Friday, November 13, 2009

My little friends

I love little piggies. Of all the creatures we had on the farm when I was growing up (a few steers and heifers for beef, 500-600 laying hens, Muscovy ducks, a Guernsey milk cow, a tired Shetland pony, cats, dogs and hogs), the little oinkers we by far my favorite.

Contrary to popular urban myth, they don't like to be dirty. In hot weather they need to stay cool. But clean the pen and provide fresh straw for little feeder pigs, and you can find no more joyful and grateful creatures on earth.

As a group, they would agree on one corner of the pen to do their business in first. When that was thoroughly soiled, they would move to the next and the next. It was a sad day for them when they had to use their remaining sleeping quarters for their bathroom. And when the opportunity finally came for us to clean the whole thing, they would run and play like the happiest kids when school lets out. (That was before video games paralyzed our children.)

We Americans are chronic complainers, I think. And yet, we are the most empowered people on earth in so many ways. We get to choose where we spend our dollars. A week ago I needed some clear tape for shipping cartons and some strapping (filament) tape. I went to the local Fred Meyer grocery/variety. I had my choice between tape made in China, or clear tape from Canada and strapping tape made in the USA. I bought the North American products for several reasons:

1. They were shipped a far shorter distance.
2. They would have been manufactured to higher standards of quality.
3. They would have produced less industrial waste handled more responsibly.
4. They would have been made with cleaner electric power.
5. They would have given somebody on this side of the globe a job.
6. They were more expensive.

You get what you pay for.

Yeah, the label of these little piggy banks says, "Made in China". They are in the grocery store where we buy most of our food. Most of that still comes from here, fortunately.

If I'd gone to Wal Mart, I'm sure I would not have had a choice between North American or Chinese tape.

Save money. Live better. Wal Mart.

Not always. Every choice is a voice. Every dollar is a vote. We're staring a "jobless recovery" in the face. There's no secret trap door for our economy like there is in this Chinese piggy bank.

There will only be jobs for our neighbors nearby when we buy what our nearby neighbors make. When they buy what we make.

Every choice is a voice. Every dollar is a vote for what the world and our country will look like in the future. We have incredible power over those choices.

You get what you pay for.


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