- By Jay Bookman The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
So now he wants a parade.
Row after row of tanks rumbling through Washington, followed by howitzers and armored personnel carriers, rocket launchers, mortars and anti-aircraft guns. F-35 flyovers, a Stealth bomber — no, a fleet of Stealth bombers — and attack helicopters, not to mention HUGE missiles, so long you wouldn’t believe how long.
You know who throws huge military parades for no real purpose? Countries that are insecure about their power and identity do. And until now, that hasn’t been us.
In the words of John Kennedy, a Republican senator from Louisiana:
“Confidence is silent; insecurity is loud. America is the most powerful country in all of human history; everybody knows it, and we don’t need to show it off. We’re not North Korea, we’re not Russia, we’re not China. And I don’t want to be”
No date for this extravaganza has yet been set, but Veterans Day has been proposed. As White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained it, “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”
If that’s indeed the purpose — if we want to honor veterans who fought and sacrificed for our country — then let’s do exactly that, in ways consistent with our civic tradition. Instead of ostentatious shows of military armament, let’s take the many millions of dollars required to move all that equipment and active-duty personnel to Washington and instead use it to transport tens of thousands of veterans to the nation’s capital. Let’s line the streets with their American fellow citizens and give them a rousing show of thanks. Maybe the president could even throw open the doors of the Trump Hotel to veterans needing a place to stay.
But as we all know, that’s not going to happen, because it’s not really about them — with Trump it’s never about them. This parade idea is about him. It’s about the ego stroking, the joy of watching all that military power parade by him, saluting him, celebrating him….
If we’re going to do this, though, let’s do it right. And to do it right, Trump’s going to need a uniform. It will have to be a personalized commander-in-chief uniform, since that uniform he wore back in the New York Military Academy might not fit so well these days. We’ll also need to accessorize that uniform with lots of flair, what the military calls “fruit salad” or “chest candy.”
I’m thinking the Order of the Double Cross. A badge honoring Distinguished Service in the Conquest of Supermodels. The Combat Inaction medal, with Bone Spur Cluster and five Deferments. The Battle of Manhattan medal, marking Trump’s service as “a great and very brave soldier” in what he called his “personal Vietnam.”
As to the uniform itself, it has to be something special, made of a fabric created especially for this occasion. For that, I recommend reaching out to our friends in Denmark, the homeland of Hans Christian Andersen. Local tailors there have long experience making new clothing for emperors and other dignitaries, and they would be perfect for this job.
Sean Hannity would find the presidential uniform utterly spectacular. Devin Nunes would draft a memo celebrating its manly beauty. The Trump Cabinet would convene a special meeting just to profess its admiration. Because if we as a nation are going to parade our insecurities for all the world to see, then so too should our president.