Everyone has a role to play in the great decline of American influence.George Bush, fresh from successes in destroying America’s foreign credibility and military, has now managed to destroy what little confidence anyone had left in our political system and our financial markets. He had a great supporting cast. Hank Paulson, Nancy Pelosi, Newt Gingrich, the two presidential candidates, and a host of Congressional folk and Wall Street vultures who all thought someone else was going to make the merry-go-round stop.
Well it did, but unfortunately not until after it had slipped its bearings and veered dangerously off its mechanism.
The media is playing its role(s) alternatively predicting doom, providing information that they can only speculate on, and trying to provide some calm.
And the American public is getting angry, but not angry enough to really do anything seriously about this. All the talk about angry constituent calls leading to the nay vote yesterday leave out the salient point: most folks complaining had no idea what they were complaining about to their representatives who were in the same boat. Reaction, not action. Without leadership, there was no way to stop it from becoming a chain reaction.
Yesterday’s choice was a gamble either way. It was a gut check on action without knowing the consequences, or inaction without knowing the consequences. Today’s pleas for calm are meaningless because, once again, no one knows what is going to happen despite the “don’t worry, we’ll pass something” approach.
Keep in mind the one great truth about this or any country. Somewhere on the other side of the morass we are in, some are going to make money on this. Some comfort but not really, in that it will eventually get things back on track. But unfortunately, we’ve passed a few points of no return here, that will keep those tracks rusty and in need of repair for some time.
Osama Bin Laden is laughing his ass off in his cave. Putin is licking his chops. China’s sleeping dragon is smiling in what must be akin to a wet dream, Ahmadinejad is breathing a sigh of relief, and other folks around the world, like Chavez, are just stupid enough to gloat.
America’s influence has been decimated and destroyed in ways we won’t comprehend until the next President attempts to accomplish anything internationally. Those who hold the principal of free markets so dear that they couldn’t stomach voting for the bailout, will probably be looking at their nose on the floor with a knife in their hand wondering where all the blood is coming from.
These are all big picture stakes. But keep in mind that next week, or next year, when you hear folks talking about how this rough patch (yeah, it will be called a rough patch by some idiot somewhere) is over, that there were some real losses felt here on the ground, that will never get talked about. Talk of this percentage and that percentage and this chart and that chart is just like not allowing the public to view the dead coming home from a war. It keeps it impersonal, distant, and remote, and I assume, keeps those who were given positions of trust from slitting their wrists when they look in the mirror.
Money has been lost, money has been effectively stolen. Livelihoods, and I dare say, a way of life have as well. Andrew Keen says this is the equivalent of 9/11 or the fall of the Berlin Wall. I couldn’t agree more. David Brooks says the only thing left is to try again. Again, I agree, but I wish we could do it with a different cast of bad actors then the ones we have now.