Mastering the art of storytelling to drive change.

My QAnon Date

12 / 15 / 2021

I meet Sophia at a restaurant just outside of Phoenix. It’s an Italian joint, so after we both order a margarita, we share a laugh. Rebels.

She tells me that she grew up in northern Minnesota — a transplant in the desert from the Midwest, just like me. 

Sophia talks about her job working as an esthetician at a high end spa in town. She loves the way people open up to her and she also enjoys making them feel good about themselves, But she’s ready to try something new. At 43, Sophia says she’s looking for more meaning as she contemplates her next life steps. I get it. 

The food is good. The conversation is easy and light. She seems like a lovely person.  

About 45 minutes in, Sophia says that she’s hesitant to tell me something. But she continues anyway: 

“Well, I voted for Trump.” 

“Yeah. Okay. That’s your right as an American, just like everybody else… You mean the first time or both times?” 

“Both times.” 

I’d mentioned to Sophia before her admission that I used to manage political campaigns back in the day. I probably also added that the races were for Democrats. 

But ever since January 20, 2021, the debate over Trump bores me. He lost. Three ways. It’s tired. So whenever it comes up now, I keep it light. 

“Well, you may get the chance to vote for him a third time!” 

“Oh, yeah. He’ll be back. It’s all part of the plan.” 

“How do you mean?” 

“I mean the forces that put him there. This is all happening as it should be.” 

“What do you mean by forces? You mean voters?” 

“Well, yeah. I guess. But there’s a much bigger picture. The entire system will be changed by 2024. It’s coming.” 

Now, friends of mine will tell you right quick that I am hard-wired to reflexively push back on statements — in any discussion that matters — that are asserted as absolute truth when the claimant is unable to present credible evidence to support it. As my reporter friend Alicia once explained to her network colleagues that I’d just met and felt instantaneously compelled to correct: “Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you, Michael pushes the bullshit button real fast.”  

So here I am. About to dig into a plate of tagliatelle across from Sophia. I’m hearing some wacky phrases, but I get the sense that we’ve just scratched the surface of a far more interesting conversation. The kind that I usually only see on news specials. And because it’s all been friendly so far, I realize that this is not the time for knee-jerk argument. This is an opportunity. A window. It will take restraint — and perhaps a bit of acting. But it must be rooted in my genuine curiosity. And I am. This is now only about questions. 

“The ‘entire system will be changed?’ Tell me more about that!” 

“You want me to?” 

“Is it scorching hot here in the summer? Go!” 

“Well, I must admit, I didn’t really follow politics much until the last few years.” 

Restraint, restraint… 

“But Trump is all part of a plan that’s been coming for years. The entire monetary system is going to be different within three years. All crypto backed by gold.”

“You’re saying this is going to happen within three years?”

“Yeah. The election system, too. It’s why Trump was sent. Not just here but all around the world.” 

“Wait. What do you mean? Let’s just stick with America for a second. How will the election system change? And how will Trump change it if he’s not president before then? Moreover, even if he was, how could he unilaterally change every state’s elections when the states run the elections?” 

“Have you ever heard of NESARA/GESARA? Everything is going to be overhauled. It’s been coming for many years, and Trump was probably groomed from a very young age. And there are forces beyond America.” 

“You mean forces in other countries that want this to happen?”

“Even beyond other countries.”

“I don’t understand.” 

“I mean forces out there.” 

“Whadya mean? You mean ‘out there’ out there?”

“Yes. It’s very possible. An extra-terrestrial dimension.” 

I knew that this was the part of the scene where I could win an Oscar if only it was on film and not “real life.” But it would require method acting on the level of Stella Adler. Stay in it. No laughing. No condescension. 

“Sophia, it’s hard for me to get into the whole E.T. part of this. But let’s go back to the ‘overhaul.’ How is it that you know that this is coming? Where does this information come from?” 

I felt like DeNiro’s “Neal” character in “Heat” who wants to know where his source, “Kelso,” gets the leads and schematics for the heists. 

Sophia answers me: “Oh, it’s out there. Ya just gotta know where to find it.” 

Almost verbatim what Kelso tells Neal.. 

“Michael, you’ll find it. It’s called NESARA/GESARA.” 

The “NESARA” she’s referring to is an acronym for an economic proposal authored 30 years ago by doctoral candidate named Harvey Francis Barnard. The “National Economic Security and Recovery Act” would put in place a massive debt forgiveness program, replace the income tax with a national sales tax, and overhaul the monetary system to one backed by gold and silver. 

NESARA was never introduced before Congress, but Barnard self-published the proposal in his 1996 book: Draining the Swamp: Monetary and Fiscal Reform (yes, you read that title right). 

Though Barnard’s proposal didn’t get any political traction, he uploaded the content to the internet in 2000. And almost immediately, a conspiracy theorist named Shaini Candace Goodwin — known online as the “Dove of Oneness” — picked up Barnard’s proposal and ran with it. 

Referred to as a “cyberqueen” by the media, Goodwin spun her followers up into believing that NESARA had already been secretly passed into law by President Clinton and was set to be operationalized on the morning of September 11, 2001. Then she announced that the launch was intentionally subverted by the 9/11 attacks on the towers — and that it was all masterminded and executed by President George W. Bush.  

NESARA’s counterpart is GESARA: the Global Economic Security and Recovery Act. Twenty years after the “Dove of Oneness” (I just like repeating that term) first started persuading people that this new world order would soon be coming, many Trump supporters were certain in 2016 and 2020 that he was the deliverer. Sophia still hasn’t changed her mind.

“He’s just stepping aside for now. He’ll be back in there.” 

“Stepping aside? By that you mean that he lost.” 

“Well, he’s stepping aside.” 

“He didn’t want to win last year? He wanted to lose?”

“It’s all part of a much larger design.” 


“Sophia, do you truly believe that all of this is going to happen?” 

“No. I KNOW it’s going to happen! Maybe not all by 2024. But it will.” 

My restraint is now tumbling in real time. I can hear the tone of my voice changing even before it’s halfway up my windpipe.  

“Well, you don’t know that this is going to happen. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the next five seconds. Or if there will even be a next five seconds. No one does. You mean you believe it’s going to happen.” 

“Well, same difference.” 

Not really. Actually, not at all. But now this dialogue has now hit a cul de sac. So as I walk Sophia to her car, I prepare one final question. Might as well make this official. 

“Okay. I’ve got just one last thing to ask you — if you don’t mind. Would you describe yourself as an actual disciple of ‘QAnon?’”

“Absolutely. No doubt.” 

One year and one day after the 2020 Election, an Arizona driver proudly displays his “Q” bumper sticker and “MAGA21” plates.


“So you believe in all of the theories about cannabalistic pedophilia and that the Democrats are running underground child sex rings? That they’re killing kids?”

“Yes. For sure. And this is why all of this is happening. It’s all part of why Trump was intalled.” 

“But why Trump? Even if all of this were true, why a guy who’s been publicly accused of sexual assault and harrassment by 20 women, and who’s admitted to creeping on teens at his beauty pageants, and who’s had verified affairs with a porn star and a Playboy Playmate — both of which he verifiably paid off to cover up? Doesn’t that make you question…” 

Ok. So sometimes I slip and get dragged down into the debate. But I don’t finish my question. Instead: 

“Y’know what — it was really good to meet you. It was very enlightening. For real!” 

“I know. You think I’m crazy. But you’ll still send me the info about where I can get your book, right?” 

Second pause.    

“Sure, if you really want me to. But Sophia, there’s one important thing that you absolutely must keep in mind if you really want to buy a copy: Amazon doesn’t accept precious metals.”

At least, not yet.