Last month Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) summoned the Smithsonian Museum's top officials into his office and demanded they start selling more "Made in the USA" products in Smithsonian museum gift shops. According to ABC News:
Is there really any difference between imported Chinese pandas in a Smithsonian museum and imported Chinese souvenirs in a museum gift shop?
"After the meeting with Sanders, Smithsonian officials said they would sell more American-made souvenirs and promised to devote one gift shop to American-made products. Sanders said, "It's a start."
However, for some in Congress, it's not good enough. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the top Democrat on the committee that oversees the Smithsonian, said he plans to introduce a bill that would require the Smithsonian to sell only American-made goods."
In February, ABC News featured another news story titled "At Smithsonian, Americana 'Made in China'
", and reported that museums and monuments all over the nation's capital are selling gift and souvenirs, including statues of U.S. Presidents, magnets of the Washington Monument, plates, and even a Barack Obama coffee mug, that are made in China
Suppose in a momentary lapse into protectionist nitwitery we were to take Rep. Rahall's American-made only
legislation for the Smithsonian gift shops seriously. If so, why stop there? Why not then legislate that all of the displays, contents, artwork, artifacts, and animals at every of the 20 Smithsonian properties
be "made in the USA
" as well. And require that all food served at Smithsonian Museum restaurants and cafeterias be "American made
" only. In other words, why restrict the "made in the USA
" policy to just the gift shop and not the entire museum?
For example, the Smithsonian's African Art Museum features only "traditional and contemporary art from the entire continent of Africa" and would have to be closed for being un-American. It violates the "made in the USA" policy. Likewise for the Freer Gallery of Art, which houses one of the "premier collections of Asian art." Un-American. The contents of the National Museum of Natural History would have to go through some serious culling of un-American exhibits that include a stuffed African elephant and exhibits of other African wildlife, exhibits on Egypt, an exhibit on Chinese orchids, etc. Serious violations of the "made in the USA" policy.
And the Smithsonian's National Zoo probably has a higher concentration of foreign animals than any of the Smithsonian museum gift shops have foreign-made Americana. So we'd have to start by getting rid of the Chinese pandas (pictured above), which should be considered as great a threat to Americans as Chinese-made snow domes, baseball caps and statues of Obama in the Zoo gift shop. After all, we have brown bears and black bears that are real "American" bears and why shouldn't those be displayed instead of the Chinese pandas? And then we would replace all of the other foreign animals with patriotic American animals and make it a real NATIONAL Zoo. Right now it's not a "national" zoo at all, it would be more accurate to call it the Smithsonian INTERNATIONAL Zoo, and that's un-American.
Finally, the restaurants at Smithsonian museums should be forced to serve only food "made in America" - none of that un-American coffee grown in Colombia or foreign bananas from Costa Rica.
Obviously, if that all seems like nonsensical nitwitery, it is. But then so is Bernie Sanders' "War on Chinese Bobbleheads."