By Patricia Lee Sharpe
Oh goody! Let’s have a parade! So says the President.
And it goes without saying that a Trump extravaganza will have to out-wow those annual displays of power on May Day in Red Square.
So what does it take to choreograph the mother of all military displays?
Tanks, of course. Monstrous guns. Missiles. A fly-by with red, white and blue contrails, including a few dare devil loops spelling T-r-u-m-p. Hundreds and hundreds of soldiers, sailors and marines marching in formation, each ordered to bow low as he/she passes the reviewing stand. Military bands competing to see which can play “Hail to the Chief” most reverently.
Then there’s the reviewing stand itself. It has to be built and adorned—and the seating has to be assigned, prioritizing military contractors, no doubt, along with the Chairs of the House and Senate committees in charge of military appropriations. They, by the way, should be wondering how they missed the line item for parade expenses when they were asked to beef up the military budget.
Re those expenses, think in terms of many many millions. Not only the obvious costs for the eye-popping items, but the unglamorous expenses. Like keeping the mall-packing (by pre-determined definition) crowds in order. And picking up the litter left behind. And restoring the trampled grass. And—a very au courant expense—ensuring that terrorists can’t drive trucks into those throngs (by pre-determined definition) who’ve come to adore the President in all his resplendent power as Commander in Chief.
What else? It doesn’t cost zero to rehearse and assemble marching units. Figure in gas and maintenance for transport. Drivers to and fro. Mechanics on the ready. And definitely, once the fun is over, the streets will have to be repaired; tanks weigh a lot more than taxis.
Having arranged lots of programs but never a parade, I’m sure I’ve missed more than a few “yuge” expenditures, but worry not. The President has requested a removal of the cap on military allocations, reportedly to finance a massive upgrading of equipment that’s across-the-board out of date, which makes me wonder why he wants to display it, assuming it's only the military he wants to display. Whatever, we know now what the money’s really for. Donald Trump needs big bucks for his parade.
Yes, his parade. The whole world already knows that the U.S. is powerful, and previous American presidents have felt no need for crass displays of the obvious. Self confident leaders don’t need to peacock with the national defense. They don't brag about the size of their missiles either. So a Defense Department worthy of a democracy would be (and hopefully already is) raining heavily on this charade—oops! parade, which doesn’t preclude traditional, dignified military contributions to Fourth of July celebrations that honor the country, not a wanna-be czar who cries “Treason!” when he’s not applauded.