Thursday, January 19, 2017

Parade Controversies

This afternoon, reports surfaced that members of the Trump transition team had inquired about using tanks and missiles as part of tomorrow's inaugural parade.  This immediately caused a media furor, with many pundits suggesting that the use of such heavy military gear in an inaugural parade is somehow outside American norms.

But it isn't.  Past inaugural parades featured both tanks and missiles.

For instance, here's FDR's inaugural parade in 1941, featuring a line of tanks.

Eisenhower had tanks in his inaugural parades in both 1953 and 1957.  His 1957 inaugural parade also featured a giant missile.

JFK also had missiles and tanks in his inaugural parade.

Military iconography has a long-standing tradition in American inaugural parades.  The fact that some disagree with that norm doesn't mean that the norm doesn't exist.  There's a difference between arguing about what current norms should be and arguing that someone is outside existing norms.

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