UPDATE: Here is an interview with Noel Hacegaba, Port of Long Beach Deputy Executive Director.
Right wing pundits are up in arms about an article published by the Washington Post that calls on spoiled Americans to lower our expectations of when and where supplies will be available, insisting that the supply chain will eventually catch up and things will get better. Until they do, we just need to get over ourselves and our expectations of everything being available to us on a moment’s notice, and of the shelves in our grocery and other stores being full with needed or wanted items.
I get it. There’s certainly something to be said for patient endurance during a supply chain backup. Not every holiday gift is going to be there when we want it. That’s fine with me. Maybe it’ll give us an opportunity to reflect on what the holidays are supposed to be about other than a lift to the local and national economies (not that that’s a bad thing). Our family doesn’t go to great lengths for Christmas, though I’m not keen on a shortage of bread, milk, and eggs. There are wants, and then there are needs.
Needless to say, just as with every “crisis,” people are attempting to exploit it politically. The right wing pundits are blaming Biden. The left wing pundits are blaming spoiled Americans. I’m not so sure either are to blame, honestly.
According to “experts,” the supply chain is caused by three factors: a labor shortage, the regular holiday surge in purchasing orders, and COVID regulations that require quarantining ships and workers where COVID is present. Nothing nefarious or “manufactured.” The back up started last year and continued to this year, and now with the regular surge in school and holiday purchasing it’s only exacerbated that much more. Will it clear? Yes, eventually. I’m not so sure Biden or anyone, for that matter, can do much about it, except get more people on the docks to unload the cargo off the ships and onto the trucks. But, there seems to be a shortage of truck drivers, too.
I am of the opinion that we could do well with less. In this sense, I agree with the WaPo article. We are spoiled. Years ago, when we lived in Memphis, my wife and I entertained a seminarian from Croatia. We would have him over for dinner, show him around town, visit the historical sites and churches. He was amazed at the wealth of Americans. Everybody has a car! Yes, we can ease up on our expectations and re-assess our definition of wants and needs.
No, “lower your expectations” is not a great campaign slogan, but I’m also of the opinion that our federal government has way too much control over our lives, and that we expect way too much of it. The supply chain backup wasn’t caused by government neglect, and it’s not going to be solved by government oversight. Again, the solution is hiring more workers and time. I don’t know if vaccine mandates are holding up the hiring of dock workers and truckers and, if it is, that’s something that needs to be changed. By and large, though, it’s a matter of logistics. When there is so much to unload and transport, it takes time. When there are only so many hands for the work, it takes more time.
If you can’t get the book or the gift or the item you want right now, it’s likely just a matter of time before it is available. Use that time to consider what’s important.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.