Skip to main content

Imported From Detroit



A little over six months ago, I bought my first car. Well, "I bought" is a bit of a misnomer. The UofI Credit Union loaned me some money, and that in-turn was provided to a car dealership. At any rate, it's the first car I've ever owned, which was an important personal milestone. So far, the 2012 Hyundai Elantra (nicknamed 'Lamont,' after The Shadow's alter-ego) has run like a dream.

The search for a car was very eye-opening. I tried to do enough research and test drives to feel as though I was making the right choice. Under consideration were factors such as: reliability, styling, interior space (roominess) and, of course, price. One more aspect to the buying process was that some of my friends were suggesting that I 'buy American.' Not only that, but that I also buy union. Being Democrats, it is important to them to support unions and, apparently, to support the industrial corporations of the U.S.

I was reminded of this situation today on Twitter, when some local Tweeps and I were discussing Chrysler's famous Super Bowl commercial from this year that featured Clint Eastwood growling that "It's halftime in America." It was about as pro-American as a car commercial is likely to get. And it finished with Chryler's latest slogan: Imported From Detroit. A jab at some of the foreign automakers who have dented Detroit's auto reputation that last couple of decades?

The thing is, Chrysler's parent company is Fiat. And Fiat's corporate headquarters is in Italy. Chrysler's CEO is Sergio Marchionne, an Italian gentleman who was recently featured on 60 Minutes, about how he's improved things at both Chrysler and Fiat. Now, I don't care that Marchionne is Italian. Nor do I care that Chrysler is foreign-owned. But what I do care about is the perception that Chrysler is somehow an 'American' company, simply because it's automotive vehicles are manufactured in Detroit.

Hyundai (a South Korean company) has a manufacturing plant in Alabama that my car was built in. Toyota is going to build a plant in Indiana. Volkswagen recently put up a plant in Tennessee so that it could build a more Americanised version of its popular Passat sedan. These are foreign companies, yes, but they are employing thousands upon thousands of Americans. Are they American companies employing Americans? No. But they're still good jobs (if that is important to you).

I dunno. On the one hand, I think that unions are important. I think that the success of American companies is important. But it's also important for folks to have the freedom of choice when it comes to their major purchases -- and a car is a major purchase. In the end, nationalism and unionism should perhaps be factors in the decision-making process, but they shouldn't be the only factors. I'm happy with my little Hyundai.

And it was imported from Alabama, thank you very much.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.