By CARL GREEN
Pontoon Beach – Kim Roth – that Take Back America author from Jefferson County, Mo., who made a splash with her book in 2008 – is still out there fighting the good fight, showing people that they indeed can buy American.
Roth and three of her cousins wrote Take Back America: 20 Simple Ways the Average American Can Help in 2007 after an eye-opening and disappointing trip to New York City to attend the Farm Aid concert held there that year.
On the drive home, while listening to a CD of Bill Clinton reading his own book, they hatched the idea of Take Back America and then shared the writing duties, raised money, self-published and made some noise with a media campaign to introduce it.
It could even be called the invention of “Bumper Sticker Publishing” because the authors and their friends sold bumper stickers with pungent comments such as the pro-UAW “What You Drive Drives America” to raise money to publish the book.
ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Well, a few years have passed, and the book isn’t the latest thing any longer, but its ideas and themes are still as current as ever. Chapters cover such topics as voting, education, imigration, taking pride in your work and community involvement. The overall theme is “One Person Can Make a Difference.”
Roth and her co-authors – Angie Shell, Sharon Blackwell and Galena Coleman – were not experienced writers or reporters, but just average working Americans who realized they had something to say and then stepped forward to say it.
Since then, Roth and her husband, Amos Roth, a former Chrysler worker, have been keeping up the good fight by bringing a display of American-made products to events such as rallies, parades, labor meetings and even flea markets. They have been to Washington D.C., Texas, Detroit and other far-flung locations.
Their latest appearance was in Pontoon Beach on Dec. 9 at the annual Christmas dinner of the retiree group Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), Chapter 7-34-2, at the Venice Social Club.
NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK
The Roths set up their table and display of U.S.-made products at the head of the room and gave away one of the books in a drawing.
“It’s to display that there are items you can buy,” Kim Roth said. “It’s not as hard as you think.”
Many of her items are for sale, and they range from manufactured to hand-made. Many are patriotic. Some are the same bumper stickers that helped pay for the book, such as one that says “Take Back America – Boycott ‘Made in China.’ ”
The Roths’ pace has slowed some for financial reasons since the Chrysler plant closed, but her inner fire has not dimmed. She asserts that if everyone would spend $64 out of $400 in Christmas shopping on American-made goods, some 20,000 jobs would be created. Likewise, she notes that every new manufacturing job, on average, creates another 5.9 jobs in support and service work.
As tough as times are, she can find some optimistic signs, such as increases in domestic manufacturing and a wave of new entrepreneurs making products.
“I think it’s gotten better,” she said. “There’s more awareness of it. We can’t just be a service nation.”
The original book “Take Back America” is still available in numerous places on the Internet, including the website of its publishers, www.bookstore.authorhouse.com, which offers it for $13.99 or for $3.99 as an e-book. Prices on E-Bay range from just $1 to $62.84. Also, Kim Roth’s 2010 appearance on KDHX’s Laborvision TV program can still be found on YouTube.