Sadly, too many Americans have a problem with this concept. Some are certainly smirking over the irony that the GM-Nissan-Renault deal proposed by GM's largest single shareholder, Kirk Kerkorian, would come to light over the Fourth of July weekend, when flag-waving patriotism is at its peak. A Detroit Free Press columnist sums up how many feel about the deal: "...foreign automakers have steadily chipped away at this lucrative market, selling vehicles while GM was supporting retirees. Now we're supposed to set a place at the table for these folks who have been eating our lunch?"
True, any such deal could take some of the American out of GM. It could cause a power shift that leads to even more cost cuts and more Michigan layoffs and sap some control from GM executives who truly care about the company's roots. But if this deal falls through, please let it be because the risks to the business outweigh the possible benefits. Xenophobia and the desire to be a 100%-true-blooded American company can't be the strategies in this game.
Detroit's automakers have to be smart and innovative about how they're going to survive in the global economy, and not clutch to the ideals of a 20th Century American company. To be truly American is to understand that success isn't possible without risk, innovation, willingness to change, and even some pain. To let fear of change play a role in the failure of a great American company--to become an employer to no one--is one of the most unpatriotic acts I can imagine.