To the editor: President Jimmy Carter recently noted that the United States has enjoyed only 16 years of peace in its 240-plus years as a country, making it “the most warlike nation in the history of the world.” On the day the United States celebrated its 243rd birthday, it was probably appropriate for President Trump to lead a celebration in Washington that featured tanks and war planes.
Many criticized this warlike display as a political show. Maybe it was, but, in reality, this is who we have been and continue to be, a nation perpetually wielding a sword.
If this is our destiny, how many more Fourth of July holidays are there left to celebrate, as we pay tribute to war over and over?
Ken Johnson, Piñon Hills
To the editor: How utterly shameful for Trump to stage such a transparently self-promoting Fourth of July spectacle. His “we are one people” speech took the demagogic cake. Trump avowed that “we all share the same heroes,” as if he and the people who make up his base do not vilify the late Sen. John McCain, whom most other Americans deem a true war hero.
He disingenuously conflated patriotism with religion by proclaiming that “we all were made by the same almighty God.” That pious take ignored how “God” has numerous disparate definitions, and how more than 30 million Americans hold nontheistic beliefs.
Adorning a costly over-the-top parade with affected patriotic rhetoric didn’t help the president’s reelection campaign. Trump’s gala merely confirmed what more and more voters are realizing: His sound bites and photo ops are contrived to divert attention from how his inept, unethical reign is undermining our democracy.
Nancy A. Stone, Santa Monica
To the editor: Watching the Independence Day celebration in Washington, I was reminded of actor Russell Crowe in his role in “Gladiator” looking at a crowd and asking, “Are you not entertained?” while Roman democracy crumbles under an incompetent autocrat.
Trump is a great showman and his performances have captured a huge swath of Americans despite his destruction of the environment, our relationship with traditional allies and our traditional values. In a reality TV era, he is a master manipulator.
Heaven help us.
Barbara H. Bergen, Los Angeles
To the editor: There was nothing to criticize about Trump’s Fourth of July speech reviewing the military history of America. It was quite presidential.
If not for his supposed case of bone spurs that exempted him from the military draft during the Vietnam War, Trump could have made it more personal by noting his own dedication to our armed forces by reviewing his service.
For those of us who did serve, it is good to hear the public reminded of what the American military has contributed to our country.
Charles M. Weisenberg, Beverly Hills
To the editor: Trump’s squandering of millions of dollars to honor himself on July 4 once again demonstrated that he is more concerned about the state of his ego rather than the state of the union. He is a man whose only concern is feeding the bottomless pit of his narcissism at all costs, much to the detriment of our nation.
From Day One of his presidency, Trump’s actions have been driven by self-servitude, greed and the abusive use of authority. The only thing worse than the ineffectiveness of Trump’s leadership is the American people whose silence condones and supports his ineptitude.
Doris K. Reed, Palm Desert