The Flyovers by the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds are an Insult to Every American.
The orchestrated flyovers of these impressive aircrafts over several major cities in America are but cheap distractions from the devastation that is playing out on the ground below. Or, let me rephrase that, exorbitantly expensive ones.
Each squadron costs at least $60,000 per hour to fly, according to the Washington Post. But the total could run higher since the Pentagon tells CBS News the cost per flying hour for an F-16 is approximately $20,000. Though a Department of Defense official told CBS News that there would be no additional cost to taxpayers since flyovers are already included in the teams’ annual operational budgets. Lucky us.
According to a Post story that broke the news of this plan on April 22, “the mission was conceived by senior military officers in the Pentagon and is meant to be a nonpartisan show of resolve.” A senior military officer said, “it’s one way to acknowledge those who are pitching in.” President Trump dubbed the flyovers “Operation America Strong.”
It’s one way to acknowledge them, and it’s a trivial one.
I can think of countless other ways to tip a hat to those who are pitching in that would bring far more resounding positive impact on their lives.
I’m confused as to how airplanes roaring overhead is going to help any of us amidst the chaos and horror of what is happening down on the ground.
According to the New York Times, the U.S. is seeing at least 25,000 new Coronavirus cases per day, an increase of 2 to 4 percent. There have been more than 1,000 daily deaths for over a month. All as Trump is pressing for states to reopen, despite that the virus has shown no signs of abating. This is while his administration is privately projecting a continuing steady rise of Coronavirus cases and deaths in the coming weeks.
For one billion dollars, General Motors and VenTec Life Systems would have produced tens of thousands of ventilators (as many as 80,000) for those in need. Donald Trump’s response to this in an interview with Sean Hannity: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” he said, a reference to New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appealed for federal help in obtaining them. “You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
Trump and the government have made numerous other massive missteps during this time, all of which have led us to the disastrous state we are in. The failure to store sufficient medical gear in the national arsenal, and now the rejection to fund those who can provide it. Two months of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously “go away on its own.” The refusal to act promptly and close things down to slow the spread of disease. Cutting funding to the World Health Organization. And offering up misinformation such as injecting disinfectant into one’s body as a potential cure, which in reality, can cause death.
But I suppose a collection of impressive jets soaring overhead in “tribute” makes up for all of it. A patriotic, powerful gesture that is going to help us all feel better by leaps and bounds.
What about if instead, the Government took the money they’ve spent on fueling these jets and paying the pilots, and put it toward ventilators for the innumerable hospitals that need them? Or if they sent significant safety net funds to the citizens of this country, over thirty million of whom are now unemployed by no fault of their own? What if they used this money to cover medical treatment for all of those who need it? Or, put it towards ensuring that every citizen of this country has a protective mask to wear? How about if they gave the funds to families struggling with financial hardship? Or used it to pay every citizen’s internet services for two months?
There are countless other ways in which this money could be spent, instead of on flashy jets flying overhead, that would be true rather than trite tributes.