Another crocus pic before they disappear

I get frustrated by things that are out of my control. The discontinuation of my favorite flavor of Extra gum (the bums!). Other drivers. George W. Bush (yes, I can vote for the other guy, but I did that last time and look what happened). Iraq. Iraq. Iraq. And the continuing exodus of jobs from West Michigan.

Opening The Press last night led me to just throw it back down on the table in disgust. Another 800+ jobs moving to Mexico. Whatever. I know there are reasons behind these things. I know companies are supposed to make money in order to stay in business. And I don’t know enough about economics to argue any points that I might have about how unfair this seems to me.

My husband suggests that people agree to pay a premium for American-produced goods to keep the jobs here. A co-worker suggests that the states take things into their own hands and ban the goods produced by the companies that decide to leave. Both ideas have some merit, but they’re not doable. For varying reasons, some due to people’s restricted incomes, others due to the desire for more, people wouldn’t be willing to pay more money for an item to ensure it was made by American workers. I’d consider it. A few of my friends would. But overall? Nope. And states can’t institute bans like that. It would bring up even thornier issues.

My mother lost her job in 2000. She worked for Mead for 28 years before learning three weeks beforehand that the plant was closing and the machinery was being moved to Mexico (sorry, not trying to attack Mexico here). She was 57 years old at the time. You have no idea how difficult it is for older workers to find new jobs until you experience it the way I did. My mom now has a new job at half the wage. And the work is much more grueling. Those details are probably beside the point, but the fact is, I can’t bring myself to buy paper from Mead anymore. I feel that they misled 300+ workers and pitched them off into unemployment without a lot of hope. Like countless other companies. It’s all for the money, of course. Cheaper labor and wages. More profits.

I guess I’m just going to enact my own little singular revolution and begin personal boycotts against companies like Mead. And many of the other companies in our area who have merged, consolidated, downsized, etc. Upjohn was a fixture in Kalamazoo for more than 100 years, merged with Pharmacia and was recently devoured by Pfizer. Many of my friends’ parents lost their jobs during these changes. So I’m adding them to my list too. Also Eureka, Frigidaire and Weedeater — all Electrolux products, a company that’s moving out of Greenville, Michigan, for the greener pastures of another country. (I’m not going to say Mexico again, but it’s true.)

All of this sounds so inconsequential stacked up to what’s happening in Iraq. Today’s headline? Three Americans among 4 civilians killed in Iraq: Residents hang bodies from bridge. Lost jobs. Lost lives. I usually don’t post about this stuff because I feel so helpless. And angry. And sad. But sometimes I just need to vent.