Thursday, February 8, 2018

When America Reached For Her Best

General Norman Schwarzkopf salutes Commander-in-Chief George H. W. Bush during 1991 National Victory Celebration Parade honoring coalition forces of Operation Desert Storm
Thirty-three years ago, Ronald Reagan proclaimed during his second inaugural address, “These will be years when Americans have restored their confidence and tradition of progress; when our values of faith, family, work and neighborhood were restated for a modern age; when our economy was finally freed from government's grip; when we made sincere efforts at meaningful arms reduction, rebuilding our defenses, our economy, and developing new technologies and helped preserve peace in a troubled world; when Americans courageously supported the struggle for liberty, self-government, and free enterprise throughout the world and turned the tide of history away from totalitarian darkness and into the warm sunlight of human freedom.”
“My fellow citizens, our nation is poised for greatness. We must do what we know is right and do it with all our might. Let history say of us, ‘These were golden years─when the American Revolution was reborn, when freedom gained new life, when America reached for her best.’"
I am old enough to remember the network evening news reports from 1965 to 1970 which brought the brutality of war and unrelenting criticism of the government into American homes.
CBS anchorman, Walter Cronkite, visited Vietnam in February 1968.  He wanted to see for himself the devastation of the Viet Cong’s Tet Offensive.  What he witnessed shocked him causing him to conclude the Vietnam War was a stalemate; probably unwinnable.  Cronkite’s February 27, 1968 broadcast, “Report from Vietnam”, played a major role in turning Americans against the war and forced Lyndon Johnson to abandon seeking reelection as President of the United States.  Cronkite had turned from hawk to dove.  It was the first time in American history that a war had been declared over by an anchorman.
The media, through Cronkite, paved the way for the Communists’ psychological victory.
The late Peter Braestrup, in his 1977 book, Big Story wrote, "Rarely has contemporary crisis-journalism turned out, in retrospect, to have veered so widely from reality. To have such a defeat for the enemy portrayed also as a major defeat for America, cannot be counted as a triumph for American journalism."
A politicized press speaking the language of news is an instrument of propaganda, and such an institution does not foster democracy, but erodes it.
It is no surprise President Trump’s suggestion of a military parade in our nation’s capital won quick and widespread condemnation from a chorus of his haters. He has effectively tapped into the sense among millions of Americans that pride in the United States is diminishing, not only abroad but at home. Gone are the days of the apology tours of The World’s Most Dangerous Community Organizer.
President Trump understands an appeal to national pride touches a nerve with many Americans and irks the elite conclaves of DC, New York and Los Angeles who are perpetually embarrassed by the greatest nation in the world.
In 1991, President George H. W. Bush convened a National Victory Celebration Parade after America’s win in the Gulf War. And, as Trump is aware, other nations that are not thuggish dictatorships—such as France—have put their military might on display for various occasions, such as Bastille Day. 
Rich Lowry noted in his column at Politico, “Trump was, understandably, impressed in a visit to France last July by the pageantry of the Bastille Day parade. Despite the disdain conservatives have long heaped on France as a country of pansies, it has a storied military tradition and a deep sense of national pride as one the world’s oldest nation-states, one that has always been at the center of Western civilization.”
Lowry continues, “The Pentagon has already floated the idea of a parade on Veterans Day to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, an epic event by any standard. We’re also overdue to honor on a large scale the sacrifice of our troops over the past 15 years in the war on terror.”
“It is true that leaders of Russia, China and North Korea exult in military parades. But it’s not military parades that make these regimes dangerous. The Bastille Day parade and─on a much smaller, quainter scale─Trooping the Colour doesn’t mean France or England are anything like Russia or China, only that the military is recognized as a source of national pride and unity.”
“Meanwhile, on July 14, the Bastille Day parade will likely come off once again without a hitch─as a democratic polity honors the national role of its military, with no nervous breakdowns.”
People only rain on your parade when they're jealous of your sun and disenchanted by their shade.

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