The man-child president’s new fantasy is to hold a grand, Red Square-style military parade in Washington, D.C. It’s an idea he’s floated before, but only now do the wheels appear to be in motion to make it happen.
“We’ve been putting together some options,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said of the parade planning, according to The Hill. “We’ll send them up to the White House for decision.”
The idea that the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, is spending time and resources to cater to the childish fantasies of one man would be funny if it weren’t true.
But it’s true, and it’s frightening.
It indicates just how simple-minded and misinformed Donald Trump is when it comes to understanding American power and his role as commander-in-chief.
In his off-the-rails, third-grade mind, being commander-in-chief of the United States military is all about talking tough, dropping bombs and having service men and women goose-step through the streets of the capital – all for his pleasure.
None of this comes as surprise. In fact, his desire for a cartoonish military parade through D.C. is a combination of two things we have always known about Trump.
First, he idolizes and often praises powerful authoritarian leaders – people like Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin and even North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who believe the military is their playtoy. It’s clear through Trump’s behavior and rhetoric that he would want nothing more than to wield the same level of power over America that these dictators had (or continue to have) over their countries.
Second, Trump doesn’t understand the world he’s leading. In fact, the area he knows least about is foreign affairs. That’s saying something, too. This is a president who doesn’t grasp domestic policy issues either, from health care to immigration to the environment.
It is this toxic combination of authoritarian desires and stunning ignorance that leads to ideas like this – a military parade that members of the military even think is ridiculous.
Last week, the ex-Navy Seal that fired the bullet that killed Osama bin Laden tweeted that Trump’s parade proposal is “third world bulls***.”
A military parade is third world bullshit. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation.
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) February 8, 2018
What this president doesn’t understand is that America’s power has never come from bombs or empty demonstrations of our military strength. Places like Russia and North Korea hold these parades because they have nothing substantive to hang their hat on. They’re truly weak and isolated countries.
In the United States, what we have always celebrated is our values, our constant willingness to perfect our country, and the example we set for the rest of the world.
As former President Bill Clinton has said, “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.”
But with Trump in the White House, we are no longer an example to the rest of the world. In many cases, we are a laughingstock. In other instances, we are a country that can no longer be trusted. We are becoming a weaker, more isolated country as a result.
If and when this foolish parade happens, it will only be a reminder of how far and how quickly we have fallen in the Trump era. It will be a big parade with the satisfied child-in-chief watching on, but there will be nothing to truly celebrate.
If Donald Trump really wants to show his respect for the brave men and women who fight to protect our freedoms – something he’s never done – then he would take the time to read about our country’s history. He would show more interest in learning about the world he is supposed to be leading. He would do his homework.
And for goodness sake, if he gave a damn about our military, then he would at least care to read the daily national security briefings – like a real president.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.