American Freedom, Made In China? Them's Fightin' Words!

Just an ordinary cardboard packing carton, or is it? Let's think inside the box for a change and lay bare the real story of these five incendiary words... and it is indeed a provocative phrase. Think how the government of China would feel if, say, an American music group released an album titled “Chinese Democracy”.

Actually there's no need to wonder: Guns N' Roses did, and the Chinese government reacted predictably stating that the album title “turns its spear point on China.” Are we supposed to turn the other cheek when boxes labeled “American Freedom, Made In China” arrive at American ports? Is it an insult that the money we're paying for the products inside said boxes fattens the bank accounts of Chinese traders who are tickled pink to be tweaking the American Eagle's tail, snickering all the while?

Easy there, pilgrim, nobody's insulting anyone and there's no intention on China's part to “rub it in”, as it were, regarding the chronic outsourcing of manufacturing that's taken place over the past couple of decades. Takes two to tango, too. In any case, back to the case... which if one looks beyond the lettering (and the rhetoric) provides a clue to its true purpose.

See that graphic logo up in the left-hand corner? It reads “Sky Slam” and the script is topped by a pair of rockets zooming upward at diverging angles. A short search of “Sky Slam American Freedom” revealed both the manufacturer and the contents, the latter being American Freedom... not THAT American Freedom, THIS American Freedom:

According to the company website, these are “SKY LANTERNS, American Freedom, 500-GRAM.” Also according to the site, “Skyslam Fireworks owns their own factory in China and we make sure every firecracker is built to the highest International standards. More Pop, More Flash. No one builds firecrackers better then Skyslam.”

Yep, fireworks. China makes most of the world's fireworks, probably because we're tired of seeing our own city blocks erupt in colorful fountains of flame every time the new guy in the mailroom nips out for a smoking break and flicks his ashes in the wrong direction.

We've outsourced these kinds of dangerous production processes (rare earth metal mining & refining comes to mind) to China and other developing nations; the finished products end up being exported (by them) and imported (by us).

Can we blame foreign exporters for trying to cater to our likes? And face it, what do Americans like more than anything else? Freedom, of course! Thus we have the curious situation of a “non-free” nation exporting “freedom” to the one country that champions the concept more than any other. I think that's worth celebrating, don't you? And I know just the thing.