Originally published in 2008.
If Wall Street were a junkie, the bailout would be “enabling.”
Wall St. doesn’t need to be enabled any longer: Wall St. needs rehab. And the bailout wouldn’t rehabilitate anything.
If Wall St. were the head of a household that depended on it and everybody decided to stop enabling said head-of-household and the head-of-household were to go into a months-long residential program, the household would suffer. And the head-of-household’s dealer would suffer, too. Crack dealers or heroin pushers (or tobacco companies or whiskey distillers…) don’t thrive when customers go into rehab.
But if the family systems theorists are right, then it’s not only the head of household who’s sick, it’s the entire family. And if everyone who’s sick with addiction has to go through withdrawal, then the entire family has to go through withdrawal—which is pretty much always a bitch.
Did I mention that the bailout is not rehab?
I weep, I tell you, weep, for the Wall Street aristocrats who have to sell one of their seven mansions and fire nannies and poolboys. Times certainly are hard all around these days.
The problem with Conservativism of the Republican stripe is its exclusivity: it removes one from humanity.
I live in a rather shabby two-bedroom flat. I don’t sleep in either bedroom: I sleep in the basement. Like millions if not billions of human beings on Planet Earth today, I sleep in a hollowed-out patch of ground. It happens to be spacious and finished with cement and painted, so I have it far, far better than many of those other millions of people who, like me, sleep in a hollowed-out patch of ground.
Why should I think that I’m entitled to more than I have? Should I not be grateful for the fact that my basement is dry, that it has windows, that I have a phone and electricity there, that the largest predator that’s ever crawled in was the neighbor’s kitten?
When I was a child my parents taught me to share, to be a generous giver and a gracious receiver. They never said to me, “You must now learn no longer to share, and you must stop being thankful for the things you’ve been given.” They never taught me where to exclude, where there might be a socioeconomic line below which I was to call out-of-bounds on the impulse to share.
I can appreciate that people would prefer to live according to the manner to which they’ve become accustomed, really I can. But nobody is entitled by the Constitution to more than life, freedom, and the right to self-actualize. Second homes, let alone sixth or seventh ones, are not part of the deal. People finally began to get it, after the Civil War, that the power to enslave other human beings was not part of the deal. Give them a few centuries and they may figure out that even well-paid hired help isn’t a God-given right, either. (PS: Manifest Destiny was a crock, too.)
The fact is that the poolboys and nannies and cooks and social secretaries are all enablers of this sick, sick system every bit as much as crack dealers and heroin pushers and tobacco growers and whiskey distillers are enablers of sick, sick family systems. Because it’s systemic, everybody has to cooperate in the recovery. The rationale that we can’t let Wall St. collapse because all the co-creators of the sick system will suffer, too, is untenable. No rehab facility director worth hir salt would encourage a graduate of hir program to go back to an environment that continues to enable the household’s primary illness.
Reagan Republicans, especially, can’t appeal to the well-being of the Great Unwashed Masses as a criterion for having mercy on godzforsaken Wall St: trickle-down works both ways. If the help benefited from your prosperity, then the help is gonna have to suffer with your adversity if it’s all to get any better. It’s up to each of us to live with our lot, not up to you to rescue us from it. Y’all gotcher hands full with your own $700 billion mess. We all got to walk this Lonesome Valley by ourselves—you can’t rescue me, and I for damn sure can’t rescue you.
I find it awfully suspicious that a course of action so contrary to the spirit of recovery is being advanced by a president who repeatedly evinces the most salient features of a dry drunk and who no more confesses to a sobriety date than he does to a date on which he ever actually got “saved.” The man is a farce and the plan is a farce.
What we as a nation need to do is hit a wall, bottom out.
Speaking of counting blessings, I’m definitely thankful that the House had the good sense not to approve a bailout.
©2008 Khrysso Heart LeFey