Living the dream

How it’s seen over there.

(Spoiler: not admiringly.)

The US president will deliver an Independence Day speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, which honours the president who won the civil war and helped end slavery and was the site of civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech a century later.

Yes, and the result is that that is how we see it and think of it now. It’s a place where we gather to petition the government for redress of grievances. It has a certain resonance. It’s not a place for triumphalist displays of military power. Right after WW II it might have been, but now, no. It stands for everything Trump hates, and Trump stands for everything that civil rights struggles oppose. Trump doesn’t belong there. He wouldn’t belong there without the military show of force, and with it he’s an excrescence.

And for decades, presidents have kept a low profile during Washington’s annual celebration of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, as typically hundreds of thousands of people gather at the National Mall for a nonpartisan concert and fireworks.

I didn’t know presidents have kept a low profile. I haven’t paid much attention to the 4th. I guess it’s a bit of polite consideration so that people of all parties and none can feel comfortable going. Naturally Trump has no use for any kind of polite consideration.

White House staff are worried the crowds will be thin.

Though thousands of tickets have been distributed to the military, White House aides have reportedly been struggling to draw crowds to Trump’s event because of the last minute arrangements. Congress is not in session, and Washington typically becomes quieter over the holiday, as residents escape the city’s summer heat.

“They started this too late and everyone has plans already,” Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor, told Politico, which reported that even top level White House officials were expected – but not confirmed – to attend.

They could always fly in the people sweltering in camps on the border.

Crowd size is a sensitive subject for the president. A government photographer edited official pictures of Trump’s inauguration to make the crowds seem bigger following a personal intervention from the president, according to investigative documents from the inspector general of the US interior department.

“Edited” is a euphemism. The official pictures were faked.

The Pentagon said the administration has provided 5,000 tickets for Trump’s Independence Day event to the military. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign has also handed passes out to Republican allies and donors.

In other words it’s a campaign event, at taxpayers’ expense. That’s all kinds of illegal.

Asked earlier this week if he could give a speech that would represent all Americans, Trump said he thought he could, and then launched into an attack on Democrats’ policies on healthcare and taxes.

“Instead of addressing something like veteran homelessness, he’s spending it on boosting his ego with a parade that’s fundamentally about him and then getting tickets in the hands of wealthy donors for the Republican party. What a waste of money,” Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro said on CBS This Morning on Wednesday.

It’s a waste of money and a violation of campaign finance laws.

5 Responses to “Living the dream”