Monday, December 15, 2008

Of birds and bees

I'm sitting at the computer with my granddaughter in my lap. Somehow the next generation down makes me a little reflective about the meaning of life and such things. Here she is, totally self-centered, and we think it's cute. When she doesn't like something she cries and we change it. When she is hungry, tired, wet or angry she cries and we jump to. We coo and make fools of ourselves. Who wouldn't? We would be callous not to.

Recently the Senate rejected pleas by the American auto makers for a financial bail-out. The Senate was ready to offer them the deal on the condition that they bring their pay-scale into line with those of non-American auto makers. They Big 3 refused. So who is to blame? Or are they like my granddaughter, believing that the world still revolves around them?

American auto makers held sway over the world markets for most of the first half of the 20th century. Chevrolet and Ford commanded great respect overseas, and Toyota and Nissan were the cheapies you bought when you didn't have money to buy something good. As the Japanese auto makers improved they began to erode that reputation with better and better automobiles. The American auto makers have had to face this threat for 30 years and more. Somehow they have managed to stay at the table, innovating, and in some cases immitating their foreign competition. That is to be lauded. That is the American entrepreneurial spirit.

But now to insist on special treatment as if to appeal to faded laurels of the past is to return to the heirarchichal systems of Europe that our forefathers fled, it betrays the American spirit and it looks a whole lot like the behavior of my 6-month old granddaughter.

That's not the end of it. Our Executive Branch is poised to pinch-hit for them. The reasoning is valid, in a sense...all the people who will be out of work and the hit the economy would take, etc. They are admitting that there is one sector of the economy that has the rest of us over a barrel. No need for armies to persuade us when the reduction of greenbacks will do the same thing with less backlash. We willingly choose slavery for the sake of bread.

So where is the American spirit? Or is it slowly dying at our own hands?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The UAW seems to be the type of union that gives unions a bad name, which is highly unfortunate.

Then there's the SAG, which has many of it's members saying "this economic climate is a HORRIBLE time to strike, lets not."