The golden calf passage is usually and correctly taken to describe a gross failure on the part of the Israelites. However, a seldom noticed aspect of the passage is that Moses' first responses are also failures.
Being a change leader is a tall order. People love the soaring rhetoric with which he outlines his vision of a better life. We trust that he has the right stuff to do the job. We want to believe that he'll deliver on his promises. And above all, we want him to be all things to all people.
Someone I know used to have a mug that said "Sacred cows make the best hamburgers." This pithy statement captures part of what is at stake when we declare certain things to be off limits, taboo or untouchable.
I used to think that Aaron was a pretty smart person. After all, they don't make you the High Priest of the whole Jewish people unless you are a pretty capable person. But now I believe he was an amateur -- at least at the art of making excuses. You can't compare him to Lance Armstrong.
We brought the calf to Wall Street to confess our allegiance to false Gods and to announce that something was dying for us. That death is our own belief in the sacred calf of the Wall Street picture of the universe.