The Things We Make
"As a people we do well when we make good things and not so well when we don’t."
-new Jeep Grand Cherokee commercial
Chrysler seems to have learned this lesson the hard way. As a whole, it appears to be on the recovery from a couple decades of mediocre products. Through the '80s and '80's, this company plagued consumers with short-lived transmissions. It sold cars that looked suspiciously like Mitsubishis and trucks that looked tougher than they were. Its halo vehicles were outlandish styling exercises with underwhelming performance. The PT Prowler was an aggressive-looking hot rod packing an anemic V6. The Crossfire was a rebodied Mercedes SLK, detuned so as not to hurt Mercedes' own sales.
Well, the 300 is now cruising 'hoods all over America, the Challenger is lighting fires in old men's hearts, and even Jeep is somehow making sales with a dumpy little CUV named Patriot. With some branding work, Ram trucks are being differentiated from Dodge cars, and the new 200 might just be able to lose the Sebring stigma. If Chrysler can convince consumers and not just rental fleets to buy a few cars, the company might eventually pay back its debt to the American public and become an asset to its new Italian owner, Fiat.
Regardless of Chrysler's position, it was this statement that punched through a commercial miasma of nationalism and nostalgia in that TV spot I quoted earlier:
"The things we make, make us."
We're created to create. I'm sure that's not how the writer meant it when he penned the commercial, but we derive our identity and not just our national debt from what we make. I don't mean this in the shallow, materialistic sense, where it's implied that "the things we own, make us" (they do, if we let them). I mean that we all have a strong creative impulse. You can say you're not an artist, but you cannot truthfully deny your drive to make something.
I'm about to graduate college and that's all I can really hope for after December. To use my mind and hands and make something good out of this life I've been given.