Breen: “George Washington Would Hate Trump’s July 4 Parade”

Trump 4th

T.H. Breen brings the thunder:

President Trump has invited the American people to what he claims will be the biggest and best Fourth of July celebration in the nation’s history. Influenced by the huge nationalist displays he witnessed in Europe, Mr. Trump promises “a really great parade to show our military strength.” And he will treat the country to a “major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”

All Americans should be appalled. Even during an era of extreme hyperbole, the unabashed narcissism driving the parade plans is astonishing. It runs counter to the explicit aims and faith of the ordinary Americans who founded the United States.

The focus on a single leader — on the construction of a cult of personality — would have incensed the men and women who sacrificed so much to create a new nation. As Capt. Joseph Bloomfield explained to a company of New Jersey troops preparing to fight in the Revolutionary War, the American states had “entered a new era of politics.” He warned the soldiers to be on guard against the rise of an “aspiring Demagogue, possessed of popular talents and shining qualities, a Julius Caesar, or an Oliver Cromwell” who “will lay violent hands on the government and sacrifice the liberties of his country.”

At a moment when exclusionary forms of national identity are on the rise, we should remember that the ordinary people who suffered so much during a long war believed that their sacrifice legitimated a system of government in which ordinary people like themselves had a meaningful voice. There would be no more doffing the cap to noblemen. No more claims to special privilege. In the independent republic all citizens would be equal under the law.

13 thoughts on “Breen: “George Washington Would Hate Trump’s July 4 Parade”

  1. Jim in STL,

    You are wrong on both guesses, Jim. It was actually Alvin York who took the Phoenix airport from Geronimo during the Civil War.


  2. This speech is why I’m doubling down on my contribution to the humanities at my alma mater. He’s an idiot!


  3. It did turn out to be much ado about almost nothing. It was a atypical Trump speech. It probably almost killed him to stay on that script as well as he did.
    It was a hard speech to screw up as it didn’t really soar with any kind of leadership into the future rhetoric. I think we are supposed to stick together because we just are so great. Obviously the internal, domestic problems we face are beyond Trump. Devisiveness is a monster the military can’t fix. Well, we sure wouldn’t want to try to fix it that way.
    If we keep throwing money at the military, it will be a strong military, if people who know what they are doing run it.
    Ending the many divides we have, improving education, infrastructure, and all that is a lot harder. Not stuff you can bluff your way through with a lot of Twitter posts and posturing and blunder busting.


  4. Not that it really matters in the great scheme of things but my big fat fingers meant to type “speech.” Now, about those airports……


  5. John, I’m unclear on a point made during his speach and figure a historian can clear this up. Was it George Washington and his troops that took over the airports from Cornwallis or was this an action that took place during the war of 1812? 🙂


  6. And now, after all the “thunder” (I heard something closer to backyard firecrackers), all the fulminating, all the handwringing and — not making this up — allusions to Tiananmen square, all the ridiculous hysteria … um, now what? (I think my favorite part was the people who avidly support Free Everything! squinching their faces in a rictus of fiscally responsible ag-o-neeee over the cost, oh the terrible expenditures of the Collective’s Money! Think of the children!

    I am wiping away a single, glistening tear in solidarity for their genuine sorrow over the profligacy of it all.

    On to today’s Worstest Most Abominable Heinous Atrocity Against Human Decency and the Foundations of the Republic that Jim Acosta’s wide eyes have yet beheld.

    One wonders if the paroxysms these fake cataclysms produce ever grow tiring.


  7. Unicorn,
    There was no tank parade. According to reports there was only a static display of two Abrams tanks and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles.


  8. “The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud and the free. We all share the same heroes, the same home, the same heart, and we are all made by the same Almighty God.”

    Since when did we share the same heart?

    What about the brain?


  9. P.S. And Christians will be making pilgrimage to DC this day.
    “O Come Let Us Adore Him…”


  10. It’s not July 4th, Professor Fea.
    It’s Trump Adoration Day.

    And the plans for the tank parade didn’t go over well with local (Los Angeles) afternoon radio talk show last Tuesday afternoon. Their comment was “Third World Dictator shtick”. I kept thinking of Red Square on May Day.


  11. Trump’s show was pretty bland.
    He stayed on script which I was glad to see.
    The history lesson aspect wasn’t insightful. Just the facts, ma’am.
    But you can’t argue against recognizing heroes. I don’t think he mentioned the Tuskegee Airmen. But I guess you can’t mention everyone.
    He acknowledged Harriet Tubman but not why she shouldn’t go on the ten dollar bill right away. Or is that the twenty?

    He predicted, a pretty big prediction, that America will go on forever and ever, and ever.

    I am not sure there was a parade.
    There were the fly overs. Probably more impressive in person than TV.

    And the close was the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

    I am looking soon for the Trump Tweets about it.


  12. Marsha,

    I wasn’t planning to watch any of the celebrations but happened to come into the room where my wife was watching Trump’s speech. It was very good and centered on noteworthy Americans. The coordination of the flyovers with the individual service songs was also flawless. Normally I don’t watch his sort of thing but the planners who orchestrated this event did a great job.


  13. the parade in DC today is the same parade held every year by DC. local bands, organizations, floats. he is not stealing our traditions! and “A Capitol Fourth” is being held, singers and other entertainment, broadcast on PBS, just like always, from the grounds of the Capitol, followed by the fireworks broadcast, with stirring music behind the fireworks. He might be able to sell access to his speech on the Lincoln Memorial to his donors, and sell more $$ hotel rooms, and scatter tanks around and more planes in the air. And move the fireworks….so they don’t frame the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, but I bet the cameras can figure out good angles. I just hope they don’t show his speech on tv. parade going on now :


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