n Jan. 12 a judge ruled on the Madoff bail hearing and released the investment tycoon stating that he (Madoff) did not pose a threat to society. I guess holding a gun or knife to someone's head is the only thing recognized today as posing a threat to society. The drama has since been replayed with the same result. Madoff returned to his penthouse.
Stealing money, robbing retirements, destroying life savings and rendering one's quality of life to garbage must be a misdemeanor or a slight shortcoming in the eyes of some. There are things that just leave you shaking your head in total disbelief some days.
Years ago I recognized that the stock market behaved just like a yo-yo - up and down and tethered to the emotional whims of greed and speculation. I wanted to believe that owning a little stock in an American powerhouse company like GM was as safe as a savings account at my local bank. That just wasn't true.
I did try two stock investments in my lifetime. Both went down the drain faster than Saturday night bath water. After that wash I never returned to that stock market tub - ever again.
The word yo-yo still describes the stock markets' up and down spins but it has also taken on a more sinister meaning . . .
You're On Your Own!
Worthless government oversight, meaningless regulation and untrustworthy investment sources - just who are you going to turn to? And if your investment goes south because of greed and dishonesty - what is your recourse?
It seems more and more that doing the right thing gets you less and less. But, be a big time screw up and the government bails you out. We pay our taxes and work our tails off to make ends meet and governments squander the money and demand even more. Steal a thousand dollar car and go straight to jail but steal fifty billion and get chauffeured back to your penthouse.
President-elect Obama has resurrected a call that harks back to a bygone era where President Jack Kennedy pleaded those inspiring words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". Millions were inspired and I did my military tour soon thereafter and printed the contract specifications for the Kennedy Memorial while stationed near the Pentagon. I wept and sacrificed and still felt short.
Just a little sacrifice from America's millions is all it will take to get us over this hump - or so they say. And, this country deserves it.
We cannot judge this great land by those who wield power and injustice within its bounds but by those who exercise freedom's gifts as a daily pleasure. Nor will we appreciate the value of that gift until it is gone from us.
So, we Americans do what we do best. We trust in a higher power for justice. We unite for a just cause when we believe that cause is just. And, we bear the unbearable as long as it takes. To do less is not American.
The challenges we are sure to face will test our mettle. That's nature's way of strengthening the lineage. It is not to be feared as we have been tested before and triumphed. May we all be able to look back and proudly state, "It has been a grand journey - well worth making once". - Winston Churchill.
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