As I write this, the Blue Angels are roaring past my bridge, making the windows rattle. I must admit that it’s a spectacular show. If you haven’t seen these Navy fighter jets perform, you may as well. You are paying for them. We all are, in one way or another.
According to this article, these jets cost US taxpayers 35,577,000 dollars a year. That’s quite a bit of cash just to promote the US Navy and make us all feel proud to be Americans. Imagine what an impact that would have on the homelessness or hunger or public education crises in this country.
And let’s not overlook the other, less visible impacts. The approximately 8000 gallons of jet fuel burned during a typical Blue Angels show is creating quite the carbon footprint. And there’s no easy way to calculate how much extra fuel each car in the area has to burn because it has to detour or idle due to traffic snarls caused by these shows. And then there’s the increase in boat traffic as vessels compete for the best view. The noise pollution alone is off the charts, and don’t forget the garbage produced by the crowds. And then there are the terrified pets, and the anxiety suffered by people with PTSD.
I’m not saying that Americans need to live lives of extreme austerity. I just happen to think there are other ways we could celebrate that don’t come with such a high price tag.