Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WALL STREET, MAIN STREET, & ELM STREET
The $700 billion rescue effort failed because leaders didn't even attempt to win our confidence

ALL ABOUT THEM. It was always about them, not about us. It was about bailing out Wall Street fat cats who play fast and loose with other people's money. What American citizen wants to bail out Wall Street? Not many, you can be sure. But that's how our nationally elected and appointed government officials framed the issue. It's no wonder the bill failed to pass in the U. S. House of Representatives Monday afternoon.

A PROBLEM MISCAST. Better leaders would have recognized immediately that many people despise Wall Street and the most mildly endure it's wranglings and excesses. More authentic leaders would have cast the problem and their solution in a very different scenario, in very different terms. They would have started and looked at the issues from a very different place.

MAIN STREET & ELM STREET. They would have started with ordinary citizens. They would have looked at problem from our perspective. They would have talked more, as Barack Obama has, about Main Street. Or, as I heard one Representative describe, "Elm Street." They would have started with the challenges every household faces and drawn out the implications of credit there. They would have taken us to the very roots of the problems in graphic terms. They would have spoken firmly and specifically about reforms intended to curb greed and abuse in the future.

TOO MUCH PRESSURE. But, in the 10 days since President Bush made his $700 billion request, no leader ever got around to doing that. Not once did I hear anyone come to the mainstream media with a clear, household-based explanation or appeal. No one tried to convince me--and I was very interested in finding out about it in a way I could get on board. Why didn't they talk straight to us? Because they wouldn't? Or because they couldn't? They didn't, and House Representatives got their ears--and e-mails--full of Americans who told them 100 to 1 that a "Yea" for this bill would mean a "Nay" at the ballot box in November. So, we're back to square one.

SECOND CHANCE COMING UP. It's not too late. Now there's a second chance for leaders who are convinced this bailout/rescue measure is essential to win the understanding and confidence of more Americans. "'Splain it to us, Lucy." We're waiting...

Political comic by Tony Auth as viewed at http://www.slate.com/
I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for saying it so well, again! Another example of why U.S. Americans feel distant from and deserted by those in Washington. Who knows the final result of the failure to pass this measure. The possibilities are intimidating. For better or worse, it seems THE PEOPLE were heard and represented, while the street and the government assumed their ineptitude.

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  2. David, this morning (Tuesday, Sept. 30) I heard a better perspective than Main Street from which the financial challenges facing our nation might be articulated: "Elm Street" or "Oak Street." These are the streets where we reside, where we live. Cast the scenario of challenge from this perspective.

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