Monday, March 22, 2004

Campaign Attire

What does one wear when working on the campaign trail? Whether you are an unpaid volunteer or a high-level campaign operative, you must wear clothing that speaks to your efforts.

Historically, the addition of a campaign button to your outfit was sufficient. Wearing a "re-elect My Candidate" pin on the lapel of your jacket worked perfectly.

Even after the Summer Of Love, when American youth attire plummeted from being stylish and utilitarian to being ridiculously colorful and second-hand, even after Arnold Palmer's mortal sin of convincing our fathers and grandfathers to switch from wool suits to banlon shirts and polyester trousers, the simple act of attaching a campaign button to your clothes spoke volumes about your intentions.

Fashion, like the electoral process, has become increasingly complicated and convoluted. Americans no longer know where their clothes are made, and they are rarely, if ever, made in the USA. Over the past couple of decades, many efforts have been made to expose which designers and manufacturers use slave-labor in third world and developing countries to make their clothes. Some manufacturers and designers have actually made efforts to move their operations or improve the lot of the slaves making their clothes.

In some cases, things are so bad that the United States government has actually banned imports from particular nations because the workers' rights, human rights, and safety violations are so bad that even a scumbag Republican like the current American president can't sleep at night knowing the facts.

One example is the former Burma, now known as Myanmar. The human rights record of Myanmar is so bad that Americans are not allowed to import products made there.

Enter the Spalding Group, who at their website explains they are "the nation's premier provider of printed campaign materials and campaign related products and services, providing expert campaign marketing solutions exclusively to Republican candidates and organizations."

The Spalding Group, being exclusively Republican, obviously sees themselves, as all wealthy Republicans do, as being above the law and immune to prosecutorial retribution. And for good reason! They are supplying the current American president with his campaign attire and if the President can't protect you . . . well, who can?!?!?!?

In these days of branding and logos, he quaint, if sometimes oversized and garish, campaign button isn't sufficient for either a political campaign or the profiteering of scum like The Spalding Group. Now we have an entire line of clothing emblazoned with candidate and campaign logos. Not only are the clothes ugly, of course (and this is true irrespective of the candidate or party affiliation), but they are ludicrously expensive. Visit any candidates online store and you will see that you no longer get a t-shirt for free, but you have to pay for your own lawn signs now!

But I digress . . .

The Spalding Group decided to sell Bush-Cheyney '04 fleece pullovers. A popular item. Problem is, they were made in Myanmar (formerly Burma) which is a nation on our country's banned list. In fact, the ban was signed not by some sneaky Democrat, but by the current American president himself!

This may seem trivial, but it is not. This is exactly the way the Republicans operate. As long as they are making plenty of money, then they are patriots. If they have to break the law a little, well too bad. It's not the Republicans fault that Myanmar workers are paid less than seven cents an hour, and the only people complaining are unAmerican unPatriotic left-wing liberals. No decent American would ever speak-out against this.

And they are correct. We all go around in our Nikes, eating Nestle products, buying CDs from multi-national conglomerates and complaining about our lot in life without taking any responsibility for the state of world affairs.

The Republican party has made a mess of America, and they are convincing consumers that acquisition of money and material is the road to freedom, patriotism and happiness. This is not true and this notion is part of what has taken America on its recent downward spiral.

If you buy Nike, you are part of the problem.

If you buy Nestle, you are part of the problem.

If you vote Republican, you ARE the problem.