Ever bother to check out the labels in the shirts, pants, other clothing or souvenir item you purchase at a store or at a gallery? More often than not, you will find a "Made In China" label attached.
Nothing against China here, despite our distinct philosophies of government and basic understanding of what defines freedom but this one makes no sense at all.
The United States will be favored to take home the most medals at the Olympic Games in London. Excitement is brewing on a nationwide basis in anticipation of our team's performance. National pride is never higher. Seeing our athletes in the red, white and blue on top of the medal stand, listening to and singing our national anthem, is a source of pride.
Ditto for when our team parades into Olympic Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies, looking sharp, adorned in attractive uniforms--"Made in China."
Seriously. Really? It this was not so ridiculous, it would be funny. Think the Chinese national team will be wearing threads "Made in America?"
In this political season with Democrats and Republicans polarized, unable to agree on anything, they are unified on this issue. What a lain-brained decision this was to outsource uniforms for our Olympic team to a country which regularly pushes the envelope on prohibiting fair trade and American-made products to be marketed and sold in its country.
While the latest national unemployment figures remain at over eight percent, much worse in some parts of the country, we farm out the design and making of the garments our Olympic team wears, not even to a close, trusted ally. Of course, even that (using an ally) would not make sense.
Internationally renowned designer Ralph Lauren was chosen to design the threads. No problem with that here. His credentials are certainly impeccable. His judgment? Maybe not. Guess there is no company in the U.S. that is capable of coming up with attractive duds.
The reaction was swift and quite negative from elected officials. Here is a sampling of the emotion in a story from The Sporting News.
"I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference on taxes.
"If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that's what they should wear," he said, referring to an athletic jersey.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference that she's proud of the nation's Olympic athletes, but "they should be wearing uniforms that are made in America."
"It is not just a label, it's an economic solution," said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. "Today there are 600,000 vacant manufacturing jobs in this country and the Olympic committee is outsourcing the manufacturing of uniforms to China? That is not just outrageous, it's just plain dumb. It is self-defeating."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said simply of the USOC, "You'd think they'd know better."
You would think so. This is not a tough call. In a time where many Americans struggle to make a living, we make our unifying, source of pride uniforms in China. I wonder if Yao Ming's feet have healed sufficiently to consider playing again? Perhaps we can get him a waiver, make him a temporary U.S. citizen and dress him on "Redeem Team 2." They need a true center. Just saying.
Reacting swiftly to predictable and proper criticism, Lauren announced later Friday that the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia will be made, you guessed it, in the good old USA. That is a refreshing, new thought!
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