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Republican congressman sounds alarm over QAnon, stepping up his crusade against conspiracy theories

“If you believe these theories, I’d actually encourage you to do your own research and do it with an open mind,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Sun-Times screen grab

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., sounding the alarm over “bad actors like QAnon,” on Sunday stepped up his crusade against conspiracy theories after QAnon follower Marjorie Taylor Greene won a Georgia Republican primary last week and is poised to win a seat in Congress in the heavily GOP district.

QAnon-at-a-glance: The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization fighting hate and extremist groups said the QAnon conspiracy theory “asserts that pro-Trump forces will soon take down the so-called deep state.”

In May, Kinzinger, in a video titled “Unplug the Rage Machine,” took a crack at warning off people of baseless claims peddled by conspiracy theorists.

Following the Greene nomination, Kinzinger said in part in a Tweet, there is “no place in Congress for these conspiracies.” He followed up in a Sunday video headlined “What is QAnon” and in an interview with CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter.

Kinzinger said on CNN, in trying to debunk a conspiracy theory with someone, “You’re never going to offend somebody over onto your side. You’re never going to offend somebody away from something that they believe, in fact that emboldens them.

“So I think it’s understanding that they’re still human, and if you believe in this conspiracy theory stuff, especially QAnon, do some independent research, there’s a lot of stuff debunking it, including all the predictions that didn’t come true. And now the new “Q” stuff reads like basically a tarot card reader who gives you something so vague that it will absolutely fit into something that happens in the next month.”

Kinzinger said the key is for Democrats and Republicans to denounce extremism in their own party “because that’s where it’s effective.”

In his QAnon video, Kinzinger, who represents the 16th District just south of Chicago and lives in Channahon, said, “If you know someone who buys into these theories, don’t hate them. Show them that humanity can actually live together with different opinions. If you believe these theories, I’d actually encourage you to do your own research and do it with an open mind.”

Kinzinger implored other leaders to speak out. “I’d ask every leader to put aside the avoidance of short term pain to save our country in the long term.”