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MURPHY: There's help if you want to buy American

Vote With Your Wallet, the local group espousing a "buy-American-to-save America" philosophy, is ready to challenge the nation.

VWYW's founder and president Jason Moss outlined the movement's next steps at a recent fundraising event at Gwinnett Center. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to growing jobs in America through consumer education. It describes itself as a non-political, grass-roots movement that helps Americans save local jobs by changing buying habits. In other words, every time you buy American, you're voting with your wallet. "Consumer dollars are either voting for jobs in America or somewhere else, it is that simple," the organization states.

The fundraising gala featured words from Anglican Bishop the Rev. Foley Beach, Lawrenceville businessman Clyde Strickland, who, along with his wife Sandra, received the first "What Can I Do?" award, and U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall.

In his remarks, Woodall pointed out "there is nothing wrong with America that we didn't do to it." He referenced a citizenry too eager for government handouts and a government more than happy to oblige. "It's been a decade of dependency."

VWYW officials say there is something troubling about shoppers pushing overflowing buggies through crammed mall parking lots while America continues to have such high unemployment.

To help remedy the malady, VWYW has declared June 24 through July 4 the Week of Independence -- when good Americans will make every effort to buy American goods.

Here's VWYW's step-by-step instructions for Independence Week:

1) Review product directory www.USAProductGuide.com

2) Shop at your favorite retail store and buy listed products.

3) Provide the store manager a copy of your "buy American" commitment form found at votewithyourwallet.com.

4) Inform the retailer of your plan to support jobs in America by purchasing products listed on this directory and ask him or her to offer these products.

VWYW plans to make its movement a national challenge via the Internet, social media and any other means to make the cause known.

To some, buy American is a difficult sale. Excuses include price, too hard to find and quality. And remember, we're told the world is flat. So how does making homemade purchases fit into a global economy?

Effective rejoinders can be found in Strickland's book, "What Can I Do? Simple Advice to Change You and Your World."

Probably the biggest hurdle is a lack of awareness of American products. Can you name 10 products manufactured in the state of Georgia? How many people actually check the label or stamp?

Through education and encouragement, Vote With Your Wallet hopes to teach America what's homemade and then shows them why they should buy it. The group predicts consumers soon will find products clearly marked as "Manufactured in Georgia" and "Manufactured in America."

Woodall told those in attendance they are on the right track. "We need to run this country one purchasing decision at a time ... and you will ... and that is the one message I want to share with you tonight. You may not know you have that kind of power, but you do."

J.K. Murphy is the publisher of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Email him at jk.murphy@gwinnettdailypost.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/jkmurphy.