John McCain’s memorial service saw Republicans and Democrats alike praise his candor and heroic service in the Vietnam War, while rebuking how Donald Trump’s brutish simple-mindedness has taken over the Republican Party.
Afterwards, Ohio governor John Kasich (himself an ardent Trump foe) appeared on CNN to talk about how the spirit of the memorial hasn’t carried over to the contentious Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings going on at the same time.
The media hit would have gone totally unnoticed except for a rather odd slip of the tongue by Kasich, where he clearly said that it had been 24 hours since John McCain was “put to death.”
Right wing conspiracy theorists have already detested McCain for decades, going so far as to concoct bizarre plots about his military record. QAnon in particular has had a grudge against McCain, referring to him as “No Name” and insinuating that the brain cancer that killed him was a faked cover story.
They also believe that Donald Trump is plotting a massive purge of his enemies, with unsealed indictments leading to arrests, secret trials, and ultimately the execution of those accused of treason.
So it’s natural for them to see Kasich’s obvious slip as “proof” that McCain was indeed tried for treason in secret and put to death – and that Kasich accidentally revealed a closely-held secret.
Shockingly, this major revelation hasn’t gotten traction in the mainstream media – because it’s completely insane, makes no sense (which side would Kasich be on in this case?), and since it was obvious that Kasich had a moment where his brain and mouth were moving in different directions.
To any functionally-thinking person, the idea of John McCain being secretly executed by a tribunal rather than dying of cancer is simply not plausible. But QAnon believers aren’t exactly known for putting their faith in things that are plausible.
What’s truly disturbing isn’t that they think McCain’s execution happened, it’s that they’re positively giddy at the mere possibility of a US Senator being executed in secret by the “good guys,” with no trial or no due process.
No matter your political persuasion, this is incredibly disturbing. A non-zero number of Americans are happy about the prospect of Constitutional rights being chucked out in favor of extrajudicial revenge killing.
John McCain served his country honorably and was a duly elected member of the Senate for decades. He was never investigated for any crimes, never tried for any crimes, and never even credibly accused by anyone other than cranks and conspiracy theorists.
A society where a member of the highest elected body in the land can be killed in secret by its leader for nebulous crimes and secret accusations is not a democracy. It’s a fascist dictatorship on par with Kim Jong Un shooting his uncle with an anti-aircraft gun, or Rodrigo Duterte’s motorcycle death squads shooting petty drug users in the streets.
And before that, it’s Joseph Stalin executing his generals and ministers by the score with the flick of a pen.
This is nothing that any freedom-loving person should find anything less than appalling. That’s not how America works. That’s not how ANY functional democratic republic works.
But this is the conundrum of QAnon – it’s a movement that claims to be peaceful and Godly, yet delights in the possibility of wholesale arrest, secret trial, imprisonment, and possibly even death of those it feels to be criminals.
Every time I’ve brought up this contradiction on Twitter, usually based around some operatically violent statement by either Q or a follower, I’m met with a deluge of derision.
But even if the people at the top of our government were indeed child-trafficking traitors as Q and his posse have alleged (and remember, not a shred of credible evidence proves that they are), the method of “eliminating” them is simply un-American.
We don’t round up suspects, try them in the field, and either ship them off to Gitmo or secretly execute them. And when we have done things like this, such as the extradition and torture of terrorism suspects, it’s backfired horribly on the country.
The war criminals of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire weren’t listed on some secret “sealed indictments” list, then shot in secret. They were tried, with their crimes laid bare, and found guilty after being given an opportunity to defend themselves.
EVEN IF John McCain were guilty of horrific crimes, a secret execution with no trial would not be the way for him to be dealt with.
After all, a government like this, ruling by terror and in secret, could turn its claws on anyone else, no matter what they did or didn’t do.
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