Texans can now proudly say that their state not only boasts the Biggest Tacos and Tallest Beers, but a governor willing to waste tax dollars on a batshit make-believe martial law conspiracy theory.

This year’s biggest internet paranoiac holiday has been Jade Helm 15, a military exercise that will use parts of the Southwest U.S.—Arizona, New Mexico, Texas—as a stand-in for rugged Middle Eastern terrain. Because you can’t really train for a war against Iran inside Iran (they would hate that).

Jade Helm is like armed libertarian nightmare bingo: a domestic crackdown launched in secret by our Muslim president against Red State America to pave the way for abductions, FEMA prison camps, martial law, and who knows what else. It’s the sort of narrative that deeply appeals to the kind of person who will drive by an Army base and make YouTube videos like this one:

For a while, websites operated for and read exclusively by crazy people were responsible for pushing Jade Helm mania forward—but recently, it’s spilled over from the idiot fringe to the idiot mainstream: Rand Paul recently warned that the operation is “the same thing that happened in Nazi Germany.”

The next step is for an elected politician to buy into nonsense Jade Helm fears, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott is making it happen, per official press release:

Following discussions aimed at ensuring Texans are fully informed on Operation Jade Helm 15, Governor Greg Abbott today met with Major General Gerald “Jake” Betty, Commander of the Texas State Guard, and directed him to monitor the Operation.

Governor Abbott directed General Betty to provide regular updates to the Governor’s Office to ensure that Texans’ “safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed” during the eight-week training period from July 2015 – September 2015.

This is slightly more reasonable than mobilizing the Texas State Guard against Godzilla, but a lot less reasonable than not mobilizing the Texas State Guard at all, because Barack Obama isn’t actually trying to invade Texas.

There are two possibilities here: Gov. Abbott genuinely believes the federal government might actually be trying to invade Texas, or Gov. Abbott is willingly pandering to people who genuinely believe the federal government might actually be trying to invade Texas. That latter group is probably comprised of very scared and ignorant people, so maybe we ought to cut them a little slack.

But the governor of any state shouldn’t be making policy decisions based on the level of discourse you might find in YouTube comments.

You can read Gov. Abbott’s letter of concern about a hostile Yankee takeover below—his office did not return a request for comment.

Contact the author at biddle@gawker.com.
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