Opinion by Rich Lascelles

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Litchfield Mirror, LCTV, LCM, the Town of Litchfield or it’s elected officials.

My father was not an educated man. In fact he only made it to the eighth grade. But he valued
education and the understanding of the world it brought. I can still hear him saying, “No matter
what they do to you they can never take away your education!” I suppose at least a little bit of
that wisdom soaked in as I became the first and only member of our family to graduate college
although I did not take a direct route. Most of what he learned about the world came from reading the paper. After supper he would
drink another cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette (always an unfiltered Marvel), and read the Pekin
Daily Times, even though it was yesterday’s news. It came through the mail a day late to our
rural tenant farm. I never saw him reading a book except the bible.

We lived on the farm but Dad worked a regular job in Peoria as a butcher. He was a union man
and was the union steward at his “packing house”. I suppose that experience molded his
thinking concerning world affairs.
He always voted Republican and was a big fan of Richard Nixon. He was a fan…… until Nixon
went to China.

At that time, in the late 60s, China was a closed backward society. There was very little trade
going in and out except to Russia, North Korea, and North Viet Nam. Severely ideologically
Communist, most Chinese labored on collective farms, families were limited to one child. That
sort of thing.

But Nixon had a plan. He would open China to western trade and utilize the masses to make
cheap goods and open them up to U.S. exports. Politicians on both sides of the aisle had
theorized that would work but it took a conservative Nixon to get it done.
My dad disagreed vehemently. I can still hear him saying, “They use slave labor and will bury
us under an ocean of cheap shit!”

The founder of Walmart, a man named Sam Walton, believed in selling only “Made in the
U.S.A.” Although Sam has been dead for years, you can still buy his book….

But somehow, his kids did not get the memo. Have you tried buying anything made in the
U.S.A. at Walmart lately?

So the Chinese have been kicking our collective butts ever since “Tricky Dick” had his big idea.
They have reengineered our electronics, cheated on trade deals, and flooded our markets with
cheap stuff. Where will it end? When we can only buy things we HAVE to have from them.
Have you heard they are halting production of many automobiles because of a shortage of
computer chips?

I guess my old man wasn’t so dumb!