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“I Hate All You Fucking Liberals!”

 

As thousands of SUVs, trucks, and autos streamed into the former Brunswick Naval Air Station this weekend for the Great State of Maine Air Show, I stood (sat because aching knee waiting for replacement) with maybe two dozen friends to protest the show. Organizers believe their estimates of 40,000 to 50,000 paid viewers will be exceeded this year. The cost to put on this “show” of military might is in excess of $500,000.

Watching this steady stream of traffic from 8:45 am to a little after noon provided time to reflect on many things. While a handful of folks – and children – waved, gave the thumbs-up, or honked their horns, several others expressed their disgust with us by shouting profanities, shaking their heads, and of course, the universally understood middle finger salute. But some shouted out the most troubling slur that is indicative of great swaths of Americans today: “I hate all you fucking liberals.”

As I watched carloads of people enter the base, I wondered how many of these folks managed to pay $40 per adult and $25 for children (under age 3 – free). Drinks and food not allowed meaning concession food was going to be another significant expense. My thoughts drifted to the millions of people who paid $100 to watch “the fight of the century” on pay-per-view TV, and the millions who watched it in sports bars over dinner and drinks. This weekend, with the Red Sox embarrassing themselves once again for the third game in a row, Fenway parked was a sellout. Tickets for today’s game start at $34 for bleacher seats, not including beer, hot dogs, peanuts, Crackerjacks, and parking. And now that NFL football is in full swing with preseason games, most of those stadiums a filled to capacity.

What troubled me most was a long-held belief of mine that most Americans have no idea what is happening to them, their country, and the rest of the world in their name, distracted as they are with bread and circuses. Most, if not all, of the people paying to watch the air show surely believe this is just good, wholesome, family fun and great entertainment. And most, I suspect, believe this over-the-top demonstration of military might assures them that it keeps us safe. I carried a large multi-colored flag with the word Peace that fluttered in the nice breeze. One guy who passed me as he walked into the show said, “Peace through strength, right?” I’m sure that’s what most Americans believe about America’s war machine that has killed untold millions of innocent civilians around the world. So much for spreading peace, security, freedom and democracy to the people in Central and South America, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and countless other places this mighty killing machine has operated since 1798.

No thoughts about America’s 16 year, $5 Trillion lost cause in Afghanistan, nor the trillions of dollars in destroying the ancient cultures and peoples of the Middle East. No thoughts about a national debt that exceeds $20 Trillion. No thoughts about most people in this country living on credit card debt, student debt, mortgages and auto loans. No thoughts about the lack of free health care for all; the outrageous cost of a college education; the lack of jobs, even for people with advanced degrees; no thoughts about our failing infrastructure. And no thoughts about all of the personal freedoms and privacy we have lost since 9/11…all in the name of keeping us safe.

But, in reality, these shows perpetuate a culture of violence.

But the thought that bothered me the most yesterday was watching all of the children enter the show, not to mention the thousands who watched from vantage points along the Old Bath Road. All of this was pretty cool. I mean, those F-18s ($70 million each), F-16s ($17 million each) performing unbelievable, precise, acrobatic, aerial maneuvers. That’s really cool stuff! Poor innocents don’t realize this is all an insidious recruiting tool masked as good, wholesome, family entertainment. Nobody tells them that these “angels” drop bombs that kill kids and families just like theirs every day right now in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria.

As I stood on the busiest corner in downtown Brunswick last Thursday protesting this air show, the Navy Blue Angels (insidious use of the world “angels”) flew low over the town and right down Maine Street, low enough you could see into the cockpit. The roar was deafening, so loud we had to cover our ears. I kept thinking what this terrifying sound means to children in those faraway places where these “angels” of war drop their bombs. Seconds after the roar, they are dead or maimed for life.

Bottom line I thought those of us who protest against wars and injustice have lost the battle. There were no young people with us protesting how their futures are being destroyed. The good news: tens of thousands of show-goers saw us and read our signs and banners. I hope maybe it raised some blood pressure and maybe some conversation.

Photos by Peter Woodruff, Regis Tremblay

Video by Regis Tremblay

Photo of boy “playing” with a machine gun – unknown.

 

 

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Copyright © 2018 Regis Tremblay.