On July 4th, 2019, Donald Trump will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting the Salute to America, an hour long speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial and other festivities with fireworks, flyovers, a parade, and much more. Already, people are looking to protest against Trump’s agenda at the event or boycott it all together, which is a reminder of Trump’s inauguration back in 2016.

This Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump plans to host celebrations that the United States never seen before. The National Independence Day Parade will last from 11:45 am until 2:00 pm Easter Pacific Time. Then, Trump will give a speech at The Lincoln Memorial at 6:30 pm which is expected to last an hour. He is calling it a “Salute to America.”

Apparently, there will also be fireworks, tanks, military flyovers, and much more. On the West Lawn of the United States Capitol, at 8:00 pm, there will be a firework celebration followed by the usual fireworks display from the National Mall and other parks in the D.C. area at 9:07 pm. The National Park Service redirected an estimated two point five million dollars for these celebrations, money which is supposed to keep the National Parks of the United States maintained.

Like in the past, the Fourth of July will be filled with counter protests and declarations of the direction where the United States ought to be pointed for the future of its citizens. The protests that are confirmed to take place during the event so far are the Baby Trump balloon often seen in London, though it will be unable to fly, John McCain supporters, and a possible flag burning, an act which Trump has outspokenly opposed.

Already, hashtags such as #BoycottTrump4thOfJuly and #BoycottTrumpJuly4 are trending on Twitter. This year could make many recall his inauguration ceremony where he bragged about having millions of attendees when all the evidence suggested otherwise. Many accused Trump of using this Fourth of July celebration as a bid for his reelection campaign, though he wanted a huge celebration for some time now after admiring military-style events around the world. 

The last time a sitting United States President used the Fourth of July as a political rallying point was Richard Nixon in 1970 and he called it “Honor America Day.” At that event, tear gas was used on anti-war protesters who flooded the event and that tear gas ended up disrupting the non-protesting attendees as well. It was a widely ridiculed event no one wants to relive this year.

Not A “Salute to America”

As tanks rolled across the streets of D.C. last night in preparation for the event, one cannot help but think that Trump is using the message of the Fourth of July incorrectly. Consider the current unstable relationship between the United States and Iran and the possibility of war. Is hosting a military-focused parade surrounded by weapons of war supposed to signal a day of calm and celebration? Most of the time, the Fourth of July is a day honoring veterans of war and remembering those who will never come home. It is to remember the creation of the United States of America, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and those who fought bravely to create one of the world’s great democracies. No one boasts. Instead, as fireworks light up the sky celebrators must remember that what was gained and lost was not in vain. 

Tomorrow, Trump seeks to make the celebration a rallying cry for a country he fractured by winning the election. The ongoing crisis at the United States-Mexico border and the question of impeachment still revolve around Trump’s presidency. His disapproval rating so far is one of the lowest recorded of any sitting president and nationalism is not on the rise as the alt-right would have people believe.

The alt-right got a voice when Donald Trump took to the world stage, but most United States citizens still oppose alt-right ideals and Trump’s agenda. Nationalism is a problem around the world and is not simply a Trumpian phenomenon. Many countries use military-style parades, but the most notable countries on the world stage who still use them are France, Russia, North Korea, and China. 

It may look cool, but the United States is not a country that ever needed to boast about its military capabilities. With a defense spending of $649 billion US dollars, there is no need to brag when the United States spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined, and most are allies. Trump’s need to brag about the United States’ military may be reflective of his own insecurity, may increase the chance of his reelection, may make him happy, may send a message to the world, may boost his ego, and may foster ill will abroad. However, one thing is clear, this is not about the values of the United States of America nor is this spending going to help the United States as a whole in any way. Money that Trump could be spending on Veterans relief programs he is choosing to spend on a campaign based on bolstering a campaign based on propaganda. 

To be clear, this event does not impress anyone except Donald Trump and his Republican allies.

Margaret Valenti

Margaret Valenti is the Editor of Generation Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.