Our business and political leaders claim to be victims - victims of forces beyond their control. These are the men and women who gloriously rode the wave to amass unprecedented wealth for themselves and their moneyed interests. Integrity, honesty and selflessness are dated concepts apparently clung to only by the faint of heart in an age of irrational exuberance.
The people, oh the people, we are not without complicity. As was known in ancient times, we are a fickle lot. Bread and games are all we really require. Afford us the barest of comforts and entertain us - all else lies ripe for the taking. The task of the age - relieve the masses of any meager wealth stored away.
Creative financial leverage has been the means employed by the titans of finance, the captains of industry and the masses alike. Finance is our virtue, our vice, and our king. We revel wantonly and willingly in the scheme, until the house of cards crumbles. The devastation of the storm exposed the true character of those entrusted with the keys to the kingdom. Perched at the gravest of precipices we are left to ask - now what?
Where have the bold, the brazen, the privileged elite gone? Those at the top of the economic food chain are proving themselves to be weak, helpless, and hopeless. They declared themselves victims and now busy themselves securing their plunder. The huddled masses, having enjoyed the excitement and feasted on the fervor, now fear the worst. There is no free ride - it is time to pay. We have no room for victims in this crisis.
Blaming "them" for the mess we are in, offers a moment of reprieve to bask in self-righteous indignation, but only serves to make us victims and render us powerless. Claiming victim status, like the financial titans and captains of industry, will disavow us of the last shred of dignity in a calamity of our own making. Not that the financial titans and captains of industry should be allowed to walk away from their game of deceit and deception - arrogant and enriched. But, rather expecting those who have ceremoniously led us into this mess to clean it up is a delusion nearly comparable to a reliance on finance as the core of our national economy.
Now we must decide whether to give up or pick ourselves up and learn from our mistakes. We can either choose to be victims - helpless and hopeless - or we can choose to take charge of life, take responsibility for our circumstances and take control of our journey. Believe it or not we only have so much time left.
Having arrived at the times that try men's souls, we must recognize - this is our call to answer. Now more than ever, we need honorable, steadfast and visionary men and women - people of integrity, people who seek the truth and act for the collective good. We must lay aside the complicity of nepotism for sake of self aggrandizement, fame and fortune.
The global financial system is aflame. Throwing money on the over leveraged chaos fuels the fire. In the short term, as the cash ignites it generates light and heat - stimulus - but ultimately it will leave a charred ruin.
As steel is forged in a crucible this crisis may well prove to be our crucible of character. We cannot afford to be victims. We have but two choices: ride the wave till every last bit of energy is expended and crash on the rocks; or take responsibility for the state of affairs, take control of our destiny as a nation and begin anew.
We are at a crossroads. We can continue down the path we have been on for over forty years, trading self-reliance, discipline and commitment for immediate gratification and material excess at every opportunity; happily placing the burden of our excess on future generations. Or we can begin again - rebuild the trust we have squandered and resurrect values that have sustained past generations and served as a beacon to the world.
We can bring about a new birth of freedom by applying selfless vision and practical ingenuity to fulfill the promise of a nation founded on principles and dedicated to the pursuit of happiness for ourselves and future generations.
The time to be victim is passed. This crisis requires all shoulders lean into the wheel. We either stand together or fall apart. If you think this is overstated - look around. The path we are on, the crisis we have called forth is the defining challenge of this age. We can either shrink from the challenge or rise to become more than we believe we are capable of and remake our world. Help wanted - victims need not apply.
Copyright (c) 2010 Scott F Paradis