Defending America

The jolly green giant protects us from underfed workers in foreign lands.

The jolly green giant protects us from underfed workers in foreign lands.

A friend went to a great deal of trouble recently trying to find a slow cooker made in America. She failed. She wanted to buy American because she’s concerned about “American jobs getting shipped overseas.”

Whether such a slow cooker exisits I don’t know, but I’m not sure that I feel much sympathy for the American worker.

How many American workers, employed or unemployed, would be willing to pay, let alone be able to pay, what homegrown merchandise would cost?

Alternately, I’m imagining the factory owners of America sitting down with the displaced workers of America and saying, “Okay, we can turn this thing on a dime and here’s how: First off, you’re going to live like people do in competitor countries. Get rid of your big screen TV’s and your pickup trucks and your queen size beds. And while you’re at it, many of you can say goodbye to indoor plumbing, electricity and any notion of ever ‘getting ahead. You’re peasants now. Your ‘rights,’ as you think of them, will be honored at our discretion. (And he continues in this vein for quite some time.) All in favor?”

I read an article today about yet another grossly overweight American airline traveler who complained about being charged extra for his ticket despite the fact that his butt took up 1.5 seats. That’s us in a nutshell, isn’t it?

There are systems at play here, too, I’ll grant. There are the unions, the subsidies, the corrupt corporate and government officials in every country that has two shekels and a child bride to rub together. There are people right here who game the system and people who subvert the system. Maybe the whole darn thing is evil by design, masterminded by “a bunch of old men under a mountain,” as another friend has called them, but the effect is the same regardless.

Our thinking seems to be that, if we’re not winning, the table must be tilted, because Americans don’t lose wars. Not ground wars and not economic wars. It’s every American’s patriotic duty to take up arms, because “they hate our way of life.” Buying American is simply the right thing to do. Gotta love that high moral ground.