Thursday, February 26, 2009

THE MELTING POT

Global Protectionism
Entry Beyond This Point Remains Prohibited.

The Fine Art Of Reindustrializing America’s Dream.



What would happen if every American became a carpenter?


What would happen if our nation’s entire socio-political focus hinged upon the viewpoint of a nation of carpenters? What would happen if American carpenters used nothing but American raw materials, products and tools to reindustrialize our American economy? What would happen if virtually everything that was made in America was made in local shops, sold in local stores, consumed in local communities while the skills required to make all of this happen were taught in local schools as well as national universities?

What would happen if as a result of becoming a nation of 21st century carpenters, everyone else in the world became hopelessly confused? What would happen if as a result of such global confusion our nation re-established its industrial center? What would happen if in finding that center every nation in the world were to come to America and ask with great fascination, just why there are so many men and woman running around in nail aprons and steel toed boots?

Think about this for a minute. I mean, think about this for a very long minute and while you are doing so, think about the nail apron you own that is locked away somewhere in the basement or garage of the home you own. How long has that apron been there? Did your father give it to you or did you buy that apron just after you received your degree in electrical engineering and bought your first home? Even though you became a dentist or a lawyer or a politician or an educator, there is more than a better chance that you do have a nail apron and you do have a pair of old work boots stuffed into some cubby hole that is located either in your home or office or perhaps the trunk of your car.

So, the question is, what would happen if everyone in America took the time to find that apron and those boots and in doing so, also took the time to fill that apron with the home improvement tools that were tucked away with that apron and those boots many years ago?

I’m going to suggest that the moment America does become a nation of carpenters, more than likely the rest of the world will breathe a collective sigh of relief. No longer being victimized by the global spread of the dreaded “Jones Disease”, the world will instead of panicking, become overwhelmingly thankful that the American Jones’ finally went home and in doing so realized that they as Americans had been keeping up with one another for all the wrong reasons for the past fifty years. No longer wanting to suffer the consequences of either Jones Disease or Big Chevy Syndrome and as the inhabitants of the rest of world were quietly polishing the leather of their own nail aprons, all nations were in fact preparing their individual cultures, their industries and their economies for the technological transformation represented by the universally known concept of environmental sustainability.

Not to be confused with issues surrounding the vague concept of global warming, not to be anchored to the equally vague language of environmental stewardship, the universally known concept of environmental sustainability was a conscious and clear headed blueprint designed to transform an overly cloistered 20th century industrial mindset into the much broader industrial mindset of our 21st century. And, yes, retrieving ones long ago forgotten tool belt was indeed a crucial aspect of retooling our nations overly lethargic industrial work force.

In the aftermath of a global economic melt down, America re-adopted its historical hands on approach to American ingenuity and in the process found those nail aprons to be slightly more practical and far more productive than laptop computers. Not that laptops were abandoned, but by picking up the tools that undoubtedly were left to us by our fathers, we began to build the missing links to a new age economy we once thought would only be found if we traveled and invested our greatest national assets abroad. Plugging old fashioned tools into that laptop, using that laptop to facilitate the renovation of the very basements, garages and car trunks those tools were mistakenly tucked into decades before, not only were we becoming a collective nation of carpenters, we were as well becoming a nation of highly evolved industrial artisans fully supported by a vast network of environmentally sustainable technologies.

Indeed, as our penchant for nail aprons grew and word of our inventiveness spread, the trunks of old Chevrolets were transformed as the historical paths we once traveled in those old Chevrolets were re mapped. No longer needing to build bridges to new lands, remodeling the trunks of our cars went hand in hand with dismantling bridges and turning the lands beneath them into fertile regional industrial parks filled with the products we knew were essential to the development of local American economies. Regional airports became far more important than international airports just as regional public transit systems became far more important that interstate highway systems. The development of regional agricultural farming became far more effective than farming to feed the global food bank. As such farming became a fine balance of growing grains for biofuels and growing healthy regional food products for those who lived in that region, both leather nail aprons and laptops became the essential tools of the 21st century American carpenter who had successfully reinvented himself or herself.

In that reinvention process, the obscure nail apron eventually became known as the pouch of 21st century American motherhood. As it held the secret ambitions of the engineer and dentist, it held as well the documents of the lawyer, the policies of the politician and the essays of regional educators all of whom were focused on a single and remarkably transparent national agenda. As that agenda was to nurture the remarkably brilliant inventiveness of our collective 21st century American industrial potential, the nations that once welcomed our departure from their soil began to take notice and of course, as the word spread of our collective national penchant for protecting our own industries on our own soil, leaders from other nations began to wonder why we Americans no longer traveled to Bermuda or France for vacations. As we were so happily and productively engaged in the pouch of our collective American motherhood, we hardly took notice.

Being so busy, being so productive, being so personally and nationally fulfilled now that we had become once again the proud owners of our renewed national creativity, American architects who once traveled abroad for the recognition and profit that came from building fantasy kingdoms for fantasy global governments were instead working out of the trunks of reinvented Chevrolets. Building regional castles of corn silos, solar and wind farms it was discovered that the trunk of the Chevrolet was in the 21st century, just as functional as it was in the 20th century.

As within that function came the pride of ownership of the almost forgotten American nail apron, the American Institute of Architects developed a new blueprint for our nations industrial future. Together with the guys and gals who were busy reinventing the Chevrolet trunk, a new line of car trunks soon sprouted from the dormant factories of American carmakers. As word of the success of these trunks spread, other organizations began to contract with The Big Three. Low and behold, the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association soon found themselves in the business of making and marketing Chevrolet car trunks to the doctors and lawyers who belonged to their once separate but now unified tribes and who had invented new uses for their own highly specific collection of 21st century carpentry tools.

One of the many beneficiaries of this national wedding of separate professional wisdom and insight was the American Lung Association. Long the premier American advocate of breathing fresh air, the ALA combined with the UAW, the AMA and the ABA as well as the EPA came to the conclusion that the notion of air quality had the distinct capability of being redefined and in fact such redefinition was the benchmark from which new industrial momentum flourished. Now that those in America who once suffered from the side effects of smoking and the side affects of breathing within the constraints of diminished environmental air quality and who once lived in American houses filled with stale air had together with the above mentioned tribes, strapped on their nail aprons, the subsequent environmentally sustainable, clean interior air quality residential building boom the NAHB and the U.S. Green Building Council predicted, actually began to happen.

As time went by and within the context of time America was finding itself becoming more and more consciously invested in the development of sustainable industries on its own soil, something else quite remarkable in nature also began to occur. As it had been years since an American had been noticed on foreign soil and our global neighbors were becoming more and more curious as to what it was we as American carpenters were actually up to, people from afar began once again to fill the concourses of our nation’s international airports.
Yet as America had long ago stopped promoting itself as a destination for global travelers and the melting pot that had greeted members of other nations for decades had somehow been left in the dust of the closed kitchens of our forgotten international houses of pancakes, world travelers none the less continued to come. Realizing that regardless of our current fascination with rebuilding our own nation, we were still the Ellis Island for the world, we were faced with finding a solution to the overcrowding of our international airports once again.

Being the inventive bunch that we have always been, and, realizing that our attention and fascination for air travel had for years been shifted to the development of regional airports and flights that took us from neighborhood to neighborhood here in America as opposed to nation to nation flying, we were in a quandary as to how to deal with the remarkable overcrowding of our sleepy international airports. How would America once again turn on the lights of its international terminals, its Ellis Islands and its international houses of pancakes? How would America produce a source of heat that would once again serve the meals of freedom from the melting pots of its remarkably diverse and equally scrumptious menus of ethnic cuisine?

Where in our past, such discussion would be filled with contentious political debate as to whether or not we should involve ourselves in the issues facing other nations, now that we had been so busy productively rebuilding our nation from within and no contention remained, provocative caution did.

Realizing that we were simply being faced with writing yet another chapter in our remarkably storied history of welcoming the people of many nations to our soil, we of course were being challenged this time to define that welcoming gesture anew.

And so, within the terms that stated we as a nation had found a path through our own tangle of 21st century technological riddles and in doing so were able to reclaim not only our own global economic self identity but an appreciation of the fact that our global partners had most likely done the same, the question became – what is an international airport?

The larger question of course was – how do we monitor the revolving door of global commerce that in the past was represented by the traffic that came and went through the concourses of our international airports and in that same past depleted our capacity to sustain ourselves in a global economy?

As we as a nation had long ago installed technology that was capable of seeing inside the luggage of world travelers and we as a result of an awakening of our national pride had collectively become highly skilled American carpenters, we as a nation of carpenters collectively concluded that if the technologically scanned global traveler did not despite his or her desire to enter our country posses within the confines of his or her luggage, a well oiled nail apron – ENTRY BEYOND THIS POINT REMAINS PROHIBITED!


The Blue Collar Industrialist


M. Patrick Dahlke

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