The Wake-Up Call: Financial Crisis, Greed and Consequences

Sep 29th, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Ok… it’s here, that moment so anticipated and dreaded . I’m talking about the financial crisis facing our country today, a crisis of greed and overindulgence. It really isn’t a surprise, after all it wasn’t the apple in the tree that caused the problem, it was the pair on the ground. And the pair wanted more! They wanted to explore the boundaries in this myth of our origins. But, this myth is full of truths about the human family and condition.

Most of us try to live by the rules. We’ve thought all our lives that morals and ethics and common sense make a difference in the world. We are getting a big decibel wake up call.

It is still true that people who break the rules create consequences and, like a stone thrown in a pond, its ripples move ever outward. Wall Street and Washington broke the rules and now the American People are being called upon to bail out the millionaires and billionaires who made bad decisions. Some of those guys are CEOs who will walk away from their failures with millions more in their golden parachutes. We’re paying for the parachute too. Yes, we need a stable economy, but at what price?

Now is the time for sanity. It is not a time for fear or escapism or panic or overwhelming anxiety. It is a time to read and to find words from the wisest of the wise who will encourage our
innate ability to work it out. My parents lived through and survived the depression. I was born on the tail end of it and have heard of its horrors all my life.

Now is the time for reason. This one is the clincher. Being reasonable in the face of all the unreasonable dynamics of this very unpredictable time is what is required. We have, I think it is fair to say, put our trust in the wrong places. We have, I suggest, believed in persons or institutions who may not be able to magically solve all our problems. We have, I propose, an opportunity to seriously question the reasons for our present catastrophe.

I have many friends, some of whom I hope read this, who disappoint me with their willingness to go along, to do things as they have always been done, to forgo serious investigation and introspection. I thoroughly appreciate these wonderful human beings who have shared with us many moments of fond remembrance. But now, it is time to be blunt.

Please do not sell our future for a mess of pottage. Please do not go blindly into the dark night, which we commonly face. Please, do not automatically assume that what you have always done in the past will work this time. Please care about your children and grandchildren and friends enough that you can quietly go about assessing things differently. Please!

I am no alarmist, but I am deeply, deeply concerned about the state of affairs our nation faces. I am concerned because all our lives, in one way or another, are in the balance. I had an African American colleague who was one of my mentors. He used to say: “It is 11 o’clock, and later than you think.” It really is. I am a student of history and the upheavals of history show us how nations and kingdoms have fallen. Ours is not immune. The wake up call is sounding right now. It’s time to wake up!

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