Exactly one month ago Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called on the Texas State Guard, a dress-up militia stocked with an assortment of weekend warrior types, to mobilize and guarantee "that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed."
The supposed threat to those rights came in the form of U.S. troops headed to the southwest United States for a summer military exercise called "Jade Helm 15." Conspiracy theorists saw the routine training exercise as cover for a federal plan to impose martial law in Texas.
"I have no idea what he's thinking," White House Press Secretary John Earnest said when asked the next day about Abbott's directive to keep an eye on the exercises.
Fast forward to the end of May and the Jade Helm 15 gang's worst nightmares are coming true — though likely not in the exact manner they expected.
The federal government is indeed preparing to invade Texas, but their weapons of choice are food, clean water, temporary shelter and cash to rebuild infrastructure damaged or destroyed by a week of devastating flash floods.
Any port in a storm: Over the past week, floodwaters brought on by relentless rains have killed 17 in Texas and four more in Oklahoma, according to USA Today. By Tuesday morning, Abbott was on the phone with President Barack Obama, setting the table for a formal request for federal aid. Obama, speaking later in the day, promised that his administration would respond "as quickly and efficiently as possible."
"We have FEMA personnel already on the ground. They are coordinating with Texas emergency management authorities, and I will anticipate that there will be some significant requests made to Washington," Obama said.
For the Democratic White House and its political antagonists in Austin, Texas, this is a familiar dance. GOP leaders in Texas rail against the federal government — even chat idly about secession, like former Gov. Rick Perry did in 2009 — then come calling the same officials in Washington, D.C., for American taxpayer cash when disaster strikes. On Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas who is mounting a White House bid, called on the federal government to provide funds to areas hit by the floods, despite having voted against federal assistance for those affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
In fact, no state is more dependent on federal aid than Texas, which received a reported $5.25 billion in relief, accounting for more than 10% of total emergency expenditures, from nine federal agencies in 2012 alone, according to the Center for American Progress.
Invaders welcome: Obama hasn't always been so eager to aid Texas in times of crisis. In 2011, his administration argued with state officials for months over relief requests related to a series of wildfires, before finally declaring a "major disaster" in the region.
This time around, the president seems ready to ignore the cranks and tendentious political rhetoric and deliver the necessary personnel and funding to the disaster sites.
As more rain swirls into the region, the destruction and price of rebuilding is likely to grow over the coming week. But with the full force of the federal government and its assorted disaster aid agencies, this is one invasion Texans are likely to welcome.