President Trump is being criticized for surrounding himself with tanks, armored vehicles, flyovers, and generals and admirals during his Fourth of July celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Critics say that it was unseemly for the president to be showing off the federal government's military process on Independence Day. Some said it conjured up images of the Soviet Union, when that communist regime would showcase its tanks and military hardware in parades in Moscow's Red Square.
But the fact is that America is a military nation. As Trump pointed out in his Independence Day address, the United States has the most powerful military in history, one that can pulverize any other nation on earth. His critics don't have any problem with that. They just don't want Trump to highlight it.
Of course, it wasn't always that way. In extolling America's position as a military nation, Trump left out something important in his talk: America did not start out as a military nation. In fact, quite the contrary. America was founded as a limited-government republic, not a military nation.
In fact, the people who founded the United States abhorred the concept of a military nation. That's one of the reasons they chose to revolt against their own government, which was a military nation, one whose officials extolled its military prowess, just as Trump does today with America.
It's easy to think of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence as great Americans. They weren't. The reason they weren't was that they weren't Americans. They were British citizens. They were every bit as British as Americans today are Americans.
Americans today praise the signers of the Declaration as patriots. But I will guarantee you that their government didn't consider them to be patriots. They considered them to be terrorists, criminals, and traitors. If the government had won, the rebels would have been long forgotten,
What about the British troops? Not surprisingly, the government exhorted the British colonists to support the troops. They pointed out what Trump pointed out yesterday — that it is the duty of the citizenry to support the troops because they are protecting the nation and the freedom of the citizenry.
And in fact, it has been estimated that about one-third of the British colonists did end up supporting the troops during the Revolution. They sided with their government and cheered the troops as they tried to put down the rebellion by killing the British citizens who were doing the rebelling.
The British revolutionaries, on the other hand, absolutely refused to support the troops. On the contrary, they chose to shoot and kill the troops. They wanted the troops to surrender and return to England so that they could establish their own nation, one that would not be a military nation like the one against which they were rebelling.
So, who were the real patriots — the ones who supported the troops or the ones who shot and killed the troops? In the movie The Patriot, which starred Mel Gibson, the answer was that the patriots were those who are willing to stand up to the wrongdoing of their own government, which sometimes means standing up to the government's troops.