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The car crazy crowd and the cross they may bear

By       Message Margaret Bassett       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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On Wednesday, November 19,  I posted a QuickLink from the Detroit Free Press, highlighting an editorial from Mitt Romney about "Detroit" when he really should have said The Big Three.  Here is the link I posted from.

I read another story on the front page of my local paper
However, I couldn't post an AP story as a QL because it did not appear on the paper's online edition.  Neither did it show up in the Tennessean  
As I searched I realized that in general our state MSM was not anxious to go sour on current economic conditions as they impact the automotive industry.  

So here is what I can tell you about the article in my local paper, hoping not to step on AP's toes.........
The headline read:

Big Three demise could boost South's automaking.  
Written by Ben Evans from Washington (no original date specified), he explained that Southern politicians have spent years luring foreign automakers to build cars in their states.  Then he rattled off recent plant openings, all of which involved non-American companies:  BMW in South Carolina; Toyota in Mississippi; Mercedes, Hundai and Honda in Alabama; and Kia in Georgia.  Here in Maryville, Nippondenso recently upgraded its operation to become one of the sought-after employers. On the flipside, I hear how stringent the rules are to become permanently employed.   

Personally, what is happening in Washington politics is local with me.  Two families where I have long friendship ties are impacted.  A parts manufacturer is closing down, gradually laying off employees.  One man, with heavy multi-generational obligations, already got his pink slip and chose to go back to two part-time restaurant jobs where he has a long history. The other is a younger married man who is in a job where he will be employed until  the facility is phased  out.
I'm left to contemplate where the culture of NASCAR and NRA is headed.  First hint of change came when Nextel became important to the NASCAR crowd.  As I look to the two families I reference, I see that most everyone is driving non-Big3. Ten years ago, neighborhood banter revolved around Ford or Chevrolet, and which driver won the Daytona 500.  I am blessed with rides from these people and other longtime friends, and seldom do I ride in a Ford or Chevy.  The hippest of the car-crazy crowd like to relate which parts of which cars are--what to call them?--hybrids, meaning one part American and the other part foreign.
Through all issues of "Detroit" or the "new Detroit" (as the article hints at) comes increasingly clear facts that the labor movement and the automobile industry are heading for summitry.  The "right to work" states--permitting the right not to become a member of a union if there be such--has brought this shift automatically southward.  I have no statistics to guide me concerning how this plays out with local voters, who seem not to get excited about NAFTA or what that has done to their jobs.  What I conclude from my experience here at grassroots misery is that Congress is having a hard time making decisions about the "lifeline," as the wire service named it.

It makes me wonder where the Obama administration will settle on a perennial question:  What is the role of labor in corporate success?   

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Margaret Bassett passed away August 21, 2011. She was a treasured member of the editorial team for four years.

Margaret Bassett--OEN editor--is an 89-year old, currently living in senior housing, with a lifelong interest in political philosophy. Bachelors from State University of Iowa (1944) and Masters from Roosevelt University (1975) help to unravel important requirements for modern communication. Early introduction to computer science (1966) trumps them. It's payback time. She's been "entitled" so long she hopes to find some good coming off the keyboard into the lives of those who come after her.

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