What goes through your head after a jet fly over, the might of our military or the people on the other side of it?
Has it only been a few short weeks since the Montreal Grand Prix? I went to my first race and sitting here now, it seems like the weekend of June 1st and 2nd was so long ago and yet barely three weeks have gone by.
It was a thrilling experience! Jumping on the metro at Berry with other fans anticipating the thrill of fast cars rushing around circuit Gilles Villeneuve, wondering if there would be impressive displays of driving and spectacular smash ups. You could feel the energy emanating from the passengers on that train as it approached the station with some ready to rip through the doors to get to the track.
As those doors opened, the throng exited the train with briskness, hurried and orderly, thousands of people disembarking from closed metal tubes, marching forth to watch others in metal tubes defy death… indeed possibly to participate in that destruction. It was heady.
Through the gates I went, with nary a check of my bag, which was not a bother; despite the events at the Boston Marathon, I felt apprehensive, but safe, although I did take the time to note that barely anything was checked despite a huge police and security presence. Maybe it was that presence that made me feel wrapped in a blanket of security, bundled and illogically protected.
Approaching the bridge after a short walk, you could hear the noise of engines revving, and the blast of motors cursing the silence with their guttural roars. You knew you were there, and the experience of the year was about to begin. This was day one, and the day did not disappoint.
Day two, the Sunday, was more of the same with double the anticipation, triple the people, and quadruple the noise. Just before the race, we were beckoned to stand and remove our hats, for it was time for the national anthem, “O Canada, our home and native land… we stand on guard.”
At the end, the anthem, a sound smashed the skies and jets whooshed by overhead, thrilling the cloud and drawing audible gasps of “ooh.” Thirty seconds later, more of the same, the sky sounded as though it were being ripped in two as two fighter jets screamed across the sky at low altitude and then abruptly turned upwards in a seeming race to heaven. This time it drew the “aahs,” this bold display of might.
I remember thinking”that is so cool!” Followed by, “that is equally outrageous.” I liked it, it felt good, and it reminded me that despite the calm, orderly, polite, Canadian exit from the rolling metal tin cans, we are warriors. We celebrated war and destruction with our cheers for those jets. It certainly was not the scientific achievement of building them in the minds of the crowd – it was, we can efficiently kill when we need to kill.
I turned to my friend, and mentioned that it’s great that we were beyond thrilled with such a vulgar display of might, that we were entertained, but to keep in mind that elsewhere, where our jets fly, they are not so thrilled when they hear that sound every day.
They do not applaud; they are not thrilled, they are not happy when those big birds fly over their towns, their villages, their countries. They do not embrace our happy thoughts at seeing those jets when death rains from the skies killing their fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, friends, and colleagues.
So day of the Montreal Grand Prix inspired a little thinking, a little thought about political philosophy and the ramifications of how we are so well trained to applaud vulgar displays of power. I must admit, in all fairness that I liked it but felt a twinge of shame at having liked it. Day 2 was fun.