Donald Trump wants a parade on Veterans Day. Lots of guns and tanks and soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines and Coast Guard and tanks and guns and trucks and missiles and airplanes —all demonstrating how big his button is.
He says he’s modeling his parade after France’s Bastille Day. (No irony there! Imagine, Donald Tump copying a parade honoring the poor wretches of the French working class who guillotined the fat, rich, lazy, bloated, wigged despotic French upper-class rulers. Totally tone-deaf.)
And the French, as I’m sure he knows, have a rich military history to celebrate. Well, maybe not rich — but it’s certainly a history — as no one has lost as many battles and wars as the French.
Like the Gallic Wars in 50 B.C. when Caesar beat ‘em bad, and the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 when 8,500 Englishmen overcame 40,000 French.
The War of Spanish Succession went poorly for them, as did their fight in 1757 when French Canada became English Canada; and then in 1791 when their slaves in Haiti revolted and won.
Napoleon fared poorly at sea (Nelson at Trafalgar); on land (Wellington at Waterloo) and in the snow (Moscow).
They lost Mexico in 1803 and in 1871 a significant chunk of France went to Otto von Bismarck when Napoleon III lost the Franco-Prussian War.
While it was the snow that got ‘em in Russia it was the jungle and yellow jack that beat ‘em in Panama when they tried to dig a ditch between the Atlantic and Pacific. (Teddy R. got ‘er done!)
WWI was a bust, until the Americans entered the War.
And World War II was a bigger bust until we landed at Normandy, saved their derrieres, and got folks saying, “The French only win when Americans do their fighting.”
Indo China went buh-bye after Ho Chi Min whupped ‘em at Den-Bien-Phu and the Algerians tossed them out of France’s “Fifth Department” in 1952. (The U.S. parallel would be Native American tribes taking back the whole North American continent.)
So perhaps Trump might want to reconsider his model and emulate more successful military showcases by leaders such as Hitler (he hosted a big parade in Paris in 1940); Little Rocket Man; Mao; and Stalin, as he’s already modeling some of Uncle Joe’s other despotic tendencies.
I’m sure our Commander-in-Chief will lead his own parade, it not being any further than an 18-hole loop of golf. Although with bone spurs so bad they kept him out of the Army maybe he’ll just sit in regal splendor while the soldiers march, march, march and march some more.
Of course, he says he’s just honoring the troops and raising our spirits.
Out of idle curiosity though, I wonder what the people he wants to honor think of a day-long parade. I marched in military parades. And yes, I was in my 20s, but my M1 rifle was heavier than today’s M14s; our wool, high-collar dress uniforms not as comfortable as cammies; and we only marched two hours; but even if we marched in our skivvies with a six-pack on our shoulder, marching in D.C., or anywhere else, wouldn’t have been on my bucket list.
But let’s assume the troops are clamoring to parade. And the tanks won’t tear up D.C. streets. And our uniformed sons and daughters don’t have more pressing missions. Let’s just consider what could be done with the money it will cost.
And it will cost multi-millions, maybe $30 or $40 million.
Hey, could your elementary school use a couple more bucks, or your fire department, or EMT system, or police department? How about your local hospital, opioid clinic or senior center? Think VA hospitals could use millions more for staff to serve our veterans? Or more PSTD treatment to cut veteran suicide rates? Or more job services? Or more money in the G.I. education bill?
Yeah, I thought so.
So maybe he’ll ask the troops which they’d rather spend money on: a parade for the president or a better VA hospital?
But that’s a waste of time: We already know the answer, and The Donald could care less about what our veterans really need, he’s got his.
The only big parade I want is the parade to the voting booth this November. I want tens of millions of people marching to their polling stations and showing Donald Trump what they think of him, as they turn the Republican Party in Congress into the Minority Party in Congress.
I don’t agree with everything the Dems/Progressives stand for. But I loathe everything Donald Trump stands for. And the only way to stop him is to vote his enablers out and vote in people who aren’t afraid to say the magic word: “Impeach.”
Tom Burke’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.