Joy First: Tammy Baldwin cannot support F-35 program while claiming progressivism

The Capital Times, Sept 12, 2019   JOY FIRST, guest columnist

Sen. Tammy Baldwin has had the support of liberals and progressives in Wisconsin, but over the years she has changed her stance on important issues around war and peace. 

Although she once voted against large military budgets, she is now one of the biggest cheerleaders for the F-35, a military fighter jet that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and she supports it being housed at Truax Field in Madison, even though she knows that the F-35 will greatly contribute to noise, air, and water pollution in Dane County. 


Baldwin cannot vote for billions of dollars for war and claim to be a progressive.

She also knows that each jet costs between $94 and $122 million, plus millions more for operations, and is considered one of the biggest boondoggles our military has ever had. She knows that the U.S. Air Force has released a report on the F-35 saying that there will be “significant disproportionate impacts to low-income and minority populations … as well as children.” And she knows that the F-35 will be used to continue the U.S. wars of aggression abroad, and will bring suffering, death and destruction to hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

She knows all of this, and yet she still supports it because, as she wrote, it will create jobs. It is expected to create 64 jobs in the Madison area for military personnel, but the harmful consequences referred to above far outweigh any small economic advantage. There are many better ways to create jobs, such as working to help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, or manufacturing products to move us forward on the path to renewable energy.

Instead of working to create a better society, the U.S. government has been spending money to increase its military footprint around the world and is currently waging war in at least eight countries in the Middle East and Africa, causing unbelievable suffering, death and destruction to children, women and men. The F-35 will be playing a role in this, along with an increase in the military budget, and an increase in littoral battleships made in Wisconsin — all of which are supported by Baldwin.

When we need her to be a voice of reason in this insanity, she is voting to increase the military budget by $320 billion, working to get the F-35 brought to Madison and working to get more battleships produced.

Sen. Baldwin thinks she can continue her war-mongering ways and still continue to receive support from her constituents. She isolates herself and will not meet with her constituents, who go through proper channels, to discuss these important topics. I, and others, have requested meetings through her website, and have received no response. She does not make herself accessible for questions at public events.

Please call Sen. Baldwin and ask her to stop supporting war and militarism, and to return to her progressive values. If she refuses, I urge everyone to search their conscience and decide whether or not you can vote for her in the next election.

~ Joy First, Ph.D., is a longtime peace activist, regularly engaging in nonviolent civil resistance since 2003. ~