This year marks the second year that I’ve been abroad for the 4th of July, with last year being on vacation in Peru. This year’s in France, as I’m taking full advantage of my time here before I leave. As I’m writing this, I’m on a train through the south of France, where temperatures have been raging (think 35C/100F and more), but gorgeous all the same.
Being on the road means that I haven’t had the time to read the news. So it really surprised me when my parents messaged me saying that Trump has decided to bring out military tanks to celebrate Independence Day back home (news here). I’m told it was inspired by France’s own military marches for the 14 juillet, and it’s to demonstrate the U.S. military’s power on a global scale. After all, it’s true that we invest billions of dollars in our military, whether we like it or not.
That said, this decision from Trump has caused a lot of controversy (something that’s been happening since 2016, honestly). People have criticized the move by saying that it invokes nationalism, and not necessarily patriotism. Some think that it’s idiotic, since it’s causing road blocks in D.C. and unnecessary money spent by pulling out tanks from their military use and instead used as entertainment. The complaints go on and on.
Hearing about this event, along with everything that’s been happening over the past nearly four years, has given me mixed feelings. Part of me says that it’s grandiose and unnecessary, a waste of money. Another part is indifferent, considering that I’ve been quite physically removed from everything going on since I live abroad. Personally, I don’t find the decision problematic (aside from the money), since there have been worse decisions made before, e.g. the current migrant camps, which are absolutely horrifying.
I’m not a fan of Trump, but I don’t exactly oppose right-wing politics. The two must be separated in order to reflect on what’s been happening in the U.S. these past few years. I think those who are protesting the tanks are protesting for the wrong reasons, or using them as a way to protest other issues going on in the country (rather than just addressing the problem directly). I’m all about free speech, especially when the U.S. press is quite restrictive nowadays (again, shocking), but it’s necessary to get to the root of the problem, for both left and right-winged individuals. That’s why I have a problem with identity politics being a thing among our generation, i.e. Millennials and Gen Z, because we aren’t focused. We all have different agendas, many based on our own selfish purposes, and with that mindset, we can’t progress.
Based on the news and the fact that it’s Independence Day, they have somehow unwoken the political commentator in me. I’m usually highly reluctant to discuss politics, partly because this is primarily a travel/expat blog and also I don’t think I have the authority to say certain things, especially if I’m removed from the situation. Especially with my generation, many whom I grew up with identifying as left-leaning or Democrat, I’m hesitant to admit that I don’t always agree with certain issues they’re for (e.g. social welfare, feminism, etc). But after spending a notable chunk of my early twenties experiencing, researching, and listening, I’ve come to solidify where I stand with such issues and values to feel comfortable to articulate my political views.
This post has turned into a kind of rant that might not make sense to the reader, especially if it’s their first time reading my blog. But I had to get these thoughts off of my chest, as a way to clarify myself, i.e. reflect on my home country and my patriotism (if I have any, that is). I’d like to hear any thoughts you have about the military tanks or anything you’d like to add about U.S. politics…be honest!
Thanks for reading, and I wish you a pleasant day (and celebrations)!