Thursday, February 8, 2018

Trump's Parade

It seems Donald Trump wants a military parade in Washington bigger than the one he saw in Paris.

Whatever.

Americans who worry about this might note that many countries hold these, including some democracies. So if Trump wants to spend his time planning a parade, that seems to me a better use of his time than any number of other possibilities.

The only thing that could turn this into a serious issue would be a Democratic freak-out. This parade could easily function as a trap, designed to get Democrats to say things that could be spun as opposition to the military etc. Here's hoping they don't fall into it.

Although I do wonder if Pennsylvania Avenue is strong enough to support all those tanks without collapsing.

12 comments:

Shadow said...

If I were one of his advisers or one of his generals or a politician or a journalist, I wouldn't spend time criticizing this. You only have so much political capital at any one time, so save it to spend on something more important.

David said...

I'm not sure I buy this. Ever since Gingrich, the forces of right have pursued a policy of temporizing and avoiding controversy and "letting them have this one." I'd like to see the good hammer Tweetie on every point, non-stop. If he really proposes this, they should create a #pretendpatriotism meme, or whatever else works. Smiling and bending over is not going to resurrect our dead political comity.

G. Verloren said...

America has never felt much need to perform military parades, with rare exceptions. A sudden reversal without meaningful justification smacks of insecurity and overcompensation, and makes us look like even bigger fools in the eyes of the world than we've already been seen to be since the election.

Shadow said...

Okay, but I think it would not be wise to get into these kinds of arguments with Trump -- trivial as they are in the scheme of things -- because he's a bit of a child and equates disagreeing with him with disloyalty. It would be a shame when and if Trump decides to do something foolish and of greater consequence and he ignores his advisers' good counsel because they rained on his parade.

Shadow said...

I'm can't stand parades. Thanksgiving Day parade? Boring! Christmas Day Parade? Even more boring because it comes only one month after the last one. So, I won't be watching horses and bands march down main street. I'll read a book; my TBR pile fills my den. But I just think it's unwise not to give the little boy his parade. Bad things happen when he pouts.

David said...

@Shadow

In any particular case, it may look like temporizing with Trump would be wise. But over and over? It looks to me like giving in on point after point because taking a stand might have bad consequences has become, not a tactic, but a habit. And if those are one's habits, at some point, surely, one stops being a free citizen.

Shadow said...

No, not over and over, and definitely not by habit. That would mean he'd be surrounded by sycophants, and that would be a disaster. All I'm saying is draw a circle around things that actually matter and don't budge on those things. But things outside the circle? Give him his parades; you'll be his buddy, and he's more likely to listen to you next time. He's a child, but in charge. An unfortunate situation.

David said...

I would disagree--he's not in charge, not like that. He is not a king who needs to be coddled. He is our servant. And I detect a habit of temporizing surrender among Democrats, as I said, since the 90s.

John said...

One way to oppose the parade would be to get soldiers and officers to complain about the waste of time and money.

It also occurs to me that the American military really isn't very good at marching; there's a lot more fatigue wearing than starched uniforms, a lot more jogging than marching and more riding in Humvees than either. A really American military parade ought to have stuff like soldiers rappelling from helicopters or elaborate drone ballets.

David said...

Well, if you want to talk military parades, for my money the only way to do it is to feature uniforms and technology that were last current in, at the latest, 1870. The Latin Americans, whose uniforms tend to feature real bell shakoes and white crossbelts, are good at this. Obviously no one can quite match the snap of the British royal guard, but I don't care for those little space rifles they carry.

David said...

In other words, if we're going to have a parade, let's have a parade. Yes, a parade with armored vehicles does carry a strong whiff of Berlin 1938, but as John says, other democracies do it.

What bothers me is the instinct too many Democrats and liberals have to quail before their imaginings of the mean things Republicans will say. After so many years, they've developed an inner Republican daddy-bully. This, to me, is the definition of abjection. I've talked about Gingrich and the 90s, but cf. McCarthy, Joseph; also Johnson, Lyndon and Motives for Intervention in Vietnam.

Until Dems get some guts, even some Petersonian narcissistic tough-guyism, they're going to continue to be the party that can't quite close the deal with voters. Speaking of the 1930s, maybe it's time the Dems returned to some full-throated class warfare. How about #daddywarbucks? If, in the middle of Trump's parade, one newscaster turns to another and says, "what about this warbucks meme that's going around?"--that would be a victory.

leif said...

What bothers me is how military parades tend to adorn chest-thumping autocratic regimes like smug bicep flexing, and that this is yet one more indication that our democracy is being dismantled. I'm not saying that rolling tanks down in front of 1600 is incompatible with democracy, but rather that insecure boys with deadly toys get itchy fingers for no good reason except to assert their manhood. Autocrats tend to exhibit these undesirable traits and behaviors, and getting away with it communicates to them that they can throw their weight around.