Made in the USA No More
Written by Nathan Tabor
Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Olympic Games offer us a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate our American pride. There is, in fact, nothing better than cheering on Team USA through figure skating competitions and other Olympic events. When an American captures a gold medal, and we hear the strains of our national anthem, it can be a truly electrifying moment.

So, you would think that our Olympic team would also want to lend support to American-based businesses. As I was watching the opening Olympic ceremony, I noticed that our athletes had the name “ROOTS” on their clothing. It seemed like an apt name, considering the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and our roots might extend around the globe. However, when I surfed the Internet looking for information about ROOTS, I was disheartened to learn that it is based in Toronto, Canada. Therefore, when Team USA members display their colors, they’re displaying Canadian threads.

In fact, ROOTS is the official outfitter for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, according to the company’s website at . ROOTS has also signed U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medalist Apolo Ohno to be featured in the company’s ads.

Why is the U.S. Olympic team engaging in anti-American practices? With all the clothing companies in the United States, you mean there isn’t one that’s fit to dress our Olympic team? Is it possible that we can lead the world in Olympic medals, yet lag behind other nations in our economic competitiveness?

I believe that many Americans like me are tired of U.S. manufacturers being overlooked. We routinely buy foreign imports and regulate and tax our businesses to death, and then wonder why we’re losing jobs. It’s common sense: if you award a Canadian company a contract to make clothing for U.S. athletes, that means fewer jobs for American workers.

I think that we need to stop waving the white flag of surrender--and begin hoisting the stars and stripes instead. It’s time for Congress and state legislatures around the country to pass legislation mandating that all uniforms worn by soldiers, officers, and Olympic athletes be manufactured in the United States. If we, as taxpayers, are already paying the clothing bills, at least the money we spend can go to American companies where U.S. citizens will do the work.

This is not isolationistic. It’s a pro-America policy. We need to do all we can to build our job base in America, and that includes shoring up our sagging manufacturing base. All it will really take to make America strong and competitive again is the determination and political will to do it.

But what about those who say that we live in a global economy, and that we should be eager to do business with companies in other countries? Certainly, it’s a legitimate question. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be selling our goods to overseas companies. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t go outside our borders to buy goods, when there are plenty of goods to be had right here, in the good old USA.

It’s unfortunate that our political leaders have been lax in addressing this issue. But there’s nothing to prevent ordinary citizens from lobbying their lawmakers to take action. We need to care about this situation. We need to put America first, for the sake of our children and grandchildren. While it is wonderful to win an Olympic competition, it means little if we declare defeat on the economic front. Let’s make sure that America is in our hearts, and that the “made in the USA” label is on our backs--and the backs of our athletes.

About the Writer: Nathan Tabor is a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolia, where he owns a successful small business, and was a recent candidate for Congress. Nathan receives e-mail at