As CEOs from Detroit’s Big Three appealed to Congress for government relief, a friend sent me a link to a short 3 and 1/2 minute piece of video journalism by the Detroit News.
What I found was a compelling story about one of the most sophisticated and efficiently run car manufacturing plants in the world. The automation of assembly and coordination of suppliers was stunning. As I watched it, I felt like I was looking at some dreamer’s vision of the future.
Yet as the video report shows, it is all happening now, in an enormous, high tech auto assembly plant built by Ford Motor Company in an out of the way place of rural Brazil.
As the 3 and 1/2 minutes came to an end, the Detroit News reporter commented that this is the kind of assembly plant that auto execs would like to build in the US if it were not for the resistance of the United Auto Workers Union.
I thought about the irony. While not doubting the historical excesses of organized labor, couldn’t help but remember that much of the country is still talking about the salaries and lifestyle of corporate executives that reminds us of why there is organized labor in the first place.
Admittedly, as a resident of Michigan, the story hits near to home. But it also hits even closer than that. The problem of corporate execs and labor bosses, all trying to protect themselves at the expense of the other, is marked by fingerprints and footprints that look way too much like my own. How can I deny that the story of the current economic mess in Detroit, Wall Street, and Main Street, is also a commentary on my own self-protective, self-indulging human nature.
Yes, in the mirror of auto execs and labor bosses, I see a reflection of my own need– not for justice– but for the undeserved and unlimited grace of our Lord Jesus Christ– for the failures of yesterday…and for the challenges of today and tomorrow.