America is undoubtedly the best place in the world to live. If you doubt this ask any of the millions of people who are here illegally and constantly face incarceration and deportment to their former locals. They will tell you a different story than the friend who grew up down the street. We have far more opportunity to grow financially, physically, or spiritually than those who live almost anywhere else on the globe. Just look around the room you are in right now and reflect on the prosperity you see. Is it exactly like you want it to be? The answer is probably no. Can it be improved on? Sure. But, look around the room. Would you swap it for anything in 90% of the rest of the world? Again, the answer is probably no.

 

However, we do have problems. Our biggest problem, I think, over the last 25 to 30 years is too much opportunity. There has not been a level playing field for the nation’s financial institutions and they just could not help themselves but to loot the bank and our people. They could not stop themselves from disgracing the longstanding integrity enjoyed by the financial institutions of our country. They could not stop themselves from robbing our future generations of the same opportunity to succeed that they enjoyed 25 to 30 years ago. It has been disgraceful.

 

Another aspect of the disgrace exhibited was the failure of the American press from screaming from the rooftops of every newspaper office in the land to tell us what was being done in the name of capitalism in this country. We have been raped and left with no avenue of recourse but to pay for the privilege of having been raped by those who were supposed to be trustworthy men with a high degree of integrity. It has been disgraceful.

 

The last piece in Until Today is regarding the failed banking and mortgage industries in our country. There has been much said about this insult to our futures and I can add little else to what already stands as record. I will lead you to three recent films which in different ways say the same thing about this collapse of honesty and integrity in these institutions. The three films are Too Big to Fail, Margin Call, and the documentary style film of Inside Job. They are all good and any of the three tell more than our nation’s press told us of the issues in 25 to 30 years. It has all been so disgraceful. It has all been a true blight on the otherwise beautiful landscape of America. I hope you enjoy the poem.

 

Pillaged

 

A pitiless apathetic forceful wind

Howls through our financial fidelity

Unseen, unheard, we are unaware

Of the lost integrity of a financial fraternity

 

But fortunes are made by the unscrupulous

Their millions now securely vaulted

With homes in the Hamptons and Park Avenue

While our pillaged America stands defaulted

 

They have leveraged our nation’s future

On worthless overexposed subprime debt

Creating in the common man a skeptical mind

Leading our pillaged America to hedge all financial bets

 

The dishonesty displayed by those who we trusted

Feeds on the carcass of our dying democracy

They will destroy us, bury us, and lead us astray

And replace our government with a financial aristocracy

 

We stand now at the precipice of what course to take

As the wind continues to howl and profits grow

For the Wall Street Barons with finery unsurpassed

While the common man fails and has no place to go

 

The pillager purges and mines our fortunes

As we Americans watch with our lives defaced

And the pillager still plunders markets entrusted with

Until we are all, even them, financially disgraced

 

The system still works is what we so often hear

But only if we return to where this all started

But for now most of our American families

Are in default, defeated, and bitterly broken hearted

 

Who do we trust from this day forward

With retirement funds on which we depend

This question is best served to our elected officials

Who must regulate what we expect in the end

 

The time has come now after 30 plus years

Of unchecked capitalism at its worst

For fiduciary investment from those we should trust

To put their customers and not their profits first

 

1/17/12

JMW

Who do you trust?

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