Made in America? You (Should) Wish!

Made in USA v. Made in China

I never really gave the ‘Made in USA’ campaign that much thought. Sure, it seemed a fine idea to buy in-country-made products to help our nation, but it seemed more sentiment than anything to me. I’m not proud to admit this. The point is, I just didn’t really think it all the way through. And that right there is often our biggest problem: We hardly ever know – or seek out – the whole story, the whole truth about anything.

But as I get older, growing into my adulthood and empowering myself to make a positive difference, my eyes are a lot more open than they used to be. Open to, for example, documentaries that make me go, ‘Hmm.’ Or, in some cases, horrify me to the point where I must take action. One such documentary my husband and I just watched was ‘Death by China’. 

First let me say that I try not to be swept away by everything I read or hear, over-reacting in an unproductive way and feeding a frenzied cycle of emotion that’s not based on fact. But what’s fact? When someone says it is? It can be hard to know. And we have to start somewhere when making changes for the better. We have to open up and listen, we have to at least consider what’s being presented. So when something that seems fundamentally wrong fuels a passionate response in me, I do take action. And by action I mostly mean that I alter my behavior so that in the least I do no more harm, and at best, utilize my conscious awareness and ability to act for good.

Now, I think most of us agree that the United States of America is in certain trouble, certainly financially, and most definitely in other areas such as education and government function in general. Do the real movers and shakers in politics  – whoever they may be – really have the people’s best interests at heart? It’s nearly impossible for me to believe looking at the state of our nation and how it trickles down into our communities. So, given this, I can find no harm in doing whatever we can personally to at least not contribute to the decline. How do we do this?

For one, think local, shop local, buy local and invest local whenever possible. Here’s a little exercise to support the ‘Buy Local’ movement. Walk around your home and consider where everything in it came from originally, where it was made or manufactured. Everything from your electronics to appliances to clothes to toiletries to cars to food… Where did each of these come from? I’m pretty sure you will be surprised to find out how few were made or grown in the USA (unless you’re way ahead of me – in which case I say, ‘Right on. Good for you! And do you have any advice?).

Here’s a link to products made in America. Do you recognize many of them? Are some of your favorite brands missing and are you surprised? 

http://abcnews.go.com/images/WN/NEWMMA%20Company%20site%20list.pdf. 

[Also note that not all components used to make these products are made in the US. To find out why this is even an issue, I recommend you see the documentary mentioned above. It may at least get you fired up. And I think that’s a good start].

I won’t go into all the gory details about why buying mostly everything from China is detrimental to each and every one of us, let alone our country and perhaps even globe at large. But buying locally whenever possible helps our communities, the businesses in the them, the people who run them, the people who work there, and the people who breathe, eat and exist in those spaces… and that includes you and me.

Other factors to consider include environmental protection, food safety and nutritional value, safe working conditions and humane treatment, and so on. Most people in our country seem to subscribe to the mantra, ‘If my family and I are doing ok that’s all that matters.’ Maybe without saying it, many of us live like this. But aside from the selfish nature of this, there’s another flaw in it: When the shit does circle the globe and finally hit your fan, you will be ill prepared and the mess all consuming.

All I ask is that you consider how your actions affect other people and the planet, and attempt to become more aware. Aiming to make our individual lives better is a great cause but requires caring about the bigger picture as well. We need each other and we need to find common ground real soon.

p.s. There are a lot of ‘Made in USA’ lists out there, even ‘Made in China’ lists. Do a little research of your own and find the weak spots. For instance, I looked up ‘Blenders made in America’ and found KitchenAid blenders at Overstock.com. The problem is, KitchenAid’s blenders aren’t made in America; only their mixers are. Supposedly anyway. Ignorance may be bliss but we can’t turn back now.

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