When Progressives Argue

Donald Trump, most of whose likely voters are the sort of people who act outraged every time a progressive dares to question the saintly perfection of the United States military, or any individual member of that military, has allegedly called fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers.” If he really said it, which I do not doubt, since Trump has probably called everyone outside of his own children a loser and a sucker at some point or other — I remember his remark about John McCain’s years in a prison camp, to the effect that he prefers soldiers who don’t get captured — then this would reveal nothing more than what I have been saying about him for years: He is a knee-jerk progressive at heart, a peace-monger who hates “U.S. aggression,” regards the military as laughable, and wishes America could just get along with the dictators of the world and “end all the wars”; but a peace-monger who, as commander-in-chief, revels in the occasional, almost random display of military might, just to feel cool and impress his audience. In other words, his attitude toward military and defense issues, staged rhetoric aside, is essentially indistinguishable from Barack Obama’s.

In response to this “shocking report” about Trump’s alleged comments, the Democrats, from stick puppet Biden right up to the party’s leaders, CNN and The New York Times, are decrying the president’s disrespect for the military, and his dishonoring of the great heroic men and women and trans persons and non-binaries and undefined individuals and “those in transition” in uniform.

There you have it. Another brilliant effect of the Trump presidency: Democrats are now portraying themselves as pro-military and attacking Republicans for disparaging soldiers. I wonder how the Democratic Party’s base, the genuine hardcore communist revolution types, are going to digest this new approach from their supposed leaders. After all, they have been saying for decades that the U.S. military is evil, all its wars wasteful, and all its fallen heroes “losers and suckers” in the cause of American imperialism. In other words, they would probably be inclined to agree with Trump’s alleged comments, if only he had made them as a Democrat (which, of course, he used to).

For what it’s worth, I have had enough of the phony, hypocritical game of “Gotcha” that constitutes ninety percent of modern electoral politics. I have also had enough of sacrosanct, untouchable collectives, whether those collectives be defined by skin color, “sexual orientation,” or uniform. If a real saint appeared, no one today would recognize him or give a damn. And he would most assuredly be an individual, perhaps almost the definitive case of an individual, and not a collective. Identifying with this or that team does not and cannot place a person beyond criticism. To imagine that it does is to cede one’s liberty, and one’s free mind, in the name of the delusional, cowardly optics of “right-thinking.” 

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