Friday, July 13, 2012

$800 for a blazer...Made in China??

     It's been a while since I've posted anything of substance to the Scribbler.  Maybe it means that the days of this thing are numbered.  A lot going on in the world, but I've chosen not  to opine about it.  The upcoming Presidential election and all the partisan bickering by both sides have made me decide to keep my opinions to myself, lest I either be labeled as Un-American by one side or unenlightened by the other.  So I've stayed away from politics, and all the kerfuffle about what's happened at Penn State re: the fallout from the Sandusky scandal.  I tend to write about the stuff that gets into my head and won't leave until I put it into writing.  And a lot of it has nothing to do with the events of the day.  Lately, I've been putting most of my writing chops into my latest Oh My Goddess! fanfic.
     But the sturm und drang that has erupted recently with the release of the US Olympics team's uniforms has planted itself into my head, and won't go away until I put something down on it. ABC News posted this story about lawmakers who want to have the Ralph Lauren designed, and Chinese made uniforms 'burned.'
     Now, personally, the fact that politicians like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are woofing and hollering with such righteous indignation about the origin of our Olympic teams uniforms is more than a little funny because many of the actions of Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the years have pretty much placed the textile industry in the United States on life support for years, and I'd love to look into their closets and see how of their $1,000+ suits and dresses are made in the good ol' US of A.  This is typical grandstanding and piling on by our elected representatives in an election year, because it makes for cheap political points, and it gets folks all bent out of shape, which makes the media content providers happy.
      And of course, the right will blame Obama because it happened on his watch and because it's a presidential election year, even though we've been getting many of our goods from China while there have been Democratic and Republican presidents occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  When yinz folks go to Wal-Mart to save a buck or two on Pudding-Pops for the kiddies, where do you think Little Joey's Angry Birds T-shirt was made?  I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count.  
     I understand why businesses would rather make their stuff in China.  A business makes money by maximizing their revenue, and minimizing their costs.  And labor is usually the largest cost for any business.  Chinese workers will work for a whole lot less than American ones.  Face facts.  Americans want American workers to make their stuff, but they don't necessarily want to pay the extra premium that American workers will demand.  
    But Pelosi, Reed et al do have a point.  While people won't grumble all that much about Little Joey's Angry Birds T-shirt being made China, anything having to do with the Stars and Stripes will get American's dander up.  The US Olympic team represent the people of the United States of America.  They have sacrificed time,  blood, sweat, and tears, endured career threatening injuries, and unlike most other nations, get no support from the government.  The US Olympic Committee is funded entirely by private funding, including donations from people like you and me.  But they also get funding from corporate sponsorships, and the clothing manufacturers also get to put their logo on the uniforms.  Government does not put one red cent into the funding of the Olympic team.  
     But getting back to my point, these young men and women put all this time and effort out for one wear the colors of their country.  One of the highest forms of patriotism is to represent your country, whether in field of battle or the field of competition.  The least the Olympic committee could have done is to have Ralph Lauren commit to making the uniforms in the United States by American workers.  
     Now, would having the uniforms made in the US, have revived the textile industry in this country? No, it would have been akin to dropping a glass of water into a dried out Lake Michigan.  But it would have shown that the athletic ambassadors of America, who work so hard, and get so little support from the government that Pelosi, Reed et al make their sizable living running, would at least be able to proudly walk out on the Olympic Stadium floor in London in two weeks wearing gear made in this country proudly made by the people whom they will represent in victory and defeat.  

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