Here's a Holiday thought ... think of the movie ... "It's a Wonderful Life" so topical at this time of year.
As we limp into another year of the slyly diversionary titled "Economic Melt Down," I watch neighbors, friends and family silently struggling while putting on a brave face. Increasingly, there is a fear in their eyes which can't be hidden behind the mask of stubborn pride ... a sort of embarrassment at a personal failure they had little to nothing to do with.
As time passes, their rope is getting shorter and shorter ... what is left of their savings, and money from sold assets, is running out. Even in my upscale, insulated community, I see family homes going up for auction ... being sold by the very institutions that caused the melt down! No regular person seems immune ... people trapped in homes they no longer can afford, and can't refinance because those same financial institutions refuse to approve them. Only those already wealthy enough can take advantage of refi ... federal assistance is a cruel myth ... pure propaganda to make it seem like there is help available ... which the very people that need it cannot qualify for.
"Economic Meltdown" somehow makes it blameless sounding, like an unbridled force of a natural disaster, when in fact this continues to be the greatest Grand Larceny in world history ... and not one perp has spent a day in prison ... unless one considers a $10,000,000. mansion in the Hamptons tantamount to a cell in Attica. Bernard Madoff is a petty shoplifter compared to these despicable people. Greedy somehow falls miserably short in describing them.
Meanwhile, we all act like this is a Frank Capra movie and the ending will be a happy one with Disney blue birds flying around our heads and rainbows in the background ... or quip that the perp's Karma will catch up with them ... to which I reply, get real ... Stalin died at age 75 after murdering tens of millions, and was never called to account for his actions by anyone.
Never in a million years did I think I would cruise down retirement lane after 50 years of hard work and dutiful responsibility to be met at road's end by a masked highwayman with a gun. Actually I'm grateful I'm at my age with my responsibilities behind me ... I pity those still faced with them. I also feel a pinge of guilt for the things I have when so many hard working, talented, and honest people have nothing. Some of my photo gear actually feels obscene ... but I worked all my life, met every family and community responsibility to finally be able to induldge myself for a couple of my so called "golden years". Something a lot of folks will never have the pleasure of doing because this "meltdown" will financially dog them the rest of their lives.
I wished I lived in an old village, so we villagers could storm the castle with pitchforks and torches ...