Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Will Trump Revive this Blast of Past American Greatness?

The president elect made a statement published today about military parades and flyovers that brought to mind images of goose-stepping German troops and rows of Red Square missiles and choreographed Pyongyang multitudes; it also made me wonder if he's going to bring back one of the signature looks of one of his Republican forerunners who tried to install some old-world grandeur at the gates and doors of the White House.

I don't know if Americans under a certain age will remember the immediate reaction to Nixon's Palace Guard uniforms when he introduced them after a European trip in 1970, but they were almost immediately seen as a joke and retired. Americans in those years had a gut reaction to anything that had echoes of faux central-European grandeur and militarism (and toy soldiers and movie ushers and high-school bands). Like Nixon though, I can't help thinking that Donald Trump would look at these gold braids and buttons over double-breasted white tunics topped with gold-encrusted tall black caps and think, Classy! Great! Call Ivanka's best Chinese seamstresses and get them busy!

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