Seattle, Wash. is a long way from Loganville or Grayson. But Mark Bloome of Seattle is hoping a non-profit organization he founded earlier this year will reach all the way from his hometown to Loganville, Grayson and every other part of the U.S.A.
The organization, TAP America, is kicking off a nationwide campaign today to encourage everyone to buy American this Christmas, thereby helping to fuel local economies instead of sending money overseas - particularly to China. Through the organization, Bloome is asking that in lieu of giving gifts made in China this holiday season, people instead give a gym membership, a housecleaning, some rounds at the golf course or local restaurant gift certificates – anything that keeps as much of the money as possible in the community in which it was spent.
“Give a gift of taking the kids or grandkids out for a special day. These experiential gifts will be remembered long after the items manufactured in China fall apart or are forgotten,” Bloome said - and he should know. It’s what he chose to give his twin grandsons for a recent birthday.
“Instead of buying my grandkids a birthday present from China, I took them to an amusement park. When my grandson said, ‘Pa, this was the best day of my life,’ it stuck in my heart. I wanted to do something special for them. I could have brought them both a bicycle, but bicycles come and go - there will always be bicycles. But we will always be able to talk about the day at the amusement park and when it was the best day of their life.”
TAP stands for Tolerance, Americanism and Patriotism – all things that Bloome said he is passionate about. As a global investor, Bloome said he is very aware of the impact China has had on the local economy. It was this knowledge that prompted him to launch TAP America at the beginning of the year.
TAP America is dedicated to "strengthening America and its citizens." It has declared December 2011 as “Buy American Month,” just in time for the holiday shopping season. The belief of TAP America is that the U.S. economy is suffering at the hands of the Chinese government due to its aggressive manufacturing practices.
“The only way to re-establish economic vitality is for American citizens to boycott products made in China and buy American, thereby sending a message to corporations and manufacturers that people value American workers, jobs and innovation,” Bloome said. “The jobs and country we save will be our own. We want to start a conversation about this in every community in the country.”
Bloome said TAP America is completely non-partisan. He believes neither political party nor Wall Street and other corporate executives can do what every day Americans collectively can do to help repair the economy.
“We are truly the masters of our own fate here,” Bloome said.
Richard Tso, executive director of TAP American and himself a first generation Chinese American, said they realize it will not be an easy task.
“Today most all electronic, clothing and textile goods are manufactured in China and popular American companies like Apple, REI, Walmart, and GAP are sending manufacturing jobs overseas in order to achieve short-term revenue gains,” Tso said. “We need to make the USA strong again to keep the light of liberty burning bright. That means first we must have a strong American economy, support small businesses and put Americans back to work. To do this we must take individual responsibility as a collective because up until now, politicians on either side have been unable to provide the answers we need to get our economy moving again.”
Information about the Buy America project of TAP can be found at http://www.tapamerica.org.