Oh, Darn!

Up is down and down is up. We wake each day to headlines screaming bad news. Lifetime savings, hopes and dreams disappear in a moment. Where did it go? Everyone is either out of a job or worrying that they will lose their job. I know more people out of work than I ever have in my lifetime. Friends, neighbors and too many young people are idle.

Instead of Hapsburgs and Bourbons, this time the elite are money-changers in the temple of democracy.

Pardon my grumbling, but each day, in some way, I talk with a friend who has been affected by the financial chaos. Each morning, I say a prayer for all those who go out to work and are holding the reins of the tattered economy. It is upon all of us…construction jobs, retail jobs, factory jobs, and professional jobs…all gone to waste. Frustration and misery stalk the land.

A friend sat in my living room yesterday, telling me that his father had lost his retirement and may lose his home. Another friend who worked as a corporate vice president for 27 years was laid off a year ago. He has not found work. His job is searching for a job in a country that lost 651,000 jobs in February. It has become very easy to be poor. I worry.

Before October of last year, how often had you in your lifetime heard someone count to a trillion. According to the “talking heads,” and if you do still receive a paycheck…there will be an extra $13 just for you from the bail-out billions. Grumble. Grumble.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the indicted financier Bernie Madoff, who reportedly stole billions, is not in jail. He waits for justice in his $7 million New York penthouse with his wife by his side. The attorneys for the Madoffs are arguing that the couple should be allowed to keep the penthouse and $62 million, both of which are in his wife’s name.

I know a young couple who lost their home and their jobs recently. I thought about them when I read about John Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch, spending $1.2 million redecorating his office: $87,000 for a carpet, $28,000 for four chairs, $82,000 for curtains, $18,000 for a George IV desk, and, my favorite, $35,000 for a commode on legs. The home that I hold so dear cost less than this man’s furniture.

In this upside-down world, a publishing house is paying a dishonest man — former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich — six figures to write a memoir.

AIG Corporation, the giant insurance company, will require more billions.

It’s a shame Leona Helmsley did not live to see this day. Leona, the billionaire “Queen of Mean” and owner of the Palace Hotel in New York, who said she did not pay taxes because “taxes are for the little people,” would fit right in. So would Marie Antoinette, or whoever it was who really said, “Let them eat pastry.”

The power and money stays with a small governing class faction that has nothing in common with the working class of people; those middle-class Americans whose families will shoulder the burden of trillions owed. Grumble. Grumble.

Down here, back on earth, we the people are losing our jobs, our savings, and our homes. It’s like we suddenly woke up in an old style oligarchy, where all the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a pampered few. Instead of Hapsburgs and Bourbons, this time the elite are money-changers in the temple of democracy.

The celebrity crooks do not live in my world. They live in Alice’s Wonderland where every day is a tea party with the Mad Hatter. Why aren’t they being held accountable for their actions? Who are these pampered people? Off with their heads. Grumble. Grumble.

Okay, this is enough. It is time for the overpaid corporate elites and their minions in the government who looked the other way to stand and be held accountable for their destructive greed. Should we roll out the guillotines? Have we lost our ability to reason? Is society dividing itself into two factions of haves and have-nots? Have we lost our humanity? We live in a state of frustration and there is no end in sight. Oh, darn.

In yet another world, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has pledged $900 million to rebuild Gaza after the Israeli bombings. Set aside all politics. America is broke and out of work. Shouldn’t we rebuild America before we pledge money to others? I truly believe that every elected official serving today should be voted out of office so we can start over with a few good men and women…wherever they are.

I am frustrated and exhausted from worry. Everyone I know is worried about where we are headed. The chaos is upon us. We must restore economic order and the foolishness must stop. We need heroes, not a ruling class. We need success, not failure. We need direction and leadership to guide us out of this economic nightmare. Who will restore order? This is our legacy to stand tall in hard times.

Four centuries ago, our forefathers sailed away from the Tudor family’s control of the wealth in Great Britain. Aversion to oligarchy is in our DNA. I know. I believe in us; and in the truths we hold dear.

I have walked the battlefields of Kings Mountain and Ramseur’s Mill, where good men lie buried. They are the heroes of my homeland. We are their descendents and we are as tough as need be. We can set aside our differences, and once, again, we will right the world.

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