Blue Angels = Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Have I been suckered?

Recently, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors rejected a measure proposed by District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly which would have put an end to the Blue Angels performing over The City as part of the annual Fleet Week celebration. Working downtown, I have seen the planes going by in practice runs from many a rooftop. As a resident of Treasure Island, I looked forward to the the show every year, and have always enjoyed it. However, the proposition of this measure brought to light a point I had never considered. Daly put forth that one of the reasons he would like to see the shows banned is that it causes suffering to veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Well, shit, I never thought of that. I wouldn’t want to cause any one discomfort for something as frivolous as an air show. I’m the youngest in a military family. Both parents served in the navy, and my dad always told me stories about the guys he served with having flash backs. My uncle has cancer from being exposed to Agent Orange. My nephew just got back from Iraq. I’m very sympathetic to veterans. On the band wagon I jumped.

So, last night the subject of the Blue Angels came up with our dinner guests. I was adamant. It’s wrong to disregard the suffering of veterans. I got heated. I decided to write a blog about how we should boycott the celebration.

I began doing a little research to support the blog. I could not find a single veterans’ group on the internet who supported the ban. Only one article from The Chronicle, stating that “several veterans” testified before the Supes. I couldn’t find the names of the veterans who testified, let alone any transcript. I wondered, “is he exploiting the veterans suffering from PTSD to pass the measure, to further some other agenda?”

I don’t think that it’s possible to truly know what the motivation is for what these elected officials propose and pass in our government. It’s disheartening, because I truly believe in democracy, but how can any of us make an informed decisions. Maybe this truly is a problem for the veterans of San Francisco. Or maybe not. How can I tell if I am being suckered? I don’t think there’s any way to be sure.

So the question is, should I just enjoy the show?