America’s Independence Day celebration on the National Mall has always been deliberately non-partisan. All presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, have always focused on national pride and bringing people together for that day, regardless of the political climate. But, of course, that isn’t the case with Donald Trump as president.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is handing out tickets to the event to Trump’s 2020 donors. According to one anonymous GOP source, this spectacle will look like something out of a modern dictatorship, not like a 4th of July celebration in the United States of America.
“He’s going to have tanks out there,” the source told HuffPost. “It’s going to be cool. He wants to have a parade like they have in Moscow or China or North Korea.”
This echoes Trump’s infamous request for the Pentagon to give him a military parade, an idea he came up with after attending the Bastille Day parade alongside French President Emmanuel Macron. As comical as many people have found Trump’s narcissistic antics in this direction, experts on fascism see something much darker and more sinister happening here. Ruth Ben-Ghiat of New York University says of the matter:
“He needs to colonize our lives. He needs to colonize our public spaces.”
She went on to characterize the inability of cooler heads to keep Trump from doing some of the most democracy-destroying things as “dismaying,” and said, “The military has been domesticated. I think the will to resist him has evaporated.”
Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen, says of the actions of the RNC with regards to the event:
“This partisan appropriation of a public event is consistent with the record of an administration that has no regard for lines between personal or partisan interests and its public obligations.”
It’s not like anyone is surprised at this development, but it does not make it any less concerning.
Featured image via screen grab/CBS Evening News