As America’s underpaid, undersupplied, and overworked healthcare workers and first responders struggle to save lives amid the coronavirus pandemic, the government and their corporate allies have been working overtime to hail them as heroes and martyrs.
While such sentiments are well and good, many are puzzled some of the more ostentatious displays of performative appreciation. Today, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbird fighter jets flew in formation over New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as a “tribute” to America’s first responders on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus.
Why the expenditure of $60,000 an hour for a macabre display of imperial might is supposed to make America’s doctors and nurses feel appreciated has never been explained.
What better way is there to let our medical staff, many of whom are facing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in school debt, know that they are appreciated than by taunting them with the things that our nation purchased instead of providing them with universal healthcare or public college?
When hospital workers are taping trashbags to themselves and using homemade masks because the Trump administration encouraged the selling of medical equipment stockpiles right before the pandemic hit, is the scream of killing machines passing overhead supposed to fill them with a sense of duty and resolve?
The president’s daughter took to Twitter to celebrate the airshow but quickly was inundated with complaints that the administration should be focused more on getting our nurses and doctors the safety equipment they need to survive rather than a flyby and some balloons that say HEROES WORK HERE.
How much #PPE could you provide for the price of one Thunderbird? Maybe use the hanger to store them? Asking for thousands of medical professionals saving our lives.
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) April 28, 2020
$60,000 an hour well spent!!!
— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) April 28, 2020
I'd trade the airshow for more testing and more protective equipment for our nurses and Doctors–but that is just me!
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) April 28, 2020
Think they’d prefer a ventilator or two, call me crazy https://t.co/n5wEQkJLKo
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) April 28, 2020
luv 2 militarize everything https://t.co/cIXOnW0nds
— Rachel Klein (@racheleklein) April 28, 2020
I'm sure they prefer that to PPE, ramped-up testing capabilities and mental-health services. https://t.co/b1uSM3QD0J
— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) April 28, 2020
Maybe they could drop a hundred million test kits.
— Jon “Bowzer” Bauman (@JonBowzerBauman) April 28, 2020