By Joe Knox 11:15 pm PST
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Every Saturday, I make my rounds to the local stores to buy my weekly groceries. Some items I need are at a local store called KTA, a “mom and pop” grocery store, and other items can only be found in places that I dread to go; Walmart and Target.

As I walk into my local Target in the post-covid era, I adjust my mask over my face. I don’t care about catching a virus with a 99% survivability rate, but store policy requires my obedience to purchase the things I need. I struggle to breathe through my mask.

Entering the store also requires that I sanitize my hands. I dispense the slime upon my hands, fighting back my disgust and the questions rattling around my brain; if this stuff kills 99% of germs, doesn’t that mean 1% survives, and continues to grow and spread? An evolutionary bottleneck creating super-bug bacteria?

As I grab my shopping cart, I slyly pull down my mask and breathe  some “free” air. The scent of oppression permeates as I notice hundreds of cameras on the ceiling constantly monitoring every corner of the Target. My local KTA, though they have adopted a similar entrance ritual, is by comparison camera free.

After a short walk, I arrive at my destination, the kitchen section. It is here that I find the items that I was looking for: kitchen accessories and dishes. I need a new frying pan, plates, and cooking utensils.

As I peruse the items I need; I carefully check the back of the items hoping upon hope that I can exercise a profound choice. But It seems to no other availability, but the epitaph of globalization: Made in China. It seems like Target and Walmart are the made in China superstores of the world, and they have monopoly on the items I need here on my small neighborhood.

As I place my items into my shopping cart, in the back of my mind I wonder if I would ever find an SOS letter. Like in the movie “Letter from Masanjia”, a Chinese labor camp. Did some poor soul make my dishes in a labor camp somewhere in China against their will? Communist labor camp, the modern-day union of slave plantation and concentration camp.

I think about my Jewish family members. I think about my Black family members. I think about my WWII hero grandfather who fought the kamikaze, earned various metals including bronze stars, and a purple heart for a massive burn on his arm.

I think that if he were still alive today, he’d be boiling over in rage, and be just about as fed up as I am.

What was it that my grandfather fought for? Liberty and freedom? The chance to raise a family free from the chains of absolutism? They say history repeats itself, and I feel like I’m living in the year 1776. The long-protracted struggle of the American revolution is beginning.