The Olympic Uniform Debate – No Shortage of Hypocrisy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few days (or in the north woods, as I was for three weeks recently) you’ve heard all about the scandal of the uniforms of America’s Olympics team being made 100% in China.  Like others, I was angry at the Olympic committee when I first heard the news.  How dare they? 

But let’s take a step back, for this is just one small symptom of what’s really wrong with America.  Can we really blame the Olympic committee for accepting this donation from Ralph Lauren?  After all, America’s entire olympic effort is funded by donations.  What made-in-America clothing manufacturer is there to make such a donation?  Well, OK, I can actually think of one – Carhartt.  The last time I looked at Ace Hardware, a few (very few) of their items are still made in the U.S.  Now that I think about it, I’d actually prefer to see our Olympic team dressed in Carhartt gear instead of the made-in-China Ralph Lauren crap.  Although, if we limited the team to only made-in-America clothing, they may be practically naked with the exception of a Carhartt coat and perhaps a pair of pants.

But there’s no shortage of hypocrisy among those criticizing the olympic committee, myself included since I, too, have Ralph Lauren stuff hanging in the closet.  But the biggest hypocrite of all is Congress.  As Harry Reid stands before the camera saying that the olympic uniforms should be placed in a pile and burned, I wonder if he’d be willing to remove his clothing and show us the labels?  (Of course, like most senators, his clothing is probably tailor-made, but from imported fabric.) 

There’s no shortage of hypocrisy on the olympic committee either.  In defense of its donation from Ralph Lauren, USOC member Patrick Sandusky had this to say:

We’re proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company…

Give me a break.  An “iconic American company?”  Ralph Lauren is a global corporation that just happens to have been founded by an American.  The company’s only allegiance is to its shareholders, and has no more allegiance to America or Americans than any other global corporation that stocks its shelves with Chinese, Japanese, German or South Korean products. 

And why all the focus on the uniforms?  What about every other product that American olympians use in the course of their training?  Where are they made?  Can anyone identify a single product that was made in the U.S., aside from the food they consume? 

OK, Congress, now that you’re all indignant about the olympic uniforms (now that ABC reporters had the audacity to bring it to light and embarrass you), what are you going to do about what obviously lies at the root of the problem – our trade policy?  The problem isn’t that the olympic team was given made-in-China clothing to wear.  The problem is that it’s only natural when virtually nothing is made in this country any more, thanks to the trade policy you’ve continued to support for decades.  Will this be the impetus for a change, or will you just give us the usual – some bluster and some harumphs in hope that all of this will soon be forgotten, as it probably will. 

Kudos to ABC for continuing to press its “made-in-America” line of reporting. 


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