In the 20th Century, “Made in the USA” meant something. It meant a product made proudly by a free people, made with quality, made to last.
People in other countries always wanted their American friends to send them a gift for Christmas or birthday that was made in America. Levi jeans were so popular that many an American visiting the Soviet Union would pay for their trip with a suitcase full of Levis that they would sell to eager Russian teens.
What's more, Americans used American-made products. The few specialty items that came from other countries were sold in a little import shop at the mall. For the most part, our dishes, pots and pans, clothing, and electronics were all made right here in the United States.
That pride in manufacture has slowly faded in the 21st Century. There are a couple of reasons.
First, we rewarded our enemies, by building them into economic powerhouses – Germany, Japan, and China have all benefitted by the extraordinary aid and favoritism the United States government has shown them, and they are beginning to dominate the global marketplace.
Then a generation arose that is more concerned with tolerance and entertainment than toughness and excellence.
As soon as these words are published, someone will exclaim, “Not all kids are like that!”
No, not all kids are like that, but 50 years ago the vast majority of our people were hardworking, achieving men and women, with a deep commitment to integrity. Only a tiny minority were given to drinking or drugs or dishonesty.
We did not lock our doors at night.
Now we lock our doors when we're at home in the daytime, and worry about whether that new neighbor across the creek is setting up a meth lab.
American-made products as simple as a mouse trap or an oatmeal box are shoddily made and often defective. Poor quality abounds.
Products in Walmart that 30 years ago were proudly advertised as Made in the USA are now almost invariably made in China – with a few made in Vietnam or Pakistan.
This should not be! This country was founded and populated by adventurers and entrepreneurs from all around the world.
We have a larger and more diverse land mass than almost any other country, with virtually unlimited natural resources and flowing rivers.
By any measure, we should be the best. But instead we have become – in our own thinking – a third-world country.
Integrity and righteousness are the root out of which American success sprouted, and to succeed again, that's where we start.