In 1901, then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt quoted a West African proverb of which he was fond: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
Those are words that President Donald Trump should take to heart when discussing the possibility of a grand parade celebrating our military.
The United States does have a big stick and, despite cutbacks in recent years, our nation is still considered to have the strongest military in the world.
That doesn’t mean we need to parade those soldiers up and down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, as Trump proposed after watching a similar spectacle in Paris last year on Bastille Day.
Holding a multimillion-dollar military parade is the opposite of speaking softly.
Trump also reportedly praised a military parade held by China, according to an NBC News report. He said, during a Nov. 9 meeting with President Xi Jinping: “The hosting of the military parade this morning was magnificent, and the world was watching. I’ve already had people calling from all parts of the world. They were all watching. Nothing you can see is so beautiful.”
Here in America, even if the parade is done with the best intentions, many people will take the parade as a chance to bash Trump.
While people around the world will see the nation’s military might, more than likely what they will remember will be the sideline protests and days of demonstrations that will follow.
Those in the military deserve our respect every day. They put their lives on the line for our nation. The Fourth of July is a perfect opportunity for us to pay our respects through a parade.
In addition, those parades are part of the annual budgets in the commmunities which put them on. In contrast, the parade Trump has proposed could cost between $10 million and $30 million, depending on the size, scope and length of the parade, according to estimates released by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
In a congressional hearing, Mulvaney said: “We will continue to work with you folks if we decide to continue forward with this initiative … of course, you’d have to appropriate funds for it or we would have to find funds that we’ve already appropriated,” the New York Times reported.
$10 million to $30 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the federal budget as a whole. But that money could most certainly be used elsewhere.
While our military personnel deserve to be respected, Trump should consider alternatives to a parade.