By Doug Halberstadt
Talk about “much ado about nothing.” That’s exactly the way I would sum up the controversy swirling around the U. S. Olympic team’s uniforms. Everyone from John and Jane Doe in Anytown, USA, to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in Washington, D.C., seems to be outraged over the fact this year’s Olympic team uniforms for the opening ceremonies were produced in China.
REALLY? That comes as a big shocker to them? Where have they been the last 45 or more years? Where was the public rage and outcry from our leaders in D.C. when the outsourcing of nearly everything from batteries to tennis shoes was shipped overseas, more specifically, to China? This isn’t something new.
Somehow now that it happens to be the uniforms of America’s pride athletes, it appalls the headline mongers. They are calling for the burning of the Ralph Lauren-designed berets and blazers. This seems a tad bit over the top and insanely reactionary to me.
I don’t recall any nationally sponsored bonfires when millions of Americans suddenly found themselves out of work and at the exact same time millions of Chinese were lacing up a pair of work boots for the first time in their lives. Perhaps had America reacted with the same level of outrage then, we wouldn’t find ourselves so eager to light a match today.
The sadness of the matter is that each and every one of us either wears or uses something produced in China daily. There is no reversing that, no matter how many public speeches, news conferences, congressional proclamations, and conflagrations are called for. That ship has sailed.
If each and every American Olympic athlete did leave the Chinese-produced threads stateside and ended up wearing nothing but good ol’ American cotton T-shirts and jeans during the opening ceremonies, it wouldn’t make an iota of difference. Oh, sure, seeing the Chinese-produced goods go up in a blaze of glory might appease the jingoistic masses, but the fact of the matter is not one single American job would be restored because of it.
I say they should change the uniforms, not necessarily because they were produced in China, but more importantly because what self-respecting athlete wears a coat, tie, blazer and beret in the middle of the summer? Lauren could have done much better; he’s the one who should be out of work!
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the July 18-24, 2012, issue