Editorial: The Blue Angels should fly away home

There was a time when public displays of technological marvels provided a unique shared experience for large numbers of people who would otherwise never see them.

There was a time when the annual Blue Angels performance during SeaFair was one such display. Providing a thrilling aerial show of tremendous piloting skills, the Blue Angels used to be something worth looking forward to.

That time has clearly passed.

It's not the '50s anymore. People are pretty much accustomed to jet travel and the spectacle of supersonic airplanes. This isn't to say that the planes themselves are not technologically impressive. But the Blue Angels do not provide the same sense of thrill and spectacle they did two generations ago. They've become an anachronism at best and an example of the wrong kind of symbolism at worst.

Given, you know, there's a war on, a showcase performance by war planes is not an appropriate summer activity. Considering that the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan barely affects any Americans not directly involved in them, looking up to the sky to see fighter jets whizzing by in all their glory is highly disingenuous. The planes aren't actually carrying bombs, but their presence is a reminder of the last thing large numbers of people in far away places hear before the explosion.

On another level, soaring fuel prices and global warming also render the Blue Angels an example of indulgent symbolism. Their performance can be seen as giving the finger to genuine and non-extremist environmental concerns.

There's also the noise and traffic issues brought about by the Blue Angels' annual visit. Walking on Broadway over the weekend, and especially during the preceding days when the Blue Angels held practice runs, it felt like Capitol Hill was being strafed. The planes flew incredibly low to the ground and it was impossible not to be startled if not outright scared.

It's worth mentioning the notion of safety. The Blue Angels safety record is thankfully commendable. But if, god forbid, an accident were to occur, the results would be truly catastrophic. It's a small, even miniscule chance. But is it one the city should take?

Summer traditions evolve, and the Blue Angels time has come and gone. It's time for the Blue Angels to fly off into the sunset.[[In-content Ad]]