Military Parades Are Really Partisan Spectacles
It’s that time of year again…The time of year where President Trump asks for a military parade and the partisans on both sides go nuts.
“It’s like they’re from communist Russia, wanting to show off our military strength in a parade!”
“It’s like they’re from communist Russia, not wanting to support our military with a parade!”
When the idea of a parade is floated, those on the left mainly cite money and seeming fascist as the biggest cons, while those on the right cite “supporting our military” as the biggest pro.
So, what’s the reality?
To Have a Parade or Not to Have a Parade?
When asked the question above, there are a few things to understand before answering.
- The “military parades are fascist” argument is a weak one. A military parade is not inherently fascist. The U.S. has had plenty of military parades. The nation’s most recent parade was in 1991, after the victory in the Persian Gulf. But don’t let people tell you they’re only for victories…there are plenty of cities around the US that host military parades on military-themed holidays such as Veterans Day, Memorial Day, or Independence Day. In fact, one of our authors just witnessed a military parade for Veterans Day marching down Columbia, South Carolina’s main street. So, don’t let people tell you military parades are a sign of fascism.
- The “let’s use the money for our vets” one is a fantasy. The cost is not large enough to do anything substantial for the entirety of the veteran population, and at an estimated $20 million it’s well worth the marketing reach. The military spends a great deal on marketing its career opportunities to the citizens of the United States. A military parade provides a wonderful opportunity for extremely large “reach” as all the media outlets will surely cover it. And with all the hoopla about it, it’s sure to get more reach than normal.
- The “troops hate parades” argument isn’t very good either. We’ll definitely agree that the troops in the parade will hate the parade. Every person who’s served in the active military knows that. To have a parade, the troops work their asses off to host it, march in it, etc., and it blows. We’d rather have the four-day weekend.
- But on the flip side, the “Troops deserve the honor” argument doesn’t hold much water. Although it’s meant to honor the Troops most of “the Troops” will be indifferent about the whole thing. Despite what all these partisan vets and partisan pundits want to say, most active military will probably glance at the screen, say, “Oh, that was today?” and go about their day.
- One interesting and not often heard argument is that a parade may help connect the civilian population and the military population. We were intrigued by this and will give it the benefit of the doubt. There is a feeling of being “forgotten” by the civilian population. The war still rages in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria, but most wouldn’t know if you asked. Therefore, it is a good point.
- Finally, it’s not needed to show off military might. The entire world knows our military strength. It’s obvious from our spending amounts, from our world presence, or from the fact that we toppled what many experts believed to be the most effective military force in the Gulf region in under 30 days (Iraq, 2003). The military prides itself on being “silent professionals” and we know we’re the strongest, so there’s no need to bolster our spirits or for us to flaunt.
So, is one needed? No.
Would it be a horrible idea? Not really.
Would it be a great idea? Not really.
Will it matter much in the long run? Not at all.
Military parade or not, it’s more a partisan battle. If you hate Trump, you’ll hate the parade. If you love Trump, you’ll love the parade. If you’re nonpartisan, you’ll most likely think it’s a waste of time and money, but not really care much about it.