On February 3rd we celebrate the 50th anniversary of "the day the music died" in Clear Lake, Iowa--commemorated in song by Don McLean and so-named in memory of the three famous musicians who died there in a plane crash: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big-Bopper Richardson.
We remember these men fondly for the profound impact that each one had on the music of our era, but we are also nostalgic for the wonderful time which they represent in our post-war history--a time that was full of hope and dreams for our nation. Perhaps it is because the present is so dark and the future seems so bleak that we relish the memories of an era when there was joy in the moment and optimism about tomorrow.
This winter as we contemplate the collective mistakes that brought on this depression, we remember those who have gone before us and endured worse hardships. Buddy Holly was born in Texas during the Great Depression, at a time when there were few who viewed this "great experiment" of democracy as a viable system. We again find ourselves in a predicament which has been caused by putting too much faith in a financial infrastructure and in the men we have entrusted with our leadership. We have trusted these same men in the pinstripe suits who got us into this crisis to lead us out of our dilemma, and now with no attempt at introspection, they have led us to the mirror. We have been given many reasons for the collapse of our economy: greed, unmanageable debt, overvaluation of property, overstating credit-worthiness, subprime loans, derivatives, etc. In the end, we are asked to tighten our belts and pay our bills, keep our mouths shut and trust our leaders to get us out of this mess.
Since they started keeping track of such things, public confidence in leadership has never been this low. When we eventually climb out of the financial canyon we have fallen into, the world will not look the same to us as it did before, and it is safe to say that the world will not look at us the same way either. It is appropriate to ask our leadership some tough questions about what led to this collapse. Even more important is our resolve to restructure our banking system as a strictly-regulated governmental entity which has built-in and verifiable checks and balances controlled and monitored by law enforcement agencies independent of executive, legislative and business oversight. It is clear that the warning signs which preceded this collapse were largely ignored by every governmental entity and their proxies, to the detriment of the entire world and nation. Now that we are able to see the results of this misplaced trust, let's not allow these same agencies to fool us into permitting the same cronyism which precipitated our financial disintegration. We owe it to our grandchildren and the world they will inherit to confront our mistakes and choose to make prudent decisions for our future. These are momentous times, and they require thoughtful planning and careful oversight if we are to avoid catastrophic results.
In the end, we must make the best of a very bad situation. The world sees us as the culprits in a massive financial bait and switch of epic proportions, and those responsible have not stepped forward to admit their deception. They defend their selfish practices by reciting Wall Street dogmas of buyer beware. Those who have been victimized are trying desperately to survive in a world devoid of honesty and fair business practices. We owe them a sympathetic and attentive response which will ensure the enactment of failsafe regulations encompassing all future financial transactions. Nationalize the banking industry!