Every time a mass shooting rocks the United States, Americans demand their government do something. Whether it’s confiscating guns, arming teachers, or turning schools into prisons, neither politicians or the public can agree upon a solution to the ongoing violence, but they know their government should act.
With last month’s Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida, most Americans are consumed with outrage targeted at guns, and conversely, those who want to ban guns. They have largely forgotten about the massive celebration of gun violence — and worse — that their president is planning one in the capital city for later this year.
Last week, the budget details of President Trump’s proposed military parade revealed a cost of between $10 million and $30 million. This is the same military that has, for decades, been abusing, raping, and killing civilians in countries around the world. It’s the same military that fails to adequately punish such egregious offenses. It’s the same military that has inadvertently created breeding grounds for more radicalism that eventually produces further violence, both in the countries the U.S. attacks and on U.S. soil.
Yet as the military repeatedly commits these acts, the public that funds it is not outraged. Rather, they’re outraged that some professional football players choose not to bow to symbols of this violence. They celebrate films that glorify this institution. Even the film industry, which half the country condemns as a hive of liberal scum and villainy, goes out of its way to glorify this militarism, often working directly with the Pentagon to sanitize the empire’s image.
State violence is routinely exalted in American society, whether in the form of brutality from police officers or the heroism of soldiers who excel at murder. But no one can figure out why America is a violent country.
No one seems to notice that a growing number of mass shooters are either former military, were rejected by the military, or enthusiastically admire it.
The gruesome nature of war, the military’s chief responsibility, is out of sight, out of mind, leaving us only with grandiose ceremonies celebrating their propagandized honor — like Trump’s impending military parade.
While some may balk at the cost of Trump’s show of worship for the military, however, the actual costs are far greater. The trillions of dollars Americans now owe for wars that have failed to achieve their stated goals — making the world safe for democracy and stopping threats like communism and terrorism — pale in comparison to the natural consequence of a society glorifying military violence: A parade akin to the rituals performed by the very countries and ideologies the U.S. claims to keep the world safe from.