Sometimes I just can’t help myself…sometimes my love of history, and my life experiences, overcome my libertarian, ignore-DC-at-all-costs leanings.
The US has always been strongly and openly patriotic. We have always — well, mostly always — been very supportive and appreciative of our military. I usually keep my associations with that part of life private, but even I wrote about it once, in this post.
But, even with our propensity for open patriotism and the close (although declining) relationship between the civilian and military spheres, we have never really gone for outright militarism. We have celebrated those who fought and bled and died, but never have we celebrated the tools of war. Never have we valued and celebrated the power and lethality of our military over its humanity. Instead we have valued and celebrated our friends and relatives, our neighbors and peers, who bear the burdens of those weapons, rather than the weapons themselves.
We are not Russia. We are not North Korea. When a nation — when a society — turns to celebration and glorification of its power, rather than of its people, a line is crossed. A line, and a crossing, from which there is no stepping back…
Now, it turns out, Mr Trump wants to have a parade. He wants to have not a parade like those we have known in the past, but rather the opposite. He wants to glorify the tools and weapons of war in ways the US has never done.
Look, I’m not a partisan of either stripe. I neither hate nor love Trump…I just want a government that freaking works. But, the nice thing about neither hating nor loving the man is that I get to call things the way I see ‘em. And the way I see this “parade” idea is that it’s damned well insane.
When the soldiers of WWII came home, this is the kind of parade we threw:
When Bush senior arranged a celebratory parade after the Gulf War — one aimed to also celebrate and acknowledge those who fought in Vietnam — it looked like this:
What we do NOT do are parades like this:
Or like this:
If a parade we must have, then let’s do it right. Let’s do a parade that celebrates the right thing…the thing in our military that really matters: