By Gene H. McIntyre
On July 14, 2017, President Donald Trump was in Paris on Bastille Day to join French President Emmanuel Macron on his reviewing podium to observe representations of that country’s military might. We Americans learned that Trump was deeply impressed and wants a similar military parade here on July 4 of this year.
Bastille Day honors the thousands of Parisians who struck back against a monumentally corrupt Louis XVI, his family and friends after years of having their fellow Parisians thrown into a cesspool of a place whose name was the Bastille where they typically were beaten and tortured for transgressions such as stealing a loaf of bread. French men and women were fed up with their treatment and turned to revolution, including the beheading of their king and members of his court.
We’ve now got tens of thousands of Americans whose financial and general economic circumstances are so bad their living conditions have come to homelessness while thousands of others have mainly lost everything, including health care for themselves and their children, about whom a threat continues that every final safety net will be taken away and the last hope of avoiding destitution will be lost.
Although discontent represents a common view among these and other Americans, a full-blown revolution here appears unlikely now, but not unthinkable. Regardless of numbers of Americans living wherever, President Trump wants a big military parade estimated to cost in the seven figures, delivered by U.S. armed forces in Washington,. This writer likes the idea of a parade but not one that glorifies U.S. killing machines.
A military parade would pay tribute to Trump while in fact he’s advised to get a grip on where this nation’s people live and breath and cancel such an outlandish extravagance to advertise the U.S. military, a military that’s already so large and bloated in manpower and materials that every other country in the world knows full well it has no chance against it. Meanwhile, our military is rife with waste and corrupted by fighting unnecessary wars. Further, such a parade will simply enrage and further upset those Americans who direly struggle and those who’ve lost that struggle and now inhabit our sidewalks, our parks and private property.
No, instead, since large numbers of those Americans with excessive control over money, money that fifty to sixty years ago was generally more evenly spread throughout the American population, we should have a parade that recognizes them. So, the American version of a Bastille Day parade would simply show how disproportionately rich our wealthy have become. In a word, America’s “one percent” could display their collections of material goods.
Their displays could include signs that inform the parade goers as to what amount they will receive every year in future by way of the tax reform bill passed last month by Republicans in Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Also, miniatures or models of their many homes could be set up on traditional floats like those in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Then, too, their fleets of super expensive domestic and foreign cars could be lined up behind floats driven by their private chauffeurs.
President Trump could still receive accolades by way of high praise and recognition for his wealth accumulations. Should he wish to do so he could wear a generalissimo uniform and stand or sit at the head of the parade displaying floats with replicas of his New York City tower, his hotels, his private homes and his resort golf courses, as well as every achievement of his as a business deal maker.
Oh, sure, of course, there could be a few M1 Abrams military tanks and LGM-30G ICBMs in the mix of floats. After all, we formerly were proud as a peaceful people intended to resemble ancient Athens, not entirely given over to a Sparta-look-alike! The result of the rich showing their wares? Perhaps the American people would awaken from their long slumber to vote persons into federal public offices who will keep their jobs because they design and pass legislation into laws that begin to help to address and reverse the democracy-disabling disparities in U.S. pay and salaries, living standards, opportunity, and chance to embrace the American dream.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)