It is possible to observe transgressive media obsessions as an outsider, in spite of the boundaries having been all but blown away. I don’t mean to belittle anyone’s local concerns with this aspersion, as there are no doubt always real local concerns. Viewed through the lens of an international network, however, seeing how specific things breach the regional threshold to make them matter nationally, or pan-ethnically, could lead others to preoccupy themselves, with the unawares airs that they’re above it all.
What I mean is, that although I have potential access to all the same material of these crazed crushes — and as strong a hereditary relationship I have to them — not all of it crosses my radar, so I catch wind of a trend now and then, the gist of which is entirely new to me.
The general obsession with candidate Trump — the man they call “The Donald” — I will get to momentarily. I am interested first in something less ubiquitous, but prevalent & insidious enough to seem so by those who either follow them. . . or find themselves followed by them for their personal preferences.
Take Jade Helm, for example. This is the name of a military exercise that may have already been conducted regularly for a number of years, I am not going to research it, deliberately working this off-line so as to avoid heading down the same reality tunnels as those who have observed the phenomenon surrounding it. So my specific take is even less informed than usual.
I use “phenomenon” because it involves both a level of concern that here & there approaches paranoia — particularly in Texas, where the exercises have been or are being conducted — as well as a less direct reaction, ranging from dismissal to derision.
From a military standpoint, the exercise seems pedestrian enough: the rehearsal of urban warfare. Oops. Did I say rehearsal? Scratch that. That kind of language would imply that I’m with the nutcases who view it as practicing for an imminent scenario within the region of obsession. Like I said, I know next-to-nothing of this thing and have no such view.
Urban warfare exercises are not exactly new. The practice of warlike scenarios is as old as being warlike. One should always remain aware, if one cares at all about such things, that they – military orgs – practice battles against mock enemies so as to perfect their doing them to real people. That’s about as controversial as any given perspective would have it.
It does seem a bit whack that they’d be doing this thing in Texas to rehearse taking tiny Texans weapons away, which, from what I have already gathered, is the central concern of the tiny Texan and his pan-ethnic brethren. It also seems that making that the primary concern just about neutralizes a very real one.
How would the citizens of Baltimore, Maryland, for example, feel if an exercise of this type were conducted in a city block cordoned off in their neighborhood? How do you suppose the people of Ferguson feel about it as it is?
It is easy to make light of those for whom the Second Amendment has always been the most treasured paragraph in the US Constitution when they have traditionally been the least tread upon demographic known to the American. That they’d tout the right to bear arms as the reason for that relative autonomy makes them even easier to laugh at. In too large a part, they are oblivious to their own historical privilege over a significant section of their country’s population, and rarely do they see the appropriate context in which others are oppressed.
To a similar extent, however, making a mockery of the overblown concerns of people who don’t like urban warfare gorillas traipsing about and shooting up their outback utterly undermines the very real common ground that the Americans find themselves on. It provides a convenient escape that enables ignoring a problem that is most presently there.
For one who would say, “Oh, but these whackos are a very real problem. Try telling them we are on common ground,” the problem is as clear as it is to people who don’t want their guns taken away, and I suspect that they share an overlap of competing sentiment: If it turned out that the nuts were right, those who mocked them would see it as a reasonably measured emergency implementation of gun control, and if it turned out that Jade Helm was a rehearsal for St. Louis and Detroit and D.C., a much less than compelling number of fair-skinned pistoled paranoiacs would give a shit.
That’s the thing about overlap: There’s mold in that fold.
Speaking of The Donald, like an old timepiece whose battery has run dry, his default status nails the time of day regarding the war-hero status of John McCain, the angle from which he hammers it albeit Trump’dly off the rails, whatever rails those’d be, considering the US history of Bombing Campaigns. Predictably, like a broken record of reactionary nationalism, America the beautiful conspires to replay the only tune it’s allowed to know on that subject: US military + POW = hero*hero (end of story). Her truth is marching on.
This will, at the end of the day, come down, in the primaries, to who would be best to defeat this or that “very real problem” in spite of its being a trivial spectacle and, in the general, the lesser evil argument, which by now has been trumped up by the timely acquisition of liberty & justice for marriage & medicare, and adorned with transexuals in military gear.
But before it’s gotten to that finals stage, there will be so much spectacle that it’s the radar on > it <, not it on the radar. Ignore it at your peril. Normally dismissive of the conspiratorial tone, they'll tell you that "that's what they want you to do" — to tune out, officially, once and for all.
But officially tuning out — and ceremoniously at that — is casting a vote. People begin doing that early, and even amid their own cloud of skepticism, cynically do it again and again.
So it is that Democracy, real or paranoid, is the iced cream o’ control, now so smothered in syrup you can’t even taste the vanilla anymore.