Call me prescient, call me prophetic, call me whatever you want, but I’m here to tell you that the Donald J. Trump Military Parade will be held June 14, a date certain for two reasons. It is, since 1916, Flag Day, commemorating the adoption of Old Glory by the Continental Congress in 1777. It is also, since 1946, the birthday of Donald J. Trump himself. Strike up the band!
Cue the tanks. Cue the armored personnel carriers. Cue the drones. (No, not you, Pence.) Assemble the troops. Combat engineers and others so honored, blouse your boots. Bring your battalions to order arms. Eyes right. Eyes alt-right, actually. Quick step, march!
Due to the totally kismet confluence of Flag Day and Trump’s birthday, the president will be able to pretend to be honoring the flag, while in his own mind and over time, the day will be a celebration of himself. Trump Day will be much like the one that honors the grandfather of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. That day is known as The Day of the Sun. Trump, heir to a real estate empire, may want to call his The Day of the Son.
The parade will have the usual military units. Tanks are always a crowd favorite, and so, judging from what the North Koreans do, are intercontinental missiles, armed for Armageddon with nuclear warheads painted, in the president’s case, Trump Gold. In both Pyongyang and Red Square, such displays bring down the house.
Trump himself has endured a life without military service. He tried to get into the war in Vietnam, but his hopes were dashed by doctors of the deep state who detected a hugely threatening heel spur with which Trump suffered in total silence. He did, however, attend the hallowed New York Military Academy, which, like so many things associated with Trump, eventually went bankrupt. The yearbook was called “The Shrapnel.”
The Pentagon, which has been tasked to come up with the parade plans, has yet to announce a venue. Many presume it will be Washington, D.C., and its storied Pennsylvania Avenue — named, in yet another example of kismet or bashert or just plain destiny, for a state Trump carried in 2016. But don’t overlook where Trump has long lived. He’s from New York, the city of endless parades. (The Veggie Pride Parade is scheduled for April 8.) Many of these parades occur on Fifth Avenue, where, as it happens, Trump lived.
It does not take a great deal of imagination — nor frequent viewing of the History Channel — to envision a balcony being attached to the building so that Trump can review the Trump Parade from the Trump Tower on Trump Day. He’ll surely assume that the crowd will exceed that of Charles Lindbergh’s or FDR’s parades or, for that matter, the exuberant, unbelievable throng that assembled to hear his inaugural address — people, beautiful people, as far as the eye could see, almost to the Beltway.
Most American parades are not military in character, and so, strictly speaking, the one Trump has in mind is deeply un-American. But America has indeed seen splendid military processions. Big ones occurred in 1865, 1919 and 1945. They were staged to celebrate military victories — the end of those wars. The soldiers soon returned to civilian life.
But Trump’s parade will probably also celebrate a victory: his — the triumph over the Very Crooked Hillary. The parade will be yet another example of how thoroughly he has personalized the presidency, energetically making it as tacky as he is. He has little regard for the dignity of the office because he is without dignity himself and he does not appreciate that he is the mere custodian of the presidency, not its resplendent embodiment. He sees himself, as Louis XIV once purportedly did: as the state.
This, and not the Bastille Day parade Trump witnessed in Paris last July 14, is likely the true inspiration for Trump’s parade idea. He does not so much envision an army at quick step but himself reviewing it. It is this that so offends — the American military as a Trump prop, its heroes, its wounded and its dead drafted to serve the needs of a squalid ego, and its somber tradition of martial modesty turned to bling by the vainglorious president. The appropriate date for such garishness is Trump’s own birthday — the former Flag Day, the future Trump Day, and, to some of us, the new Halloween.
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