Monday, January 19, 2009

Can You Spare Some Change

Change is everywhere these days. Battery powered cars are emerging while print media is disappearing. International borders are opening while department stores are closing. Face-to-face sentiments have been replaced by text messages. Most notably, Barack Obama’s inauguration symbolizes cultural and political change as he becomes our nation's 44th president.

Now I’m far from being sentimental. However, I do wish that soda pop still came in glass bottles. Seriously though, change is everywhere. Recently, I saw a vending machine that had an iPod and an iMac as offerings. Select E-5 for a total of $799. Naturally, the machine took Visa and not quarters.

Certain events in recent history such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have changed us. The rise and fall of the stock markets and plummeting real estate prices have changed us too.

Michigan has been no stranger to change. The global shift in manufacturing has thrust change upon us. As the Information Age presses on, the temples of the Industrial Age still cling to the landscape, buying their precious time, naked and cold; Closed chapters of the by-gone era. How about the weather? Even winter just kind of happens one day.

Change is good and I dare say necessary. It gives us an opportunity to revisit our core beliefs and a chance to set a new course for the future. Change is never without shortcomings. However, the pain of change is always far less than the pain of regret. Are we as a state willing to reexamine our core beliefs? Are we willing to change enough to adapt to an evolving state future?

Change starts with the individual and the individuals’ habits. It’s the day-to-day habits. It’s your shopping patterns. Your hard earned dollars act as your ballots. Cast farewell to the institutions that have no roots or a false interest in our community. Bid adieu to companies that make nothing and invest little here. Say goodbye to stores that change the physical landscape, pillage our resources, and take profits across state lines. Michigan made quality is unparalleled. Buying local keeps our neighbors employed, creates stronger community bonds, promotes talent and skills, raises our standard of living and attracts investments that share our values of deep-rooted loyalty, hard work, and commitment to excellence. Speak up and be heard. Demand better for your money. Demand Michigan made. Demand Michigan owned and operated. Abandon the familiar. Drive the extra mile. Spend the extra dollar. Ask the tough questions. Read the labels.

Like it or not, we are each other’s keepers. We started Made in Michigan as an investment in people: From the cherry picker in Northport; to the pine forest lumberjack in Covington; to the line worker in Warren. The resurrection of this great state will be determined by our decisions. Empower your family, neighbors, coworkers, friends, or the person sitting next to you at the doctor’s office to explore this principle. Spend it here and keep it here. Make it the rule not the exception.

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