Texas governor Greg Abbott says that he’s monitoring the eight-week military exercise, known as Jade Helm 15, that will take place in his state and six others, so he can bring calm to some Texans who fear it is a prelude to an armed U.S. take-over.
Honest. That’s really his explanation.
Abbott wants Texans to understand that the military is only there to be better prepared to protect them, not to install martial law or take away their guns. He says been in contact with the military, and has been assured that the exercise will be a normal military operation. “It’s so important to understand that there probably is no state in America that is more deeply connected to the military or honors the military more. And my office has been in communication with military at multiple levels, and we have the greatest assurances that these are normal military operations and they’re going to work out just fine,” Abbott said.
With supporters like Abbott, the federal government should find ISIS less threatening by the minute.
Hey, Governor! Texans are convinced that a Jewish cabal is trying to undermine financial system! Quick: put state monitors in the synagogues to reassure them that it’s not true! Oh, and they think gays are out trolling for young boys to convert to queerdom. Make sure you surveil all openly gay men, so you can reassure straight Texans that their fears are unwarranted. A lot of your voters also think that Democrats are secretly in league with the Communist party. That’s nuts, so tap the Dems’ phones so you can reassure the good Texas that they are not Red, just wrong
The Big Lie tactic works when a scurrilous and unjustified smear is given legitimacy by efforts to deny it, and the claim that the U.S. government is preparing to jackboot conservatives into submission is a classic Big Lie. Playing right along, Abbott gave credibility to the insane, and I use the word without hyperbole, belief that standard military exercises were secretly an attempt to remove Texas citizens’ rights by force when he behaved as if the threat might be real.
This isn’t just pandering leadership and irresponsible leadership. It is disloyal, un-American and incompetent leadership. If Abbott really wanted to address these irrational fears, he had an obligation to do so like a leader who trusted and respected the national government to at least the essential minimum: no, they don’t want to enslave and kill us. He should have said,
“Apparently some of our citizens are concerned that a planned military exercise involving U.S. Specials Operations Forces such as the Navy Seals and the Green Berets might be a hostile attack on our state. Shame on them. We are all Americans, and while we may differ intensely on the best policies for our nation, we are united by a love of country, reverence for its values and traditions, and the Constitution of the United States. The suggestion that the President is any less dedicated to those values, or that our military would ever participate in an efforts to destroy them, demonstrates the depths to which political discourse has fallen. It has been suggested that I use the State Guard to monitor these exercises. I will order no such thing. To do so would be an insult to our President, our armed forces and the nation. I trust the good will and patriotic motivations of our national government without reservation, and so should every patriotic Texan.”
Instead, Abbott chose to fan the flames of division and distrust.