Robert Mariotti, Livermore

With the growing mainstream acceptance of conspiracy theories, I was dismayed to see The Independent print a letter stating that Democrats released the “China” virus and Obama was somehow trying to “overthrow” Trump to make Nancy Pelosi president. Besides a misunderstanding of presidential succession (he’d have to take out Pence too) it is just plain absurd.

In the distant past – 1990s and early 2000s – fringe theories such as these were not part of our normal political landscape. Now, with groups like QAnon pushing claims that leading Democrats are part of an international pedophile cabal and its adherents winning Republican congressional primaries, it is time to take notice of the harm they can do, as well as call out these theories for what they are.

QAnon and other groups spew their racist and anti-Semitic venom and are finding a broader audience. We’ve come to the point in 2020 where the president of the United States endorses these groups via his many tweets.

These far-right groups are gaining acceptance within certain Republican circles, and as events in recent racial justice protests show, they can be deadly. Proof can be seen in the recent FBI report that far-right groups are the greatest terrorist threat to the nation. Far-right extremists have killed 329 victims in the last 25 years. 

While The Independent doesn’t compare in influence to social-media outlets where these groups thrive, at least use a bit of discretion to weed out ridiculous claims such as the Democrats somehow caused the coronavirus to defeat Donald Trump. It will at least improve the political discourse in our local newspaper.