Topic: "Assembly LineDancing"(4)
Frodo is a reluctant commentator on issues du jour. It has always been his preference to allow the zealots their time-on-air, and to take a longer, more big picture approach to issues that may or may not be as important as they first appear. In the case of the automotive industry, Frodo has truly listened to arguments with credibility, albeit absent anything other than that which permits a medical diagnosis to be similarly based only on the experience of a few isolated cases. Frodo's opinion, it seems, is being formulated in the same manner. Frodo sincerely hopes that if President-Elect Obama should accidentally read these words, then he should understand that Frodo is talking out loud, and not dictating policy.
Frodo's father was in Germany when the European version of World War II ended. Frodo's father returned home in January of 1946, and Frodo drew his first breath as a citizen almost exactly nine months later. From that first moment, Frodo was exposed to the belief that the Great War ended properly because the "sleeping giant" was able to re-tool its' industries into a war machine, and to overwhelm the deficit which planning and preparation by the Axis powers had used to nearly destroy the land which fostered Frodo.
The manufacturing aspect of American industry in 1942 was shaped into the production of tanks, jeeps, airplanes, and machine guns, where only days before there had been bicycles, automobiles, and candy bars. Quite obviously, the automotive assembly lines were an integral part of the final victory over those fascists. So why, Frodo asks, would we run the risk of removing that capacity from our present and future ability to respond and re-tool? Frodo has not satisfactorily answered that question in his own mind, much less in the words of any talking-head.
When the War ended, Frodo's father drove trucks and machines that hauled raw materials into the smelter that truly ended the Great Depression. Today, as Frodo understands the debate, it is argued that the absence of what could be millions of wage-earning jobs would be absorbed by either new technology, or more efficient-industry. Frodo's father, in all candor, did exactly that when he moved Frodo and his family to the larger environment and learned new skills. The difficulty in that comparison is that Frodo's father was not 2.5 million people, and the one job he found does not exist in the volumes potentially required. The result, it seems, would be a lot of hungry people, at least for a period of time.
Frodo believes that Barack Obama is a wise man, who will approach momentous issues with a sense of purpose, as opposed to something merely partisan. Tom Joad, in the mind of Frodo, is standing in the dirt somewhere in Oklahoma, even now, watching a turtle cross the road. Where these two took those who depended on them will be more than one great novel, and it will go beyond sheer endurance and determination. The analogy though, is pretty good.
In a truck it was that the Joad family struck out for California, a truck made in America.