(QAnon and on and on – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Speaking to a crowd of anti-vaccine activists and QAnon followers at Saturday’s Worldwide Rally for Freedom, Colorado state Rep. Tonya Van Beber (R-Eaton) told the conspiracy theorists, “I’m begging you! I’m imploring you! You must continue to broadcast the facts!”
Organized by Colorado Rising Up, a state chapter of the global “Worldwide Demonstration Movement,” the event, which focused largely on anti-vaccine and anti-mask messages and attracted about 250 anti-vaccine activists, conspiracy theorists, Trump supporters, and militia members to the Colorado Capitol.
Some of the falsehoods asserted by participants in yesterday’s QAnon-linked Rally for Freedom include: Vaccines are far more dangerous than the diseases they are intended to prevent. The coronavirus was created intentionally by Bill Gates in order to infect the world’s population with the vaccine. There is no such thing as public health.
Van Beber lambasted Democrats for voting down her bill that would have banned employers- including hospitals and other health care providers- from requiring employees be vaccinated. She framed it as preventing discrimination and, quoting Orwell, predicted that its failure proves state is now on a path towards tyranny.
“Now let’s face it. The war on COVID has been just about as effective as the war on drugs,” Rep. Van Beber, told the crowd. “It’s been about as effective as the war on poverty and the war on terror.”
While Van Beber and the other speakers focused on anti-vaccine and anti-public health conspiracies, there was plenty of non-healthcare misinformation as well.
At least two attendees wore hats with the phrase “Stop the Steal,” which refers to the conspiracy that the 2020 election was stolen from rightful winner Donald Trump.
Ashley Epp, director of the election fraud conspiracy group U.S. Election Integrity Project also attended the rally.
One rally attendee explained that her sign, which read “Simpsons 911 1997. Contagion 2011,” was intended to convey her belief that the Simpsons cartoon knew about 9-11 in advance and that the movie Contagion, the plot of which does include many elements similar to the pandemic, is proof that the coronavirus outbreak was planned.
All of those conspiracies pale in comparison to the claims made by another attendee, Micki Lynn Larson-Olson, aka QPatriot, who in addition to a full QAnon costume, carried a flag stating “TRUMP * JFK JR 2021 Q Winning”
Larson-Olson believes John F. Kennedy Jr. is not only still alive but in fact the true vice president of the United States, working secretly with Trump, who remains president.
So then what about President Joe Biden?
“Joe Biden is dead, that’s an actor in a Biden mask,” she said. “You can tell because his eyes are a different color now.”
QAnon conspiracies have proved disturbingly popular among Colorado Republicans. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is the most prominent official to have publicly promoted the group’s messages, but not the only one. Former statehouse candidate Vanessa DeMott promoted one of the most extreme conspiracies- that an online furniture company was actually selling children as sex slaves, during her campaign. DeMott lost her race bit still made it to the Capitol, where she now works as Rep. Van Beber’s legislative aide.
Colorado Rising Up, the group that organized the event, is a grassroots organization of people who were excited by the World Wide Rally for Freedom global movement, according to spokesman Mark Berger of Boulder. He says the group stands for freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of medical choice, freedom of health, and empowering people with sovereignty.