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Sable’s Dirty Confession

August 16, 2010

Listen to this commentary here.

Confession: I love fighter jets.  Always have.  When I was a little girl I dreamed of joining the United States Air Force so I could spend the rest of my life in the clouds.

That was before one of my older brothers told me women weren’t allowed to fly combat jets- a detail I hadn’t even considered.

It didn’t change my love for jets or the rush that comes from watching them.

Every year the Blue Angels have been a part of Sea Fair, I’ve been there to watch them, usually planted somewhere along the I-90 bridge. It’s a cherished tradition in the Verity house, and we’ll go again this year.

So when I found out Joint Base Lewis McChord was having an air expo this past weekend, there was no question we were going.

Where else can you see jets like the F-18, C-17, the B-2, and the F-86 Saber all fly on the same day, not to mention the P-51, originally flown by the Tuskegee Airmen?

I posted a link to the event on facebook- and the firestorm began.

I was accused of supporting the United States war machine.

Some said the only way they’d go to the base is to take part in anti-war protests. There was also a comment attacking the military for being one of the only places people of color can get a steady paycheck and healthcare in this country.

Still another person demanded that I explain myself and my decision to go.  She wanted to know how I, Sable Verity, a woman of color who writes so eloquently about social justice, could do such a thing.

Okay. Here goes: I like fighter jets.  I like air shows, whether military or civilian- the weekend air expo had a bit of both.

Yes I understand the jets I mentioned are used in war.  However, I don’t think having my picture taken next to a P-51 means I support the war machine- whatever that is- or the killing of innocent people.  It doesn’t mean I’m not committed to justice anywhere injustice rears its head.

I’ll tell you how I express my anti-war sentiments- I vote.  I call and email my elected officials as a measure of providing support so they can do what is right on behalf of our service men and women, even if it may not be popular.  I support- actively support- my friends and family that have served at home or abroad.

No one is going to convince me that my attendance at an air show negates who I am, what I believe, or how I live my life.

If I am guilty of supporting the war machine, then I’d argue anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airliner is guilty of the same thing.  After all, Boeing and Airbus make fighter jets.  What’s more supportive to those companies than paying to travel by air?

Have you ever bought anything invented or manufactured by General Electric? Garbage disposals, stoves, ovens, refrigerators- all made by GE, a company that also makes military jet engines. Check your light bulbs folks, you too, could be supporting a war machine.

My point is this: that I went to an air show doesn’t prove anything; what I do or don’t support, what I do or, don’t believe in, whether I’m moral or have proven myself as someone who is down for the cause.

The all or nothing, with us or against us, false dichotomies we set up for ourselves, and others, have got to go.

If you ever catch me supporting a write-in campaign for Dick Cheney as our Nation’s next president, then you can lecture me about supporting the war machine.

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