GM’s Larger Context: Are we standing at a collective altar stone?

 Stonehenge altar stone AS AMERICANS, we’re facing: SACRIFICE. Are you willing to sacrifice to recreate GM?
    You may think that’s overly dramatic, but I don’t think so. The unthinkable happened yesterday when GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Now, the U.S. government will invest $30 billion more in GM and become its majority shareholder.
    Sacrifice was a theme in Obama’s explanation of his decision to force GM into bankruptcy: “We saw 400,000 jobs lost in the auto industry in the year before this restructuring even began. I will not pretend the hard times are over. Difficult days lie ahead. More jobs will be lost. More plants will close. More dealerships will shut their doors, and so will many parts suppliers.
    “But I want you to know that what you’re doing is making a sacrifice for the next generation—a sacrifice you may not have chosen to make, but a sacrifice you were nevertheless called to make so that your children and all of our children can grow up in an America that still makes things; that still builds cars; that still strives for a better future.” (View a video or full transcript of Obama’s remarks here.)

Just what does sacrifice mean?
    According to Merriam-Webster, it is:
    1: an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially: the killing of a victim on an altar.
    2: something offered in sacrifice.
    3 a: destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else. 3 b: something given up or lost (the sacrifices made by parents)

    I’m not sure the president meant all three meanings, but the immolation of GM and its (possible) resurrection fits all three: the idea that America as a free market is the victim killed on the altar; our taxpayer dollars are offered in sacrifice; and the old GM has been destroyed for “something else.” What is that? The answer seems murky at best.
    The unspoken truth in all of this is that those who sacrifice and those who benefit from it are often two different groups. Many will sacrifice for GM. Who will be the beneficiaries, and is it worth the cost?

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