We don’t do that here anymore

Have you ever taken your shoes to be worked on? Does anyone do that anymore? I remember when fixin’ shoes was cheaper than buyin’.

Of course, back then they were quality made and lasted a long time if cared for properly. I’ve been looking for a brand new pair of blacks and a brown for about a month now. Every where I look they are just not quite right. The pair I am trying to replace is about new but they are worn out with a few holes. I was looking at them and found that a percentage was made in one country – Mexico, another percentage in the European Union and then assembled in China.

I am sure the store that sold them made a profit, as did the various companies who manufactured the pieces. The sad part is after just a couple of years later and I am searching for a new pair. I still have shoes in my closet passed to me by my late father that were worn day after day for years and they are still as strong and shiny as they were when I was a child. I often wear them to dress events. Amazing how they have held up but of course, they were made entirely in the United States and whenever there was a problem, the shoes were taken to the shoe repair shop to strengthen them for a few more years of service.

I have always heard that the only way to avoid repeating the missteps of history is to know history and then use that knowledge to avoid the same fate.

If I understand one underlying reason that the South lost the Civil War, it is that the North held the best hand when it came to industry having a better ability to manufacture and keep manufacturing both the tools of war and those items needed on the home front.

Not having the same ability, the South was doomed to eventually simply run out of supplies.

I have many times heard my mother comment when the neighbors were selling scrap metal bound for Japan before WWII, that her father said that America would get all of it back one day.

It did beginning Dec. 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent battles.

I mention these two examples for two reasons.

Like those selling scrap iron, Americans have often looked to the best deal to make some extra money right now.

Thousands of American businesses benefit financially by sending jobs overseas or over the border, or simply purchasing items they need from foreign producers. I am sure that these decisions are making their bottoms lines more profitable.

Companies are not totally to blame. As consumers, we want the cheapest whether it comes from China, India or wherever rather than purchasing something that will keep an American on the job making something and keeping an American company afloat.

There was a time when almost every component of every item we had in our homes and businesses or used in everyday life was made here in the U.S.A. — every automobile, radio, television, fan, telephone, refrigerator, stove, iron, vacuum cleaner, etc.

Today you would be hard-pressed to find any of these which do not depend on a foreign-produced part to make them work. Of course, some of these manufacturing companies are American in origin but not in loyalty when they choose to build factories elsewhere, reducing America’s industrial might.

I understand that American manufacturing is to the point now that many elements needed to construct even some of our most sensitive military systems now must be manufactured overseas because no one does it here anymore.

That will be the mantra of America in the not so distant future; “No one does it here anymore.”

While this is not so far away, it is simple to see that we did not learn from history. America will one day soon be no longer able to make anything without the industrial machine and labor force of China and other countries.

Now instead of scrap metal, we are sending our cash, boatloads of cash each and every day that Americans flood the stores.

If for some reason America was cut off from the rest of the world, do we have the wherewithal to survive on our own anymore? Can we build or produce what we need for our population? It was not so long ago, just 40-50 years, that the answers to these questions were yes. I would say the answer now is no.

When our factories are dormant, our skilled workers gone from lack of jobs, America may go the way of the South or to paraphrase my grandfather before WWII, America is going to get all those great bargain buys and cheaper jobs thrown back in our faces.

Think about that the next time you go out to shop. Think about that the next time you talk with you senator or congressman. Think about that when you visit the polls this November. If we don’t wake up, my friends, we will all be sold down the river.