President Donald Trump is turning the annual Fourth of July Celebration in Washington D.C. into a political affair. Not only will the president have tanks and other American military equipment on display, like some Soviet extravaganza, but he will have Air Force One conduct a fly over and will “unveil” his own new helicopter, Marine-1, as a presentation not of our country’s greatness but of his.
Invited to the event of course are all Americans, but VIP tickets have been awarded, exclusively to Trump’s loyal supporters. While tickets for example were sent to the Republican National Committee, no seats have been reserved for Democrats in this now overtly Republican, maybe I should say Trumpian, affair.
To question the overtly political plans for Mr. Trump’s Fourth of July celebration of self is to question America itself. In the words of one of Mr. Trump’s propaganda ministers, Kellyanne Conway, when questioned by a reporter as to why the RNC was provided tickets to the event but not members of the country’s other party, Ms. Conway responded: “Do you know that the Fourth of July is a celebration of American independence? Are you aware of that? ... Because it doesn’t sound like you’re even talking about the patriotism that undergirds it.” To question President Trump is to be ignorant of America. To question President Trump’s idea of America, his plans for America, his actions on behalf of America, is to be unpatriotic.
Mr. Trump, questioned in the Oval Office about whether he thinks he can give a speech that will reach all Americans, responded. “I think I’ve reached most Americans,” going on to highlight some of his party’s political priorities while attacking the Democratic Party’s health care and tax plans. Unresponsive to the question asked, Mr. Trump’s answer nonetheless illuminated his viewpoint. Americans, real Americans I suppose, are those that agree with him, who support him, who stand by him, and now by hosting a Fourth of July celebration, that celebrate with him.
And so, as President Trump has made the Fourth of July a celebration about him, his views, and his policies, I will choose not to celebrate. I will not celebrate putting children in cages. I will not celebrate the cozying of relations with foreign dictators. I will not celebrate his racism. I will not celebrate President Trump and his view of America. This year, I will not celebrate the Fourth of July.
Brian E. Levy, Baltimore