At the beginning of this month, Sen. John McCain made a stop (read ‘gimmick’) in Sturgis, South Dakota in an attempt to energize motorcycle enthusiasts, joking about tire gauges and getting some cheers after making hollow statements like ‘This is my first time here but I recognize that sound. It’s the sound of freedom and thank you for it.’
But the town of Viola, Wisconsin is in no mood to joke or cheer because just last week, S&S Cycle announced that it would be cutting 60 jobs, including 58 from its facility in Viola. The company’s president, Brett Smith, ‘blamed the economic slump for a downturn in sales’ at a time when Sen. McCain believes ‘the fundamentals of our economy are strong.‘
For those who don’t know, S&S Cycle manufactures components and engines for motorcycles; Viola is a small town on the Vernon and Richland County border’among the poorest counties in the state’with a population at less than 700. Having been raised most of my life in Viola, I know firsthand that S&S Cycle is an indispensible and beloved part of the community in Viola, providing employment and visitors to Viola and funding to nearly every project and event in the area.
The failed economic policies of President Bush and Sen. McCain have left Viola and much of Wisconsin employers and employees struggling to stay afloat economically. Good businesses like S&S Cycle are being forced to cut jobs because hardworking Americans no longer have the resources to spend on their products, while a multitude of other companies instead choose to outsource their opportunities.
John McCain needs to explain why he is making jokes and using ironic campaign slogans like ‘America First’ at events like the Sturgis motorcycle rally, while opposing the requirement that the government buy American-made motorcycles and calling buy-American provisions “disgraceful.’ Communities like Viola don’t need jokes, they need jobs.