Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) issued a statement on Tuesday that gives voice to the bizarre Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory. The theory presumes that military training exercises being conducted in Texas are a prelude to the U.S government declaring martial law in the Lone Star state.
Prominent GOP elected officials, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), have already entertained the theory. However, Gohmert’s statement on Tuesday surpasses the remarks of any previous public official in latching onto the kooky idea.
Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated with calls referring to the Jade Helm 15 military exercise scheduled to take place between July 15 and September 15, 2015. This military practice has some concerned that the U.S. Army is preparing for modern-day martial law.
Certainly, I can understand these concerns. When leaders within the current administration believe that major threats to the country include those who support the Constitution, are military veterans, or even ‘cling to guns or religion,’ patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned. We have seen people working in this administration use their government positions to persecute people with conservative beliefs in God, country, and notions such as honor and self-reliance. Because of the contempt and antipathy for the true patriots or even Christian saints persecuted for their Christian beliefs, it is no surprise that those who have experienced or noticed such persecution are legitimately suspicious.
Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in ‘hostile’ control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.
…the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.
Sadly, instead of working to calm the unfounded paranoia of his constituents, Congressman Gohmert has joined them in their delusions. Worse yet he has given the conspiracy theory added legitimacy by using his congressional office as a propaganda outlet for the lunatic fringe.
Republican politicians like Gohmert have long exploited paranoid fears about President Barack Obama to rally the Tea Party base in order to win elections. Cynical politicians know that fear motivates voters. However, when that fear gets out of hand, to the point where constituents falsely believe they are under imminent threat of facing martial law or civil war, politicians have a responsibility to quell the rumors of war. Instead, Congressman Louie Gohmert has decided to fan the flames of delusion. The responsible voices in the Republican Party need to put a lid on this kind of collective insanity. However, because the “responsible voices” in the GOP feel they too must court right-wing voters, they are nowhere to be found.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.