Friday, January 29, 2010

I recently received the below story as a forward from a family member...Because of my own politics and my enjoyment of political banter...I replied all to the e-mail sending what appears after the story to a large number of family members...I share it hear because it amused me...

One Light Bulb at a Time

A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American …Good idea .. . . one light bulb at a time . . . .

Check this out . I can verify this because I was in Lowes the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments .. They were all made in China . The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA . Start looking ..
In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job .. So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track . Let's get behind her!
My grandson likes Hershey's candy . I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.
My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico ... now
I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything ..
This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60 W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets . I was in the lightbulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, "Everyday Value . " I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price .. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio .
So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here…
So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets…yep, you guessed it, Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada . The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA ! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!
My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbors!
If you accept the challenge, pass this on to others in your address book so we can all start buying American, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies! (We should have awakened a decade ago…) Let's get with the program and help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the USA.

Adam's Response...
I love the idea of buying "American" but I'm not passing this on.

My concerns with this approach are that this "call to action" fails to recognize the context of globalization and seems to place the blame of our economic system not on us BUT on the abject other - the Mexican or Chinese factory worker. The factory workers who have produced our goods for us are not to blame as they took up the jobs US Corporations (i.e. GE, GM, Ford) shifted their way because they would work for less than "we" were willing to work for. They, the factory workers, are working, often in in-humane working conditions to, do what we do here in the US, provide for their families. They did not take jobs from the US, their governments in cooperation with our government and the corporation wheeled and dealed so they could get industry and we could get our cheap goods (without the worries of those "pesky unions" that are concerned about the little guy and yes, I recognize that unions are implicated in these issues also)...Those factory workers worked in wretched conditions while we worked on our over-inflated gadgets (my MacBook included) and sat in our clothes they produced for a tiny paycheck.

Simply choosing to buy US goods (without asking what working conditions those good are produced in, as US factory conditions are not always the friendliest either) or arguing that doing so provides our "neighbors" jobs refuses to recognize or denies that doing so also makes the worker "there" (in Mexico or China) to lose their job and potentially no longer be able to provide for their family...perhaps echoing the lines from the musical "Spring Awakening" "that we're fucked alright and all for spite, you can kiss your sorry ass goodbye" because the ways in which labor and capital have been positioned over the last decades has now begun to faulter with no solution to "go back to the ways things were." Not buying from "overseas" companies is rather ludicrous since many of the products listed in this are actually products produced under the name of a US even buying a GE Lightbulb is supporting a US Company that does have employees in the US...and buying Hershey supports a US Corporation that has done some amazing things for schools in Pennsylvania...

So, it seems the situation is that we had no problem (myself included) buying cheap products made from these countries before our economic situation soured. We allowed the corporation and much of "American" life to be privatized because of fear of the "public" (i.e. public health care) and now see those at the complete top (Bank CEOs, Corporate Presidents) still bringing in their paycheck while the "everyday" American is left to fend for themselves (to eat, to pay hospital bills, to go to a movie)...and one response of this "fending" is to rather than blame and revolt against the corporate monster, is to blame the other "everyday" global citizen for taking jobs that we freely allowed our corporations to ship to them. And We could also blame the government for "bailing out" banks but without such a bailout things would, according to many economists been much worse. To me, this seems to say that the "corporation" has become the new monster in the world, overpowering government(s) but utilizing those governments when its system can no longer sustain itself...seen most poignantly perhaps in the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign funding that will shift the very democratic policies of our supposed "Democratic" country.

The questions I ask then, not because I am morally superior as I operate in this same system and am implicated in my own critique or because I am smarter because I am at the upper levels of education, but because I simply like to ask questions. Why place the blame for an economic crisis on the weakest and most abused populations? Who is a good American and why does being a "good" American mean buying goods made in the US...does this not assume that "Americans" are not a multi-cultural and "multi-national" people that cross national borders (and we are from a family that generations ago immigrated to this nation)? Why does all this type of "rhetoric" about buying in the US always focus on China or Mexico...Did grandma in the story instead by Cadbury (made in England) exposing that her concern is not really about where her products are made, but the skin color of those making it?

I don't know. I don't know this grandma...but what I do know is that trying to place the blame on 3rd World Nations for the problems of the 1st World "SuperPower" is weak since it was the 1st World "SuperPower" that got into the business of shady politics and economic dealings. I do know that I live in Michigan and it has been dealing with these issues for a long long time and that I deal with students on a weekly basis who are not sure they can stay in school because of funding cuts to education (but not the military) and their parent's losing their jobs. I do know that the state of US Public Education is rather dim because of these issues and fear the day that public schools give in to the corporation (what happens to knowledge when the corporation decides)? I do know that I don't have good healthcare because I can't afford it and I do know that I haven't been to the dentist in years because "dental" is not covered by my already "weak" health insurance. I do know that these issues are not as simple as "buying" US goods because goods are no longer a "neat and tidy" concept NOR does buying this message address the lack of healthcare for so many, the failing education system allowing children to fall in the cracks, and so many vital issues that cannot be pinned on any "one" population...