The New American Dream: Getting Our Country Back!


David Weidner says that the 2008 crash has Americans wanting to loot Wall Street castles since Wall Street looted their homes. The good news is that Weidner counts himself among those who are angry with Wall Street. The bad news that he reads too much “revenge” into the public mind and not enough respect for the sanctity of real justice.

Increasingly, Americans realize that a huge chunk of the people’s capital has been stolen through a manipulation of the nation’s laws. The embezzled capital is now concealed in offshore accounts, hedge funds and secret trusts. Americans want to recover the purloined capital as a means of regaining justice and representative democracy. The Declaration of Independence has been trampled in Wall Street’s stampede of greed, and Americans want the fairness of the original vision restored.

Morgan Stanley’s CEO suggested in a recent TV interview that he thinks of working class Americans as mere “consumers.” (Does that mean we’re but cows to be milked, once fed our hay?) According to this logic, it is time to free up credit so that consumers can invigorate consumption and pump up corporate profits. It is time for the poor to bail the rich. It is time to jumpstart inflation to recover the profitability of leveraging capital. As the executive made clear, profits made by Wall Streeters were beyond comprehension for awhile. Little wonder, then, that Morgan Stanley wanted to rake in as much as possible before the electorate realized that Wall Street’s gains meant a future reduction in relative purchasing power for working Americans.

Wall Street’s idea is that Wall Streeters should have unlimited prospects for investment gains and influence over world affairs. Everything should be the best for them, for they have the greatest ability to make fast money. They deserve superior rewards in every category of life’s experiences because with their superior prowess they can ‘repair the world.’ (Never mind that their miscalculations now put the whole world at risk.) They praise the myth of sanctified corruption; they worship the gods of capitalistic fraternity. If a fraction of 1% can organize themselves into a cabal to plunder 95%, why not? Might makes right. Law is force concealed. No REAL God exists, remember? There is no afterlife accountability! No compelling ethic by which to find honorable means as well as the greater good. If financial laws have been made deaf, dumb, and blind by relentless, devious lobbying, exploit the laws and build your own castle on high. There’s no room in the land for a “Man for All Seasons” or a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Greed is the watchword and self is god. (Sarcastically argued, of course!)

Mr. Weidner: educated Americans are angry about the rise of plutocracy in a land that was free. We’re not farm animals. We don’t exist in the greater scheme of things just so that Wall Streeters can act like blue-blooded royalty and game our retirement savings! We’re tired of elite traders studying the aggregated investment patterns in small investors’ accounts so that these accounts can be gamed by proprietary trading platforms — platforms operated by hedge funds that are serviced by investment banks (and bailed from excessive leverage by taxpayers). We’re tired of the public’s hard earned assets being siphoned off for international traders by speculative markets that are a lot less fair than they appear.

Many Americans could have gone to respected business schools and on to Wall Street if that had been their goal, but they chose instead career pathways that help build a good society. We chose to be engineers, nurses, teachers, small town mayors, regular businessmen, and other such things because we believe society works because of the decency of its members. What if we all behaved like Wall Street’s elites? There would be nothing left but a smoldering ruin.

Yes, Mr. Weidner, we have good reason to be angry. And so do you, for you could have made a fortune on Wall Street but you chose, admirably, to serve the public interest. So, stand strong in this difficult time and show your moral rectitude. Transcend all false separations between decent people; use your writer’s pen to highlight economic injustices. Let an honorable ethic create for you a legacy of admiration. Win for yourself the approbation of your countrymen.

Some of us left Wall Street years ago when we saw the corruption growing. Some of us have vigorously recanted our own errant ideologies as well as the mistaken agendas of parents, former friends and fraternal associates. We believe that enlightened moral courage requires no less. So, we feel no embarrassment in asking fellow Americans to step forward for a righteous cause.

Let’s increase our calls for redress, and sharpen our sights on financial propriety! Let’s show the world what honorable Americans can do when they’re angry enough! Standing with the signers of the Declaration of Independence let us appeal “to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,” and let us have “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” mutually pledging to each other “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” If we fight honorably for goodness while Wall Street fights for greedy plunder, surely Divine Providence will supply the same sufficiency that was granted at the outset of this nation’s history. The beast will topple and a better world will be born.