Sunday, March 15, 2009

AIG Bonuses

Can anything be more damning than this - that AIG executives in the business unit that has absorbed more than $100 billion of taxpayer dollars, due in large part to their mindless negligence, are now being paid millions in bonuses?

In Pakistan, thousands have taken to the streets to demand an independent judiciary. Here in America, we are placid. Complacent. Resigned, perhaps. But utterly passive.

We do not deserve the freedoms we enjoy, and we may not keep them. We think they are God-given, inalienable, but that does not guarantee them in perpetuity.

In the comfort of our lives, we have granted powers to the managerial class - the highly compensated stewards of our major corporations and capital markets - and their political allies and servants. Why have we been so willing to abdicate in the exercise of our citizenship? Because we have vastly undervalued that franchise.

I watched Oliver Stone's "W" recently and wondered once again, as I did in 2004, how Americans could vote for such a mean-spirited punk, such a second-class mind, such an undeserving pretender. It says much about us, and we have not learned a thing from the experience of the past 8 years. We think George W Bush is to blame, but the blame is ours, and we must understand that if there is to be any hope at all of fixing what is so greatly in need of fixing.

I do not believe we have it in us, as a nation. I live among silly, self-centered, under-educated, incurious, and unreflective fools. A nation of such people cannot long remain great.

America is a great nation, and Lincoln was right to see her as the last, best hope of man. Were he here today, I wonder how hopeful he would be.

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