Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Alternative under Thunder over Kablouisville
When insanity reigns, there's only one sensible thing to do: form a coalition. Um, maybe not. But The Peaceful Skies Coalition is sponsoring an alternative party to Thunder on Saturday at Iroquois Park anyway. Hey, what can it hurt? From the news release:

"Since when are bombers and fighter aircraft family entertainment?

A group of local churches and peace and justice organizations is continuing their effort to convince Louisville Metro and the Kentucky Derby Festival to eliminate the flyover of warplanes during Thunder. The KDF has said fighters and bombers flying overhead are "family entertainment."

For whose families?

Not for some in Louisville's growing immigrant communities-Southeast Asians, Bosnians, Sudanese, and others-who have seen warplanes fly over their heads and bomb their towns.

Not for Kentucky's Japanese auto companies and their employees, who were deeply offended by the Tora! Tora! Tora! military reenactment during Thunder seven years ago. A Courier Journal poll then showed the community was evenly divided about that show's appropriateness, and our local Aldermen opposed it.

The key word is "divided". Substantial numbers of long-time residents -veterans and non-veterans alike-rightfully questioned the unnecessary presence and glorification of these symbols of war. Displays of the power of our military weapons are divisive, and politicize Derby.

The Derby Festival committee labels Thunder a patriotic show. We won't have our love of country reduced to a show of military might. We don't equate the greatness of our country with its military firepower. And yes, the fact that it does literally scare refugees and others in our community is worthy of community consideration. And yes, the warplanes only come if three trailers of military recruiters get free space on the Great Lawn Thunder Day."

I salute the organizers for organizing an alternative to the outrageous, creepy, repulsive military display, but there's only one leeetle problem: if you go to Iroquois Park, you're still going to be under Thunder. My advice: get the hell out of dodge, especially if you have young children. If you leave now, you might get far enough away by Saturday that you won't have to suffer the ruckus. Other possible alternatives:

- Wrap your house in bubble wrap and crank up Thomas the Tank Engine to top volume.

- Buy the kids a drum set and pretend the F-16s are part of the performance.

- Use it as a learning experience: "Yes, Mommy's and Daddy's taxes paid for those mean killing machines, but it was only because the bad president forced us to."

- Lie: "Oh, don't worry, sweetie, that's just God bowling."

- Be brutally honest: "They won't bomb us, kids. Those jets are for bombing other kids, in other lands, far away."

- When all else fails, the fetal position can be surprisingly comforting. Also: beer.

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