A birthday parade or a macho love fest?

By Reade Brower | Jul 11, 2019

July 4th is the birthdate of our country and Americans celebrate it throughout the land with cookouts, fireworks and parades.

This year, something different happened; President Trump decided to throw a party that included tanks and other military “show and tell”; this sparked passion from both sides.

Some say this is a sign of strength and love of our country. Others say this mimics the acts of totalitarian leaders.

I love my country, even with its imperfections. I am not for open borders, but I am for open hearts, and being a place that welcomes immigrants looking for better lives, especially those seeking asylum. When political columnists and Fox pundits throw out descriptors like “illegal aliens,” it lights a fire, as is their intention. In most cases those identified are not illegal or aliens — they are asylum-seekers, legally seeking safety.

If laws are flawed, fix them, but don’t penalize the people and children who are just looking for a better life.

Michael Beschloss, author of “Presidents of War,” in a 2018 NPR “All Things Considered” interview paraphrased former President Dwight Eisenhower, who in the 1950s was asked about Soviet leader Nikita Khushchev presiding over large military parades to show off Soviet military ingenuity and power, if the United States should have a military parade to "show off its might.” Eisenhower, a decorated general, responded, "Absolutely not. We are the pre-eminent power on Earth. For us to try and imitate what the Soviets are doing in Red Square would make us look weak."

Lance Janda, a military historian, added: “The sentiment Beschloss shares “aligns with everything we know about him (Eisenhower). He was, after all, the president who famously cut defense spending, warned of a military complex, and preferred low profile covert operations to overt use of military force. He was steadfastly not bombastic or grandiose.”

Janda backed this up citing a 1953 speech by Eisenhower called “The Chance for Peace,” in which Eisenhower said, “The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving towns of 60,000 populations. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plan with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”

Do we look for guidance from a former five-star general president who served his country in the highest capacity of the military, or our current president who ducked service entirely because of “bone spurs”?

The Fourth of July is a time for family, for parades that include floats, old cars, and civic groups, including politicians, supported with bunting and balloons, followed by cookouts and beach time.

Trump's first parade “idea,” including tanks, was set for November 2018; it was nixed after mainstream media reported the original $12 million dollar budget had skyrocketed to $92 million.

For this Fourth of July parade, The Washington Post reported $2.5 million was diverted from the National Parks Service’s budget, money available to cover park repairs and create “enhanced visitor experiences.”

The phonies and hypocrites cease to amaze; the Mueller Probe, under constant criticism for its $25 million cost, and referred to as a “witch hunt,” is miniscule compared to Trump’s originally proposed “November Parade.”

Trump and his pundits fail to mention that the Ken Starr-led Monica Lewinsky sex scandal and Whitewater investigation “Clinton Probe” cost $59.9 million.

Interesting to note is the Mueller Probe produced a huge profit. While costing $25 million, it has brought into the U.S. Treasury’s coffers $48 million from tax cheats.

A self-described economic “genius” like Trump understands simple math. He and his supporters just don’t want to acknowledge the indictments and dollars produced because it doesn’t support their narrative.

If this is all about money, which it should be, look back at that 1953 Eisenhower speech and decide for yourself whether costs are worth it.

Suspicion is, for those believing in the military complex, the driving force is fear.

Fear drives people in a way love does not. As a nation, can we be forced to look at this and decide where we want the weight of our feet?

It’s difficult when the fear message continues to permeate discussions. Fear that immigrants are rapists and drug dealers, not human beings looking for safety and work, will ultimately lead discussions; changing course then becomes more difficult.

Society can change; but perhaps that’s not what is wanted by voters. 2020 will tell us where the weight of our feet is.


“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” — Erma Bombeck, American humorist and writer (1927-1996)

Reade Brower is the owner of these newspapers.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Jul 11, 2019 15:03

"The Russian state TV host Olga Skabeyeva mocked the military vehicles in President Donald Trump's "A Salute to America" display, saying, "There are no cannons, and their optics have been glued on with adhesive tape...  The hosts also called the display "weak" and "low energy."

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 11, 2019 09:24

"Society can change; but perhaps that’s not what is wanted by voters. 2020 will tell us where the weight of our feet is." Am saddened by what I see so far. By no means fearful, but sad.   

If we don't want the Peter Principle to keep working we need to be more supportive of those willing to run or no one worth their salt will put their hat in the ring. Ask yourself: Would YOU?

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