Steve has heaped deserved ridicule on the left’s hysterical reaction to President Trump’s decision to roll out tanks and other weaponry for a Fourth of July parade in Washington, D.C. As Steve noted, Larry Tribe sees a “chilling resemblance to the days before the Tiananmen Square massacre. Joy Reed thinks Trump is threatening his critics with tanks.
But the inspiration for Trump’s parade isn’t China or any other dictatorship. The inspiration is France’s annual July 14 celebration (Bastille Day).
On a visit to France, Trump saw the parade, which features the military along with some of its heavy weaponry marching down the Champs-Élysées. He thought it was impressive. And cool.
In 1995, my family and I watched the July 14 parade in Paris. Jacques Chirac walked right past us, as did lots of soldiers and military equipment including tanks. We thought it was impressive. And cool.
It never occurred to me that this was another Tiananmen Square in the making. Nor did I think Chirac’s critics were in for it. It was just a first-rate parade.
To be sure, the Bastille Day parade of 1995 did not occur in the context of serious threats to democracy and freedom. Antifa didn’t exist. Speakers weren’t being shouted down at colleges. Americans weren’t being required by law to violate their religious conscience.
These things are happening in America today, but President Trump isn’t the one making them happen.
I’m not saying that just because the Bastille Parade is impressive and cool, we need to have something similar here, or that having one is a good idea. I can take it or leave it. But it’s ludicrous to view the parade as in any way threatening.
Is the left’s hand-wringing anything more than knee-jerk anti-Trumpism? I’m afraid it might be. The objection, I believe, is to taking pride in military might.
Is there anything wrong with such pride? I don’t think so — not as long as we don’t put our might to evil use.
Many leftists would be happier if the U.S. military were weak. And some who aren’t on the left probably think military might isn’t high enough on the list of things Americans should be proud of to warrant the display Trump has planned.
That’s fine. But let’s not pretend that tomorrow’s parade is a sign of the impending massacre of anti-Trump protesters or critics, or that it runs counter to democracy in any way.