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Francine Hardaway Headshot

Pity the Billionaire? But He's Winning

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After watching the (predictable) results of the New Hampshire Primary, I can only conclude that Americans are sheep, or that things in the country at large are not as bad as the loudmouths have been saying.

The Tea Party has largely vanished as an articulate force, having blended into the Republican Party. And the Occupy movement is silent as well, retreating into a wonky corner of some building lobby in downtown New York. The millionaires and billionaires (Romney and Huntsman) fought it out for who will rule us after Obama.

Unlike in other countries, our protestors don't continue; they don't even register at the ballot box. They make some noise, get the pundits excited, and retreat. Even Ron Paul supporters have been muted.

This isn't the way to make changes. I am reading Pity the Billionaire, and it is amazing what happened to Americans in 2008. Wealth vanished. Wealth was transferred. The guilty were rewarded. Nobody paid. It's very different from the '30s, when the country vowed never to allow errant bankers to clean out ordinary people again.

On both sides of the political fence, we know this. And yet, our party alignments are so hard wired that we can't come together. We blame each other, our Democratic or Republican neighbor, not the culprits.

You ought to read this book, which details how things happened during the Recession of the 30s to bring the country together, as opposed to how things are happening now. A dear friend of mine who died a year ago at age 87 was fond of telling me this recession would be worse than the Great Depression because in this recession, people don't care to help each other.

We still don't. We are not working for the country. We are working to save ourselves. Each one of us is working to save himself, and the hell with everybody else. We are all in survival mode, fighting each other for scraps of America's wealth.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." It may be time to remember that, before casting a vote for a man who closed businesses, outsourced jobs, and took extraordinary profits or for a man who, in the last four years, sought merely compromise rather than true change.