Thursday, July 16, 2009

The big empty Slurpie

Years ago when Clinton first got elected there was a guy by the name of Ross Perot who was vehemently opposed to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His famous line was “that giant sucking sound of American jobs headed south”.

Well, quite a bit of time has passed since then and the sound I hear now is the one you get when the cup finally runs dry. The only thing he seems to have failed to predict was that other kid with the much longer straw getting most of the syrup.

I ran across this giant stamping press today being hauled across the border into Mexico. You don’t see much of this anymore like you used to. At one time trucks were lined up at the border with massive machines from America’s chrome age. You’d see all manner of presses, lathes, machining centers etc. making their last journey to the hydraulic graveyard.

Most Americans of working age today have never stood inside a manufacturing plant listening to the rhythmic cadence of stamping presses. There’s a certain awe you feel when a huge die slams shut with enough force to shake your bones through the earth from 1,000 feet away. Like some Nine Inch Nails concert on “11” these things create music in harmony with each other, banging out the chords of a better life under your feet.

Most of them are gone now, sent away across the ocean to be copied and to bring a better life to billions of other people while our own society stagnates and declines. A nation that produces nothing but paper and ethereal ideas eventually comes to have nothing but paper and dreams left.

How appropriate then that this great machine lies on it’s side like some fallen beast in one of the Lord of Rings movies.

The name on the side says "Bliss"

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