What’s On Miles’ Mind: Troops

By Miles Jaye

You wake up, say your prayers, and make your bed. You brush your teeth, shower, and get dressed. You Keurig a coffee into your favorite travel mug, grab your keys and purse, and leave the house. Start the car, start your morning praise music, and pull out from the driveway. You’re heading down the street toward the main road; but off in the distance…long before you reach the intersection, you notice something strange. The traffic leading toward the intersection is backed up and traffic on the main drag seems a bit unusual. What’s going on—an accident? As you get closer, it appears someone is directing traffic—someone in uniform looks like Army fatigues. All traffic is diverted to the right. When you reach the intersection, you’re directed to make a right turn, just as the cars before you did—but you can’t seem to make sense of what you’re witnessing.

First of all: why is a uniformed soldier posted at this intersection? More importantly, why is a convoy of military vehicles stretched along your otherwise familiar roadway, as far as the eye can see? You’re halfway to the next intersection where you see another soldier directing traffic, but before you reach the corner, a soldier runs to your driver’s side window, directing you to make a sharp right into the service station. Okay now, what’s going on? Startled by the abrupt appearance of someone at your window, you turn in and pull up to what looks like a checkpoint. “Roll your window down please Ma’am. License and registration please.” The young soldier spoke with feigned authority—the lack of experience was noticeable, it was obvious. You detect a bit of nerves, coupled with the high pitch of his rushed command, what you do not notice is military insignia.

This is a military town. Everyone here is familiar with uniforms. You may not know all of the ranks, but you know the basics, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, Army, or Air Force on one pocket flap, last name over the other, but these uniforms had no identifiers, no insignia. Who were these soldiers dressed in combat gear, riot gear—camouflage fatigues, face masks, the whole nine? They were dressed for business. You lower your window, but before handing over your ID, you ask for his. “Who are you? What’s going on?” You know you asked politely, but you could hear the anxiety, the nervousness in your own voice. Ignoring your request for an explanation, he barks, “Ma’am, license and registration please.” Nervous tension turns into indignance, attitude, “Sir, I simply asked you what’s going on? Why did you pull me over? Why are you checking IDs? Are y’all looking for somebody? Who are you?”

“Ma’am, I’ll have to ask you to exit your vehicle.” He pulls on the driver’s door, but luckily it was locked. Now your anxiety has turned to cold fear. You should have called someone as soon as you saw something going on. You should have made a U-turn before reaching the main road. Now it’s too late! Just give him the ID, you haven’t done anything wrong. “Here! Take it, here’s my license, registration and my insurance card, but I still don’t know what’s going on. I know I haven’t done anything…” You lowered your window to pass him the ID, but he reached in to unlock the door. He pulls it open and grabs you by the arm to snatch you out of your car. “Wait! Wait a minute! What are you doing? Let go of me! Take your hands off of me. Help! Somebody, help me!” Thank God, you see someone rushing toward you to put a stop to this foolishness, this madness. You’re thinking, “thank God!”

Coming to your rescue is someone dressed exactly like the first guard, but he’s not coming to save you. They forcibly remove you from your vehicle, with the car still running, purse, and cell phone still on the front passenger seat, radio still playing gospel music, and whisk you off to an unmarked van across the parking lot. The door slides open, the only words you’ve heard were, “Stop resisting, you’re being detained.” No explanations, no answers to your barrage of questions, just the sound of the van starts, shifting into gear, then pulling off. It’s daytime, but it’s dark inside the van. Your eyesight is blurred from tears. Your heart is racing, and your mind can only process one thought—God please let this all be a bad dream, but it’s not a dream… it’s a nightmare! Trump’s Troops have descended on your city, your neighborhood to restore order. Who are they, where are they taking you? Who will know how to find you? Will they find you? What’s going to happen to you? This is America! Portland today! Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, tomorrow. Maybe your town will be next. Ready? That’s what’s on my mind!