Donald Trump launched his presidency with the employment of several generals because they were, in his estimation, the kind of leaders he needed. He discovered to his dismay that they could not be controlled like his preferred sycophants. They actually had minds of their own and with only one or two exceptions resisted most of his norm breaking and unconstitutional impulses. But he discovered a more malleable substitute: military equipment.

In celebrating July 4th, the president has decided that tanks, planes and other military hardware best exemplify the rationale for our Declaration of Independence and subsequent development as a nation. America has stood as an exemplar of the western liberal tradition that emerged from the Enlightenment. Freedom of speech and the press. Freedom to practice one's faith. Resistance to autocratic rule. In essence a functioning democracy with all its limitations which has given us strength. He wants to replace this history for which he has such disdain with weapons of war. Their most redeeming quality: unlike generals, these inanimate symbols of power cannot oppose him.

Film clips of military parades from Nazi Germany and more recently Russia, China and North Korea give us a good idea of what he considers to be our nation's strength.

VINCENT DE SANCTIS

Tilghman

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