By now most people know that my home state of Montana was all over the news as Chinese surveillance balloons moved overhead. As a good Montanan my first response, along with many of my fellow Big Sky country friends, was to ask if it could be ranged by high-caliber hunting rifles. If our government was not going to defend our nation, then we would take it upon ourselves.
Alas, at an estimated 60,000 feet of altitude, we could not reach it.
As the nation became increasingly aware of this balloon’s existence, more questions were asked, and Americans had the right to answers. Instead, they were told many things, except good answers. First, our nation must thank Larry Mayer, a Billings, Montana based private pilot and sharpshooter with a lens, and no doubt a rifle too. He is the reason why a nation became aware of this balloon. He is the reason why more Americans are now aware of how our federal government refuses to take decisive action when needed.
Here are some critical concerns our government needs to address concerning this incident.
There is a bigger message because of this incident though. One is a message of weakness. The second is a message of trust, or the lack thereof.
MESSAGE 1. A nation ruthlessly defends its borders from clear and present dangers. This administration is showing that it will not defend America. Not only are we invaded from the south on land, but we have also now been invaded from the air as China replicates tactics used by Japan going back to World War II. Not in eighty years has America dealt with a threat like this.
Instead, consider Gary Powers getting shot down over the Soviet Union in May of 1960 in his U-2 spy plane, or China’s knocking an American Navy EP-3 plane out of the sky in 2001. Those were times of high tensions, and these nations did what they thought was required to defend their nations. It is not a matter of whether we agree or disagree with their actions, but that they were taken and that we failed to take similar action when we needed to.
When a clear and present danger was upon us as a nation, our government watched. The only war that was started was in the meme wars as this incident created days of material on social media. Here are only a few examples. They are humorous but rest assured a nation watched and received a message as clear to them as it was to China.
America surrendered and ran from Afghanistan.
America allows for a human invasion across its Southern border.
America severely degrades its readiness by sending critical supplies and systems to Ukraine.
America attacks its own military through woke agendas and vax mandates.
America is willing to adopt Chinese and global entity social credit scoring systems via other means.
America pursues its patriots with more energy than it does its true enemies.
MESSAGE 2. The people do not trust the government to tell them the truth, and often wonder when we became so bad at telling a lie. The meme wars and many other comments on the news and social media make it clear that people will not trust this administration or government in general. They assume that if any agency of government is updating the American people, what is shared is likely a lie. Even if the government suddenly started telling Americans the truth, it will take a long time for trust to rebuild, if ever.
There are plenty of actions the government needs to take that are specific to the “trial balloon” incident. They can start by proving to Americans they care about our borders be they land, sea, or air. They can also start telling us the truth, We the People can handle it. What we cannot stand are bad lies.
Lt Col (ret), US Army, Darin Gaub is a Co-founder of Restore Liberty, an international military strategist and foreign policy analyst, an executive leadership coach, and serves on the boards of multiple volunteer national and state level organizations. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or its components.