Friday, October 10, 2008
Falling on your sword
It's an old Japanese tradition to apologize deeply and sincerely when you, as a leader, have failed. In the old days, they would literally fall on their sword in an act of hara-kiri.
It's scary out there. I woke to find the world markets in free fall. I don't expect the US market to do anything that differs. GM is crumbling ("as GM goes, so goes America" eh?). We're in for some tough times, and in some ways we are all responsible. In other ways, we have been let down by feckless leaders influenced by an insiders' club of influential powers, and financial leaders who have lined their pockets as they have picked ours. Our lust for growth, growth, growth and our abandonment of local institutions in favor of international corporations (you know who's doing well - local banks who stuck to the time-honored practice of making loans only to those who they figured could pay them back - that was in the day when there was no such thing as a national bank, and that seems like a good idea now), has come back to bite us.
Yesterday in Japan, an insurance company failed, and at the very least the leaders of that company apologized for their foolish decisions and bowed, literally bowed, deeply in shame and humility. That doesn't make anything better, but I'd like to see one of our leaders take responsibility for something, anything.
George Bush is going to do the "deer-in-the-headlights" routine today. He and Cheney ought to be handing in their resignations and falling on their swords. They have bankrupted this country in more than a financial sense, and we will live with the shame.