I observed hundreds of proud patriots — men and women, many longtime residents —- gathered at Crockett’s Barn in response to proposed big changes in military policy.
These patriotic folks — long supportive of our national defense and cohabiting peacefully with our Navy and Prowler jets for as long as the Prowler jets have been around —- have recently become aware of the perilous fallout of decisions made by a “stroke of a pen” far away.
The perilous fallout is “Big Debt:” national economic debt (The Growlers are $67 million per jet? Plus $17,000 per hour to operate?) Regional debt (local destination dollars). Species debt (see orcas, whales). Psychological and physical debt (The numbers and decibel increase. Why louder? With reams of professional studies of children and ddults measuring the harmful effects). Ecological debt (disintegrating biocommunnity). Historical debt (Dissing the sacrifices made by Americans native and immigrant so that America would have this special place cherished by Americans).
How many new jets do we really need in the modern era while resources for better caring for our veterans who have already served is waiting to be addressed.
Regardless of the costs, however, placing all the new proposed Growler jets in one location would make Whidbey Island feel much more like a target —- and, therefore, less safe —- and that would translate into anxieties felt by many members of the population, including children and young people.
It is not, repeat not, our Navy en mass being addressed here —- that would be a disservice to those who protect us —- but the few Navy influencers who still need to hear the community they so proudly serve.
Ebey’s is a biological preserve. It is a rare jewel that people (and marine mammals!) come to from all over, seeking respite from the heavily developed world. Our modern military is charged with protecting it. But the proposed changes will turn our Department of Defense into the Department of Offense. Dropping “bombs” of disregard of ballooning deficits, eating up all the resources..
So naturally, the community is responding “Naturally.” There is a reason that response did not happen with the Prowlers.
Grateful for the right, privilege and responsibility to share an opinion. And grateful for those who protect it.
Blessings for the New Year.
Cherri Ann Forrest