The demented paranoia of extreme right-wing Texans has soared to new heights this year, and they haven’t let up yet. Headlines were made around the country when Texans began worrying about upcoming military exercise in the Southwest United States, dubbed “Jade Helm 15”, and conspiracy theorists began asserting that it was really a ruse for President Obama to “impose martial law” and “take over Texas”. Despite multiple assurances from the armed forces, the fear that the military is up to “something funny,” possibly involving the confiscation of their guns or aerial chem-trails that will “turn people gay”.
As usual, the people of Texas cannot rely on their elected legislators to contribute anything productive to the absurd debate. Governor Greg Abbot has called up a state militia, of which Texas apparently has several, to monitor the US army as they undergo their training, which is set to open next week. Joining them, reports the Houston Chronicle, will be hundreds of civilians from both Arizona and Texas who have nothing better to do than to wander around the desert “supervising” one of the best militarizes in the world. “Obviously on a military base they can do whatever they want. But if they’re going to train on public land we have a right as American citizens to watch what they’re doing” says Eric Johnston, who is organizing the “Counter Jade Helm” movement through a Facebook page, which is, as you might imagine, full of delusional little gems like the following:
What’s possibly the most astonishing part about this story is that it won’t go away. No matter what kind of reassurances are offered from the government, people refuse to believe it. This is what eight years of constant FOX News xenophobia and paranoia will do to people. The fact that people still give credence to these kinds of absurd conspiracies really speaks to the disillusionment that a propaganda echo chamber can create if left unfettered.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.