Values on Parade

Historical perspective acts as a prophylactic against current events hysteria—so much so, in fact, that I sometimes think we should perhaps advocate the free distribution of historical perspective (perhaps through local school systems, though that may prove a bit too controversial).

Take the matter of the apparently-terrifying proposal made by President Trump, that the United States hold a big military parade.

This time 110 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet,” composed of 16 battleships and their accompanying vessels, was partway through its round-the-world naval procession. It was a combination logistical and diplomatic exercise, and a brilliant show of national will and military capacity. Many historians agree the tour had a considerable effect on America’s would-be allies and adversaries. It was inspired by foreign militaristic pageantry, particularly British and German naval displays, and was strongly criticized by political opponents for assorted reasons. For one, it was an expensive endeavor, and there can be little doubt that foreign powers found the project a good deal more provocative than, say, parading the fleet’s personnel through the streets of the nation’s capital would have been.

Compared to the optics and implications of parading the battlefleet around the world (an achievement, by the way, the U.S. Navy proudly celebrated on its centennial a few years ago), a military parade in Washington, D.C. seems rather mild. It might be a novelty for the city, so used to more chaotic marches, to see disciplined units marching in step rather than strolling quasi-mobs, but hardly a threat to the liberty which our fighting men are sworn to protect.

However, having marched in a few parades in the halcyon days of my youth, I strongly suspect the prospective participants themselves find the whole idea less than inspiring. The fun of a parade is in the spectating, as opposed to the marching.

Therefore, I have a modest proposal to make the processional idea more attractive to everyone. Let’s let the fighting men watch from the sidelines and the reviewing stands, and let the legions of D.C. bureaucrats do the marching this time around. That ought to mollify everyone.

Oh—and for the sake of poetic justice, let’s remember put the horses at the front of that parade.


Our Pride Parades are most notorious—
With those, nothing else competes.
Yet all seven deadly sins
May hold processions in our streets—

On some picturesque occasions,
Lust, of course, holds hands with Pride.
Surrounded by celebrities,
They’re smug and satisfied.

“Redistribute All The Things!”
Hear Greed and Envy chant together—
(Sloth and Gluttony stayed home…
There was a rumor of bad weather.)

Now, see the festive Wrath Parade,
Angry pink hats upon their heads!
(Sloth and Gluttony observe—
Virtually, of course, from their soft beds).

How swiftly the “woke” mobilize,
(And they never waste a crisis!),
Marching boldly to protect
And, yes, celebrate, our vices.

But . . . parade our nation’s soldiers?
Who’d do that?! It’s like a coup!
It’s too scary, and tyrannical—
Just like the French! “Sacre bleu!”

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10 responses to “Values on Parade

  • A silly idea. And a silly article. The world was a profoundly different place and militaristic chest pounding was not as dangerous. I would not spend one cent on this waste of time.

    • Good morning! Thanks for noticing that the piece is somewhat lighthearted.

      The notion that the world then, less than a decade before the cataclysmic Great War, was a LESS dangerous place, was a thought of startling originality but should perhaps be subjected to independent critique before laying it out before the public.

      Some prefer militaristic chest-pounding; others, militant breast beating. I would humble submit that ceremonial displays of military might, are less likely to inspire our enemies to hostile action…than the usual street-theater of moral decadence, national disunity, and – yes – silliness – which more often appear on their television screens; predatory nations and cultures salivate at such things. Better Kevlar helmets than genitalia-hats, as our international image.

      I imagine that if we cut all of the funding for military sensitivity training of various types, we could pay for a nice parade and break even – in fact, come out ahead; the parade might be of no benefit, but eliminating institutionalized “victim culture” in the military would be a vast improvement.

      • The world did not know it as headed into a global war. WWI was started by an accident in Sarajevo and a stupid series of alliances that no one appreciated would have the ensuing consequence. But it was pare-nuclear era. In 5 years 20 million died – mostly soldiers and French civilians. Today we could kill a billion civilians in 10 minutes. We have come close to nuclear war half a dozen times. Mostly American shit-kicking Generals wanting to use them tactically – Macarthur, Lemay and a few other psychopaths. And twice, 1962 and Able Archer it almost happened by accident. So Roughrider Roosevelt’s execs in national dick-swinging was inconsequential. We didn’t even join the Great War until it was almost over, so why he thought it accomplished anything is curious. American historians – who are generally full of crap – like to portray it as an elevation of America in the world’s eyes. Yawn. If America wanted to play with the big boys, she should have unsheathed the sword in 1914, rather than playing pocket polo until the Lusitania went down and British intelligence revealed the Mexican plot by tapping America’s own lines. Trump is 100% capable of stumbling into a cataclysmic situation and getting him all horny about militarism is entirely the WRONG effing ides.

      • And Hitler just held “rallies”. The man has his finger on the button – he is an impulsive, semi-rational, malignant narcissistic, man-child. He has virtually zero impulse control. You see no problem with this?

      • Hey. Joe. Read the above exchange to your dog [or cat]. I strongly suspect your dog [or cat] will be less a brick wall than anonymous BCML.

  • As i said elsewhere, the parade should be on Armed Forces Day. In fact, we should have been having parades in D.C. on Armed Forces Day all along. After all, that’s what the day is supposed to be about – recognizing the Armed Forces of the United States. By the way, I doubt if 10 people who read this even know there is an Armed Forces Day. It’s hardly ever mentioned by the media or pundits, few of whom have ever been in the armed forces.

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  • I think it’s a great idea.
    But please have NO DOUBT there will be considerable violent protests, Antifa types et al, and no big city, all controlled by Democrat will want to use their police to keep the Antifa types et al from center stage.

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