Vermont is a poor state where benefits are slight and there is a steady exodus of younger people. It is understandable that a concern of elected officials is to bring employment opportunities to the state. Less understandable is that someone self-identified as a socialist and a sometime critic of the money-bleeding “defense” boondoggle, would be the major mover in bringing production of a weapon of war to Vermont. Socialists are not fans of making war, as they are fully aware who suffers most from the effects of armed conflict. They also realize that the money entailed in funding weapons of war could and should be better spent in providing direct services for people, and in reducing the cost of existing social programs such as education and health care.
This is even more striking when we consider that Senator Sanders was THE mover and motivator in bringing production of the F-35 stealth jet to Vermont, in spite of very active opposition by citizens in Burlington, where the jets are based. Furthermore, the follow-on effect of building this most-expensive of all military jets has been to make it nearly impossible for people to sell their homes in Burlington, where the F-35 is produced. This is due to the high decibel levels generated by the F-35, something protested in vain by residents of that city.
Does this sound like the work of a socialist, a servant of the 99%?
Senator Sanders has a sentimental identification with Eugene V. Debs, but we should recall that Debs served a sentence in a federal penitentiary for his opposition to US entry into World War I, in fact conducting his final run for the Presidency while he was a convict. Senator Sanders appears to have a very different perspective on American wars, and as noted in this article, has had no problem stoking the profitable activities of the “defense” industry. While we do not know whether Debs has rolled over in his grave, we can be reasonably sure that, were he alive today, he would have some pointed words for this Pentagon socialist.
Vote for Sanders if you like, but spare yourself and the rest of us illusions about the him; he is not even the most liberal Democrat in Congress. We need socialism, in place and functioning, to save this planet–and a crucial part of this struggle is stopping the insane expenditure on and proliferation of modern weapons. Senator F-35 does not appear a likely candidate for this crucial undertaking.