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One last DC observation

Toyoda, Toyota: One last DC observation

By STEVE KNOX   Friday, February 26, 2010 – 4:30 a.m.

Wednesday was an interesting day in Washington. Yours truly was experiencing political reality for the first time and Mr. Toyoda was getting grilled on the safety and soundness of his vehicles. Yes, it was an interesting day. One very interesting part was walking from my hotel to the Hill. For a town that is ready to tar and feather Mr. Toyoda they sure do support his company by driving his vehicles – and others in foreign countries.

I made the long walk to the Derksen Building. As I walked I counted the number of vehicles in the parking lot – the number of foreign vehicles. 80 percent were foreign nameplates. While I don’t know the type of vehicles all members of Congress drive one thing is for sure: Washington drives foreign. It wasn’t just that parking lot. It’s the city as a whole.

That’s fine, right? It’s a free market system and they have every right to buy what they want to buy. My issue is don’t talk about jobs, jobs, jobs, chastise Mr. Toyoda in a media spectacle and state how the American worker is suffering…then drive off in your Acura. Conflicting messages folks.

Knox! Honda, Toyota and other foreign companies manufacture in the States and they are made by US workers. True, jobs are created. Eventually though, the trail of money leaves this country and settles in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere. It does not end up in the States where ultimately more jobs, jobs, jobs can be created. Our service industry will not be able to support us. Does anyone in Washington get that?

It’s not just Washington. I’ll sit in a meeting where executives give a sermon on how the American auto industry needs to rebound in order for business to increase. After they speak, they’ll head into the parking lot, jump in their Lexus, and head home. They just lost me.

So, call me a Nationalist, Protectionist, a whatever-ist. Tell me I have blinders on. I’m fine with that. I’m just me. I’ve written about searching for a new car and looking at other nameplates instead of General Motors. I have been looking at all makes and models. Every fiber in my body has been resisting a foreign vehicle. It’s time to listen to my body.

I’ve been conflicted on many fronts lately. This week put many things into perspective. You can either try to be someone you’re not or walk the walk. I’m not going to fool myself any longer. I will walk the walk. It’s time to refocus. I’ll jump in my Spring Hill, Tennessee made Saturn, head to work, and know that I’m going to do what’s right. Right for my family, my community…and for myself. I’ll look in the mirror and know it’s right.

I hope those we elect to Madison and Washington will learn a lesson too.

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