Columns, Opinion

American Protest: We do not need a military parade

We all know Trump’s list of priorities has been skewed since the beginning of his presidency, and it’s starting to feel like nothing will happen in America for the rest of his term. While his stance on gun control and regulation was rather impressive, who knows when any of these laws will actually get passed.

Most recently, Trump has been granted permission for his military parade with the release of a Pentagon memo last Thursday outlining the parade and its logistics. The plan right now is to host it on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. It is set to have a “heavy air component” and costumes from different war periods.

While patriotism is always a nice thing, there is a line that has to be drawn, which countries like North Korea often cross. When I think of military parades, I think of Nazis marching through the streets or the North Korean army flashing all of its weapons in our faces.

These parades that show off military power are less about patriotism and more about Trump’s “mine is bigger than yours” mentality. He has to let the world know that we have a strong military presence, and that is inherently dangerous.

Even though I did not live during the Cold War, I feel like I am living in something similar. Seeing the constant back and forth between Trump and Putin and these military shows makes me feel like we are preparing for something bigger than Trump’s offensive tweets to Putin.

Now is not the time to antagonize all the countries that want to blow us up, but that is exactly what this parade will do. Kim Jong Un does not need to think that this is a jab at his country to make a move.

Militarization is not the solution to our problems, because that would mean we are ready to fight. This is not like the last world wars, in which the violence primarily affected Europe and the Pacific; countries now possess nuclear weapons that could wipe out our entire country.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night. How is this military parade going to help them? What about all the veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or other physical disabilities? What is this parade accomplishing for them?

The numbers that have come out for the cost of this parade have ranged from $10 million to $30 million over the past month. Instead of using that money to get our veterans off the street and combat homelessness in this country, Trump is going to use it to antagonize our enemies.

The lack of regard for the veterans of America shows that this parade is not about patriotism. I think most people would agree that leaving these men and women on the streets to suffer is not patriotic at all. Conservatives cannot pretend to be pro-military when they leave behind these wounded soldiers.

This money could be put to so many more productive uses beyond the military as well, such as fixing our countries failing infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our infrastructure a D plus, a nearly failing grade.

Additionally, this money could go toward fixing our education system, environmental issues or other programs that the Trump administration cut because of costs. Maybe we should work on fixing the inside of our country before we invest more money into going out of the country for war.

This parade is normalizing war and violence. It’s not normal to have weapons of war, heavy war craft and thousands of soldiers marching down the street. The idea of war needs to stop being portrayed as a glorified act because it is not anything close to that.

Think about all the veterans who cannot enjoy Independence Day because they have PTSD attacks over the fireworks or the veterans unable to walk on their feet because they are missing multiple limbs. Nothing about that is glamorous, and Trump needs to put his ego aside and recognize these realities.

One Comment

  1. Ann M. McCluskey

    My husband was a career serviceman, and we traveled to all of his duty stations over the years. In 1967, we began a two year tour in Morocco, and we were staying in a local hotel until our government quarters were available, our balcony overlooked the boulevard through town. And one day, there was a parade. We stood and watched, and filmed three hours of troops, weapns, vehicles, you name it . And we were shocked. In the streets below were the poorer citizens of that town, uneducated, visible signs of hard scrabble life, dirty children excited at seeing all the excitement, not realizing the King of Morocco could have used all that money far better on those people to improve their lives, I remember turning to my husband saying to him, this would never happen in America. I am dismayed beyond words. This idea is horrible for so many reasons.