Monday, July 17, 2006

juxtaposition

This past weekend, while we were home for a few days from the lake, we decided to go to our favorite place, the Milwaukee Art Museum, to do a couple things, stay cool and be mentally refreshed as well. As we got closer to our destination, though, we were confronted weith an unusually large amount of traffic and a lot more people milling about than we expected. Obviously there was something going on along Milwaukee's lakefront that we were unprepared for. Apparently there was an air show going on that we didin't know about.

We still made it into the museum without too much trouble and then actually sat down inside the main paviliion and watched a few minutes of the air show from inside. We saw fighter jets of the Air Force Thunderbirds roaring past and doing some amazing flight stunts. I have to admit that I was immpressed by the technology that allows such machines to do those wondrous things and the skill and daring of the pilots to fly like that. But somehow I felt an unease watching those planes from my usually tranquil setting amid the works of art.

I couldn't help thinking that those planes were not really meant to entertain us, but rather to frighten us with the amazing might and power to destroy that they represent. At the same time that I was watching them fly over the lakefront, doing their maneuvers to dazzle the assembled crowd, I kept thinking about those same kind of planes screaming overhead in Lebanon and Israel, the GAza strip and over Iraq and Afghanistan, not to dazzle the crowds below, but too frighten them and terrorize them and destroy them. While those weapons of war scream overhead, the people on the ground scream in terror and seek shelter from the destructive onslaught. The sight of those planes doing their maneuvers can't be the least bit entertaining to those people.

I turned away with a feeling that seemed so out of place in those galleries that house such beauty and usually provide such peace and inspiration. Though we wandered the galleries and soaked in the art, there was a palpable sense of unease the whole time we were there. We returned home with a sense of dread at the world we live in, but thankfull also that we have those planes and pilots to protect us. I only wish that the people in those war torn parts of the world were watching an airshow meant to entertain them instead of watching the arrival of planes meant to destroy them.

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