Trump’s ‘buy American’ edict is unbearably dumb

May 2, 2017 Originally published on SFGate

You are reading this, we can safely assume, on a device built somewhere in China, with various components sourced from all over the world – lithium and copper from Chile, silicon from Brazil, circuit boards from Taiwan, transistors, resistors, diodes, LEDs, capacitors from China, on and on across dozens of countries, suppliers, economic landscapes. Maybe your device was “designed” in Cupertino, but its guts, and its manufacture, are about as “American” as Trump is articulate.

Your morning coffee? Guatemalan, of course. Or Columbian, Indonesian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Vietnamese or maybe a mix of locales, delivered to your local hipster roaster via assorted multinational distributors and global shipping agencies, served in cups made of American wood pulp but printed with Indian ink and stamped out on machines made in Spain and served by a barista whose dad was Chinese and mom was a Brit and who has traditional Japanese tattoos covering her arms, inked by a Russian dude using needles he had custom-built in Germany.

Of course you already know? Nearly everything you buy, touch, interact with, type on, lust over, have sex with or desperately consume in the modern techno-cultural miasma these days is somehow globally interconnected and interlinked, sourced and traced and labored over in an enormous foreign factory in a town you’ve probably never heard of.

It all makes Old Man Trump’s recent executive order demanding everyone buy American, hire American, eat and drink and kill American not merely as dumb as your redneck uncle bitching about how they don’t make chainsaws like they used to, but also impossible, laughable, dangerous, hurtful and ignorant and obnoxious in increasingly exhaustive turns.

But it’s also, sadly, nothing new. Just another blathering commandment dumped on what is fast becoming a mountain of reeking edicts Trump has spit forth, from walling off Mexico to banning the Islamic faith, bombing “the s—” out of ISIS to declaring the EPA irrelevant because it won’t let excess coal particulate murder your children.

That angry grandpa raging at the TV in the middle of the night, shaking his head at all the terrorist immigrants and conniving bitches? That’s our president. His base still loves him. Because, much like him, they simply do not care. Or read.

Which means they are not at all troubled by the fact that the president of the United States cannot handle the slightest complex idea, system, philosophy; he likes his intelligence briefs written up in crayon on a single, easy-to-read page, he gets his basic information from the least legitimate major news network on the planet, one that specifically tailors its content to monosyllabic 5th-graders.

The president, as he himself is wont to remind us, does not like “lots of words.” He does not care for books, art, science, culture, spirituality, introspection, nature, history, music, design, style, beauty, mathematics, geology, philosophy, biology, humanism, oceanography, journalism, zoology, contemplation, existentialism. His thought patterns appear to resemble a tiny orange fist stabbing angrily at clouds. He is just reaction, grunt and scowl and frown, smashing his nine iron into the lawn like a big orange gorilla of dumb. He is avoided. He is openly shunned. No one wants a photo. No one wishes to be anywhere near him.

Problem is, much like high fructose corn syrup or nuclear fallout, all that excess dumb has gotta go somewhere. And sure enough, Trump’s illiterate, pro-America gibberish could screw over all sorts of American businesses and industries – if it weren’t completely nonsensical and meaningless. As the CATO Institute sighed:

Cordoning off the estimated $1.7 trillion U.S. government procurement market to U.S. suppliers would mean higher price tags, fewer projects funded, and fewer people hired. In today’s globalized economy, where supply chains are transnational and direct investment crosses borders, finding products that meet the U.S.-made definition is no easy task, as many consist of components made in multiple countries. And by precluding foreign suppliers from bidding, any short-term increases in U.S. economic activity and jobs likely would be offset by lost export sales – and the jobs that go with them – on account of copycat protectionism abroad. …

(Do you enjoy the sighing, eye-rolling hint of pathos whenever any well-respected institution like CATO, NASA, the U.N., et al is forced to respond to one of Trump’s idiotic edicts with a serious analysis these days? They have no choice, of course; he’s the president, and what he mutters carries real, often dire ramifications. But every one of these responses reads like a wary adult explaining to a not-very-bright child why his idea for sending a giant robot dragon to blow up Mars probably, you know, won’t work).

“Make America great again!” screamed the demented old billionaire, stabbing his finger at the giant, Chinese-made TV as the vacuous, brightly colored Fox pundits guffawed and squiggled, just before tweeting something incoherent about bombs and then dozing off, alone and wheezing, dreaming of, well, absolutely nothing at all.

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Mark Morford

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