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A Historic Day That America Could Have Lived Without…Is Another One Coming?

September 29, 2008

A late lunch on Monday allowed me to catch the live vote from the House of Representatives on the cable news channels as the compromise measure for the bailout of our financial institutions was taking place.  One by one as the members of the House voted, Wall Street kept watch.  In a smaller box on the TV screen the numbers of the Dow were being monitored.  Down and down they fell to over 700 before climbing again, and hanging around 500 for a period of time in the afternoon.  In the final minutes of the trading day, as we all know, the bottom fell out and the market closed 777 points lower, the largest point loss of any day in history.  That translated into a $1.1 trillion loss in the market.

Some of my readers on Monday took exception to my anger…..and yes it is OK to be angry and pissed…. over the fact that some in our country have put us on this road that we now must travel.  I am not the only one that spent a chunk of the afternoon stung by disbelief as CNN and MSNBC broadcast the news that only kept getting worse.  To see the brokers on Wall Street standing and watching the same newscasts as I was, knowing that they were as perplexed and justifiably angry as I was, provided no comfort. 

We have all lived with a high degree of anxiety on a daily basis over these last eight years.  From a most curious election outcome in 2000, the terrorist attack on 9/11, the American invasion of Iraq, and now to the economic calamity has produced an electorate with more pessimism than anything else in our daily outlook.  It is very unsettling.   This is indeed a sad state of affairs for what we are led to believe is ‘the greatest nation in the world’.  This afternoon it felt like we were slipping fast, and were totally out of control.  Even those who swore an oath to deal with the complexities of the nation seemed unable to stand up to the winds of uncertainty.  It left many Americans justifiably nervous.

For me to write that it did not have to be this way goes without saying.  The actions, or lack of them over the past few days in Congress with bailout legislation, coupled with the greed and ethical lapses that have plagued so much of our society over the past decade, makes me very aware that we are on the wrong track as a nation. The fact that we are now all facing uncertain times due to the lack of strict regulations, and the absence of sober reasoning over the financial affairs of the nation should make us all angry.  Those who chide us for being angry might just be ashamed of their role in creating the problems we face.

When we wake up on Tuesday we will face the news of bad market reports from the other side of the world.  And we should brace ourselves for a rocky ride that might lead to more historic moments, none of which we will greet with enthusiasm.

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