A Short Word: Military Might’s Shadow

While visiting President Jean-Michel Macron of France, Donald Trump said he was so impressed by the Bastille Day parade that he is considering a similar parade to showcase America’s military might on July 4th, right down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House is located. Their are simply an abundance of reasons such an idea is ridiculous, but chief among them should be that a military parade on Independence Day is an affront to the very War for Independence over a military wielding tyrant that Americans celebrate on July 4th.

“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.”
-The Declaration of Independence-

Among the Founding Fathers who had deep reservations about the dangers of keeping a standing Army was none other than James Madison, who said, “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” He was not wrong, and his warnings have been demonstrated around the world time and again in the centuries since.

How can someone comfortably reconcile those words of James Madison, who lived in that same house on Pennsylvania Avenue from 1809 to 1817, with those of Donald Trump, who lives in that same house today. What would James Madison have made of the current occupant, obsessed with bigness and flashy shows of military might. Would Madison think that Trump’s parade was “tremendous” or “beautiful“? Or would Madison look at Trump and see the overgrown Executive that he warned of centuries ago? The tragic irony will doubtlessly be lost on Trump and his supporters.

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.”
-The Declaration of Independence-

At the end of the Second World War, the United States was in possession of the largest and most technically advanced military machine in human history. Our soldiers were the best equipped, best supplied, and best trained since the Legions of the Caesars. Millions of soldiers at the ready. Ground shaking lines of tanks for hundreds of miles. Sky darkening squadrons of fighters, torpedo planes, and bombers. And, on top of all that, we were the sole nuclear power on Earth.

When Japan surrendered on September 2nd, 1945, instead of settling age old grudges and establishing Pax Americana around the globe, American carriers dumped hundreds of fighters into the sea and made their way home. Ships were scrapped, planes stripped, and the weapons of war were reduced to molten metal and ash. True Americans do not revel in “military might“, for that is the language and tools of despots and tyrants. America loves liberty, peace, and justice, all things that wilt in the shadow of “military might“.

We have a standing military because we must, Mr. Trump. It is not beautiful. It is merely necessary.

Liberty is For The Win!


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