Alden Graves | Graves registry: Muskets at the airport


The big day has come and gone and the question that seems to be lingering in everyone's mind is, "Did Paul Revere remember to warn Logan during his midnight ride?"

"Salute to America." Yeah, right.

It was all about him, wasn't it? I mean, isn't it always really just about him? Donald Trump is a living amalgam of everything that is petty, mean-spirited, self-centered, arrogant, greedy and gluttonous in the American character (and let's face it folks, there are some of those traits in all of us). Dressing it up in red, white and blue doesn't change a thing.

In 2017, the inauguration crowd was embarrassingly sparse, even if the administration's lies about phenomenal numbers set the tone for all that was to come. So, why not give the 4th of July a try? Mount a spectacle that Cecil B. DeMille might have thought excessive. Maybe film the whole thing the way C. B. did and call it "Donald Trump's Really Excellent 4th of July Adventure." Starring Donald Trump. Directed by Donald Trump. Produced by the American taxpayers.

It's a shame that Sarah Sanders isn't around to lie about the size of the throng gathered to hear more ramblings from their favorite president - him. That Donald Trump should choose to deliver his message on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial adds just the right touch of sacrilege to the proceedings, but sanctimonious Sarah could have sidestepped that thorny point by claiming that her boss is tall, too.

I recalled an artist's rendering of the marble figure of Abraham Lincoln with his head in his hands weeping after John Kennedy's assassination in 1963. I imagined the same image with Trump standing on those hallowed steps. He belongs in a venue named after Betsy DeVos's infamous clan, not near a memorial to the Great Emancipator.

What crust the guy has! While this serial draft dodger, christened Cadet Bone Spurs by a congresswoman who lost both her legs in the Iraq war, makes himself the centerpiece of a prehistoric military sideshow, children, dirty, alone, and terrified, are sleeping on cement floors in hell-hole detention centers in the Unites States of America. Of course, none of that matters to his base (and how unusual it is when the same word can be used as an adjective to describe the noun). And that's the audience to which Mr. Trump always sings his demented arias.

It will give you some idea of the commander-in-chief's grasp of cutting-edge military technology that, when he was huckstering his big plans for the 4th, he boasted about "brand new Sherman tanks" being on display. Grade schoolers might remember Sherman tanks being cited as an integral part of combat during World War II in their history classes. (They were generally considered inferior to German Panzers.)

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The United States stopped using the tank in the early fifties, although they were still part of Paraguay's combat readiness as late as 2018. Military officials, who wished to remain anonymous because of Mr. Trump's fragile ego and get even disposition, said that they didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

Trump, who seems be a big tank booster, wasn't letting an opportunity to pat himself on the back slip through his tiny fingers. He told reporters: "You know we're making a lot of new tanks right now. We're building a lot of new tanks in Lima, Ohio — our great tank factory that people wanted to close down until I got elected and I stopped it from being closed down, and now it's a very productive facility and they do, nobody's the greatest tank in the world."

(I have absolutely no idea what "nobody's the greatest tank in the world" is supposed to mean.)

I don't pretend to be a military expert by any stretch, but it seems to me that, in this nuclear age, a tank would be as efficient as a palm fan in a hurricane. Of course we are learning combat history from a man who actually said during his rockets' red glare fest that airports were attacked during the Revolutionary War, a statement of staggering stupidity even considering Trump's astonishing ability to make stupid statements. He blamed it on the rain and I'm sure his supporters understood completely how a little precipitation can cause a person to mix up their centuries.

So he got he Revolutionary War thing wrong. How many of us knew that our great tank factory was in Lima, Ohio? I guess that you have to balance the ludicrous with the essentially useless.

Except for the little faux pas about the airports, it was pretty much agreed that Trump didn't wander too far from remarks that were prepared for him at the ceremony. It was what his keepers call a good day. Those of us who chose not to lend our support to such a blatant exploitation of the country's military were accused — right on cue — of being unpatriotic. I can't speak for the millions of others who were disgusted by the spectacle of the most divisive character in the nation's history speaking at the memorial to a man who was responsible for binding it back together, but for my part, the price of capitulation was just too high.

And how about that wilting heat and the torrential rain? And the earthquakes in California on the same day that relegated Mr. Trump's big show into second place in the headlines? It makes you wonder if even God was weighing in on the proceedings, although no one would dare accuse Him of being unpatriotic. Would they?

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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