We can title this one ‘Birth of a Nation’–the sequel. Or the follow-up to the work of Leni Riefenstahl.
Historians will write of this year’s hubris and undermining of what the Founders had wished to be front and center on July 4th. And what happens when an under-educated egomaniac takes power. And they will also write what happens when a segment of the nation either does not care, nor knows better.
Trump is remaking Washington, DC’s Independence Day celebrations into a political event. If one has never learned the value of our past it is easy to smear–and we have proof of that in what Trump is planning for July 4th.
There will be a cordoned-off area for dignitaries, family, and friends only accessible to those with White House-distributed tickets. Well, that makes it clear as to what is being planned.
With the racist moves against brown people at the southern border, the coddling of White Nationalists, and the bonding with international dictators and strongmen there must be deep concern when the holiday designed to showcase our values is turned into a political rally. Grotesque is an understatement.
Meanwhile at the Madison, Wisconsin home of your blogger a special American flag will fly high and proud. The flag was flown over Mount Vernon and is lifted up the mast at our home once a year and then stored in a protective bag for the following year. That is what reverence for the holiday looks like.
What Trump is planning can be summed up in one word.
Given the event will showcase flyovers by Air Force One, the Blue Angels, and other military aircraft there is a clear message of power and bombast as opposed to the deep meanings of the written words in the Declaration of Independence. History proves what happens when nationalism is misused, and power upstages the quiet contemplative tones that people need to have about their country.
Only one other president attempted such a spectacle as Trump is now doing. And it resulted in a disaster. Long-time readers will not be shocked to find I now head back to the Nixon presidency.
Nixon had, in 1970, deepened U.S. involvement in the extremely unpopular Vietnam War by invading Cambodia. That was the year that four college students were killed at Kent Sate. So to drum up support for the war, and his administration, some high-profile supporters decided to hold an “Honor America Day” on July 4th in DC. In the end teargas was used on protesters and mayhem of all sorts broke out. It was a political fiasco.
No other president has ever before attended DC’s annual Independence Day celebrations, in part because of security concerns.
The more important reason why other presidents have not acted so cavalierly, is the weight and gravitas of this day, given the meaning it has for the entire narrative of our nation. Only those too diseased in spirit and soul will find joy in Trump’s plans.
Donald Trump’s self-serving upstaging of the national holiday requires a national rebuke.
And so it goes.