passport said, or what gender they identified as. My parents helped anyone they could, opened their home to people in need and showed us through action how to love one another without prejudice.

If you've been around here long enough, you probably already know that my brother and I were raised without religion and taught that doing good didn’t require a god. We both grew up atheists with sharp, critical minds and an overwhelming draw to activism. That’s how you turn out when you’re raised by anti-establishment, contrarian hippie defenders of humanity. My dad instilled in us the value of critical thought over almost everything else. He fell for nothing, questioned everything and most of the time, he had it right.

The things my home lacked as I grew up were racial slurs, hateful language, homophobia, and buried feelings. We talked everything out, we loved everyone and our door was open for anyone who needed us. My dad saw the sex workers he helped as peers and my mom’s best friend in the world was a gay man at a time when it wasn’t so safe to be openly gay.

My mom and dad were real-life superheroes. This is how I have always seen them. They didn’t just give me an amazing life. They fought for strangers to have amazing lives and they managed to fill our childhood with more wonder and adventure than I’ve ever been able to recreate for my kids.

I’m not telling you all of this to gloat or to brag. I’m telling you all of this so you have some kind of an idea of just how much things have changed. My parents drove it into our heads that all humans were equal, so hard that my brother and I have never once thought to question it. Now, I’ve learned that my parents follow the online presence of a homophobic, white supremacist, wife-beater. It’s not possible to express in words just how shocking this is. It is not hyperbole when I say that my mom and my dad were the last two people on earth I ever thought would give a moment’s attention to a white supremacist.

But here we are. My anti-violence, Gandhi-loving hippie parents are sending me links to a website they revere, written by a white supremacist, homophobic, gun nut. Telling me things like,

"Also censored by MSM is what really happened to the Ever Given boat (owned by the Clinton Foundation and Walmart) that got stuck in the Suez Canal. They found weapons of mass destruction and other weapons that would ruin the earth. They also found 1200 dead bodies and 1300 children."

And the bad news is that despite getting vaccinated for us, my parents have been lying to us for a year. They're deeper than ever into Qanon and its ludicrous beliefs and my brother and I only just realized how bad it was when we noticed they had drained their banking and investment accounts. We have no idea where the money is.

So, I’m doing the only fucking thing I know how to do. I’m writing about it. If it helps just one of you feel less lost without the people who were once your safe space, then it is not in vain. We'll cover what's happened in the past year, and we'll look back at my childhood to figure out if there were warning signs of this and I'll even keep you up to date with what's happening now and if we ever do figure out what they did with the tens of thousands of dollars they withdrew from their accounts.

This series is going to be written delicately, because I have a family to think about and feelings to protect. As such, some of the more personal content will be posted as Patron-only content on my Patreon page. Sign up today to get the next installment in this series a day early and have access to the extra material I'm not super keen on posting publicly.


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8 komentarzy

01 maj 2022

Wishing you strength and possibly the ability to detach. . It must be very hard.

Two thoughts I might share:

One is that your parents could be in early stages of dementia where reason falters and paranoia and emotion take centre stage. Testing for cognitive decline could possibly be helpful.

Two is the thought that many people who are kind and generally share progressive ideals have a mystical, non-scienctific underpinning to their understanding of the world and a strong mistrust of large institutions. They tend to be feelings-based and attracted to charismatic personalities, simplistic explanations and magical solutions. They seem to be more susceptible to cultism than people with a strong underpinning of logical thought and scientific knowledge. I …


Alanis Garcia
Alanis Garcia
30 kwi 2022

It’s hard to believe they could go from what they were to this but cults are insidious and like abusive partners they are well adept at hiding the red flags until one is trapped. I’m so sorry for you, your brother.


Jane Ravenswood
Jane Ravenswood
28 kwi 2022

In my experience, there is a certain type of person who needs to believe they are special and have some magical insight into the universe. They end up as cultists, be it Christian, Q, "counter-culture", etc.


28 kwi 2022

I hope your parents change but my family probably never will.


28 kwi 2022

My whole biological family minus one person are all in that cult.

They're so damned ignorant.


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