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RED FRIDAY: Capitalism and the Chinese Dream

Maybe instead of “Black Friday,” we should call it “Red Friday” because it’s the day we cast our vote for Xi and his Chinese Dream.

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“You don’t shop at Sam’s Club or Walmart, do you?” my wise friend quizzed.

“Well, not usually.” I shrugged. “But I mean, they’re priced for bulk stuff.” 

“Mmmph,” he grumbled.

It’s important to note that my friend is a respected attorney, committed coach and mentor of young minds, and has been my friend for decades. Although he respects me and my opinions, he’s not “burning for Bernie” and probably disagrees with more than a fair share of what I have to say. But respect and awareness that an opinion is an opinion can keep friendships alive for decades. That point may be important to take into this post-Paris holiday season, too.

“Every time you shop at one of those places, it’s the same as a vote for the Communist Party,” my friend grumbled.

That comment made me think.

I rarely shop at big-box stores because I read Gwenyfar’s “Live Local” columns in encore (see prvious pages, 4-5). I understand the hidden costs of cheap prices at the big-box checkout line include long supply chains, environmental damage, slave labor in other countries, depressed wages, underemployment, unemployment, and castrated collective bargaining power. I hadn’t even considered that another hidden cost is empowering Xi Jinping to make his “Chinese Dream” a reality. Communist China’s dream.

For those whose attention is so focused on radical Islam and the end of days that nothing else matters, Xi is China’s leader, and the “Chinese Dream” is his masterful advertising slogan.

Radical Islam is a problem. Radical Islam is an evil. But back when I was a wee lad, the “War of Terror” was more narrowly and clearly defined as a fight against communism. Heck, the whole Iran hostage crisis in 1979 was probably a communist plot—a bunch of backward religious zealots with borrowed AK-47s surely couldn’t threaten the greatest nation in the history of the world, right?

According to TV preachers throughout the land, godless communism would bring the end of days as prophesied in Revelations. According to politicians, it was the identified enemy of the state. Lots of soldiers with sparkling uniforms and helmets. Lots of tanks. Mean-spirited countries with clear borders, Great Walls and Berlin Walls. And bombs—lots of bombs. Between the freedom-loving USA, Russia and Red China, we stockpiled enough nuclear weaponry to destroy every living thing on the planet 70 x 7 times.

After Reagan tore down the Berlin Wall with his bare hands and reduced Russia to rubble—with his winning smile and “trust but verify” tagline—I guess I forgot about the Red Scare. Freedom and capitalism (redundant terms to some economic zealots) had won the day. After 1989 clearly the real harbinger of the end of days was radical Islam. 

Even with religious zealots raising hell all over creation, after my friend’s strong reminder, I checked in on communist China. In October China posted a trade surplus of $61.6 billion, the largest in its history, meaning it’s shipping out the goods way more than it’s importing them. It is stocking Uncle Sam’s shelves and pocketing the profit. Walmart and other retailers might as well raise a red flag in the parking lot.

China’s GDP is on a slow steady rise as opposed to our capitalist roller coaster. Its middle class is slowly growing. It’s slowly addressing serious human rights issues. Its military isn’t fighting a religion. And it’s actually working on climate change as a real problem.

So, tell me again how Reagan defeated the commies.

The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because that’s the beginning of the time when businesses finally turned a profit for the year. Maybe we should call it Red Friday because it’s the day we cast our vote for Xi and his Chinese Dream.

Maybe we flag-waving capitalist patriots should think about identified enemies of the state differently. Communism, capitalism, Islam, Christianity are all borderless notions that really don’t require a nation. Not even the Marines can kill a borderless idea. Then again, compassion is a serious nationless notion, too.

Ah, that’s too much to think about.

I’m going shopping. 

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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