We all sat back, relaxed and watched over the past few years as unhappy citizens of faraway nations rioted. Why? It was the only way they could relate their disgust and frustrations to how their country was being run. They were so upset that even bullets didnt stop them. Historically, empires last less than 200 years. The U.S. empire has so far lasted 235 years. What eventually destroys all empires? They grow too big and powerful and forget their basic premises for existence. They forget that their first responsibility is to the people who put them in power out of total trust. How many of our senators or reps can tell you what the Declaration of Independence written in 1776 says? Many of our forefathers fought and died for this Declaration. Do you wonder why American citizens are demonstrating not only on Wall St. but in other cities around the country? Read this quote from the Declaration and you will completely understand:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
In other words, these demonstrators are not angry at people who in our society worked hard to make a living and hit home runs, but as the corroded system itself that has been deregulated and tainted in such a way that the Maddoffs and Leys can comfortably cheat and lie and easily get away with it. The majority of cheaters who have been caught have been fined, paid their fines with stolen money, got patted on the wrist and sent back into society. What kind of an example is that? The system has collapsed and nothing is being done to change it. What can you and I do about it? Voting next November for a different party wont make any difference. We already know that, and so do the demonstrators.. I dont imagine any of our readers are going to buy a tent and sleep on the ground for the next few months. So I guess we just respect the people who have the balls to lead the charge and try and understand where they are coming from. They are actually demonstrating for us. We are all the governed.
Roland Hopkins is founder of the New England Real Estate Journal, Norwell, Mass.