My name is Josh Miller, I’m a blue-collar worker during the day and an independent filmmaker at night. My passion lies with the “Made in America” movement. Many of you know me as the “Made in USA Guy” and are aware of my documentary film, Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey. All American Clothing Co. has kindly invited me to provide a blog post each month to their website, which I gladly accepted. I’ve got plenty on my mind to share, so here goes the first post.
I travel a decent distance to and from work every day, which gives me quite some time to think about the future. Every morning my mind drifts to thoughts of how my wife and I are going to survive fiscally. We live paycheck to paycheck like most Americans in the new American economy. I glance at my wife’s belly (a little over eight months pregnant), and I’m scared to death and excited at the same time. The scared to death part reaches deep into our parental instinct to ensure we pass on our genes to a new generation and leave that generation better off than ours. I’m also excited to see a combination of myself and my wife’s personality and attributes rolled up into another human being, you find it so hard to believe that the creation of another human being is possible. Protection mode kicks in and you feel like doing less talking and more doing.
This extra energy I’ve felt over the past several months has helped me push myself looking for new opportunities. However, I’ve questioned the very thing we all pursue, the American Dream. First, I think we must define what that means present day. I followed what the education system and society told me to do. Pick out what area you want to study when you’re young, pick a major, and know what it is you want to do with your life. I went through that whole process and fell in line. The only thing that saved me from crushing college debt was the fact that I was a pretty good baseball player, All-American if I may add. I don’t speak much about my accomplishments, but working my butt off since I was a little boy playing America’s game, I thought I would give myself a little shout out. Anyways, I went on and received a Master’s Degree, and I’m now creeping in on 30 years old, I still do what I can just to get by, even thinking about taking on additional side jobs. There is nothing wrong with falling in line, we all have to do it (face realities) at some point in our lives, there is no shame in that, but we have to understand that life is a big chess game and you have to decide when to make your move. My vision of the American Dream requires breaking the mold and playing that game. We must face the reality that momentum is certainly not on the side of the American worker at the moment and is not in favor of the American entrepreneur unless you’re willing to manufacture overseas.
Globalization has opened up America to new markets, but globalization has also crippled American manufacturing because Congress and the White House decided that “making things” isn’t a priority to this country a long time ago. I hear the political rhetoric about “Made in America” all the time during election season, it’s a great crowd pleaser, but at the end of the day is just an empty promise. It may not be in my lifetime, but one day the American people will figure out that they are the butt of a big economic joke. We have spent trillions protecting our physical security as a nation (rightfully so), but at some point we’re going to have to make a stand on our economic security or suffer the consequences. One-way trade agreements continue to erode the middle class and in the long run it will destroy American companies. How can you expect a consumer economy to survive that can’t even put food on the table for their families? We’ve forgotten what built our nation. The unemployment rate has improved, but I’m not convinced that the America of old has returned. I’m disturbed with both sides of the aisle right now, and yes both sides should rightfully accept the blame. I screened my documentary film in Washington DC, not one Congressional leader or Congressional aide showed up for the screening. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one, and I don’t think we’re ready to accept that we’ve fallen behind and are no longer leading the way in this world. I think it’s time we admit that America is at an economic crossroad and a battle for identity.
For the first time in my lifetime, I see America looking to what the rest of the world is doing, but I say our founders didn’t fight and die for our independence just to watch us become like the rest of the world only a couple centuries later. We must get that pride back. The problem is we must decide what type of country we want to be. I think over time we (Americans) have just accepted the status quo and hoped things would get better. Somehow, the issues with our country should solve themselves, right? We don’t vote, we don’t question/challenge, and we don’t seem to care much about anything except for what the next hit TV reality show will be or what the next iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone will look like. I don’t say this to be offensive, I say this as a wakeup call in which I’m including myself.
The answer to our problems? I wish I could take you step by step toward a future with a better outlook, but if we’re to do our republic any justice we must let our people make that decision as it was intended. We have the power and the influence to turn the tides in our favor again and still be able to take part in world affairs. I told you there was nothing wrong with falling in line, but honestly, the few times I felt I’ve made progress in my life was when I took a chance and jumped from the line. I remember when people smirked at me when I told them I was going to produce a documentary film without prior film experience. The same people that smirked at me, later presented me with ideas for new projects and wanted to get involved in my future endeavors. I don’t say that in spite or with sarcasm, it has just helped me develop two certainties in life: (1) success changes minds and (2) at some point in your life breaking out of that line gives you fresh air and new perspectives which may lead to future success. Just a note, success is never guaranteed. Life is full of calculated risks, but you’re smarter and more adaptable than you give yourself credit for.
With that said, I’m prepared to jump out of line and make a move on the chess board in 2015 and decide whether I’ll make a run for Congress in the next election cycle in my home state of West Virginia. My option is the 2nd Congressional District of West Virginia.
I could go my whole life talking to you about “Made in America” and blogging about securing America’s economic future, or I could put my words into action and find out how important YOU think these issues are to our future. America must be what WE wish it to become or we’ll become what the rest of the world wants us to be.
“I have always thought the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” – John Locke