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Madison Reacts, As Expected, Over F-35 Jets

September 18, 2019

Madison acted like a caricature of itself on Tuesday night.  Goaded on by a concerted effort from progressive city council members to ramp up the rhetoric and outrage about the almost certain placement of F-35 jets at Truax Field, the faithful adherents to weak-kneed ideas showed up at the Madison City Council meeting to do what Madison does best.  Live a life of privilege on one hand, and take so much of what we have in this nation for granted on the other.

Watching parts of the show, as the eight-hour city council meeting played out, confirmed what many know about our city.  The not-in-my back yard mentality is alive and well.  While many show up at such meetings to lament noise from businesses, or even in one well-reported case several years ago the scent from a smoker used for a barbeque business, the real-life need of the F-35 jets seemed not to enter the consciousness of the complainers. That is why when listening to some of the public discourse it was hard to keep a straight face.  These same people would be cranked over a whole slew of inconveniences.  That is, after all, what happens far too often in our city.  If they had been asked at the podium if they would wish to not pay that part of their taxes which went to the military budget the rest of the story would have been told.

This matter of the F-35 jets is not about noise.  Many will try to spin their narrative about how their grandchildren will be scared– I suspect not since most play very violent video games where a jet taking off is the least dramatic event—when at the heart of the matter is deep disdain about the manufacture and use of the jets.   Madison is very averse to military policy and what is playing out is based on that truth.

That is not to say some residents near Truax are not now concerned about possible issues surrounding the placement of the jets.  But those inflated emotions are due to the over-zealous ramping up of fear and outrage from several alders, then a truly logical and data-driven examination of the issues at hand.  But again, that is what happens in Madison when the loud ones get their platforms.  The distortions can–and often do–run rampant.

We have a duty, as Americans, to the rest of the world.  That is part of the responsibility we carry as living in the United States.  I understand that the civic-minded nature of who we are and what we mean worldwide is not expressed often enough, or pressed in our schools to the degree it should.  But that lack of focus does not make it any less true.

It was stunning to see the lack of awareness about that fact from so many gathered in one large meeting room on Tuesday night.  But then this is Madison.  And this is what too often happens.

Perhaps living in Syria for a while might enlighten the progressive element of the city council.

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