Sunday, October 30, 2011

Made in America

In the midst of the usual morning madness to get us both out the door and to our respective destinations on time, my teenager asks "Is WD-40 an American company?" Since the non sequitur is a common occurrence in our conversations, I offer "I'm not really sure; why don't you Google it?" without missing a beat.  And, since focused pursuit of the information in question is also a common occurrence, it takes only a few minutes to hear "I thought so.  It had to be, because Toby Keith sings about it."  And it's a perfect moment.

What's perfect about this moment is the combination of natural curiosity (hers), testing a hypothesis (also hers), and the tracking of seemingly separate thought processes (ours).  My daughter had been listening carefully to the lyrics of Toby Keith's Made in America:

My old man's that old man
Spent his life livin' off the land
Spend a little more in the store for a tag
In the back that says "USA"
He won't buy nothin' that he can't fix
With WD-40 and a Craftsman wrench
He ain't prejudiced, he's just
Made in America
Made in America.  It's a song title, a television series (quite a good one, in fact), a news worthy topic, and a union rallying cry.  Google it and you'll find "about 953,000,000 results."  We talk about it, we write about, we read about it, we debate about it...and we are, as a nation, still fairly clueless about it.

To have products that are made in America--or products made in any country, as it's not just about the country where I happen to live--requires facilities and skilled workers.  And that--the skilled workers--is what's on my mind as a citizen, an educator and a parent.

I can't express it any better than the interview provocatively titled "John Ratzenberger on Why We're Becoming a Third World Country":
The view of most guidance counselors is that if you don't go to college you're a failure.  And it's just not true.  The manual arts have always taken precedence over the fine arts.  There's no exception to that rule.  Michelangelo couldn't have gone to work until someone built that ceiling.
We continue to measure success by the color of our collar. That, too, is made in America.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.