The “What Now?” Edition

The “What Now?” Edition

And so we arrive at the end of the Barack Obama administration by my account and that of objective reality – a business ethics disaster. The villains who almost destroyed the world economy found not justice but money and friendship in the Obama Administration. The financial criminals who did so much to destroy the fabric and any sense of honor in this society walk the streets as free men and, in fact, take their places at the highest levels of government in our new administration. Barack Obama failed at one of the most critical duties of the President of the United States. He failed to bring evil men to justice.

And now some of those same evil men will be making policy in the new administration. That was easily predictable.

I refused to support Hilary Clinton because many of those same bankers were part of her campaign and would have been part of her administration. When given the opportunity to speak to the criminal scum that endangered our society and have destroyed the economic lives of millions – this was her approach:

Far from chiding Goldman Sachs for obstructing Democratic proposals for financial reform, Clinton appeared to sympathize with the giant investment bank. At a Goldman Sachs Alternative Investments Symposium in October 2013, Clinton almost apologized for the Dodd-Frank reform bill, explaining that it had to pass “for political reasons,” because “if you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it’s all the fault of Wall Street, you can’t sit idly by and do nothing.”

Of course, she tried to keep this boot licking approach secret by refusing to release the transcripts of the speeches. In the foolishly moral like me, it would seem speaking in secret with a message of government servitude to the banking industry while saying something different to us would be wrong but her lack of ethics and morality were apparent to only people like me. There were many that were willing to overlook this kind of behavior on the grounds that the other guy was worse. I decline to do so. And I made the right decision. This administration will be terrible but the kind of sustained think tank, contributor controlled, Democratic Leadership Council inspired oligarchy, could have continued for decades. She could very well have made this Neo-liberal monstrosity a permanent part of our institutions.

I do not think it is irrational behavior on my part to wait for a candidate who is willing to enforce the law against the banking industry. I do not think that expecting a President to defend the nation from those whose financial excesses endanger the common good and the economic lives of millions should be surprising or outside the bounds of our politics.

So what now, am I willing to hold Donald Trump to the same standards I expected of Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton? Yes I will. I do admit there is a level of strangeness in the new President that I find daunting. Let me explain.

I have taught for many years and I have my students write essays. A good portion choose to do no research before writing, not even the most casual internet browse. And it’s like talking to your neighbor over the offense or in the bar with a fellow drinker. They just write their gut feelings which are very often just ill conceived nonsense. And that is the sense I get from President Trump. Further, I sense no intellectual depth at all. His behavior is almost primal.

People often want to put me in some kind of ideological box. I am supposed to be a liberal or a progressive or something. People are astonished at my criticisms of Obama because “Well, isn’t he your president?” He was President of the United States and I voted for him the first time and refused to vote for him the second time. In my mind, following the party line is wrong whether it is that of the Republican Party, the Democratic Party or any other party. I am a passionate advocate for women’s equality and I have come to a point where I consider racism such despicable nonsense that those espousing it are no longer in my judgment ladies or gentlemen.

I have no illusions that the stranglehold of contributors on the Democratic Party establishment will be broken or that the Republicans will find a sense of purpose beyond winning and servitude to the wealthy.

I speak for business ethics and that is enough.

James Alan Pilant

4 thoughts on “The “What Now?” Edition

  1. JP, you wrote, “This administration will be terrible but the kind of sustained think tank, contributor controlled, Democratic Leadership Council inspired oligarchy, could have continued for decades. She could very well have made this Neo-liberal monstrosity a permanent part of our institutions.”

    That statement seems to express a long-term view based on patterns we’ve seen clearly demonstrated in recent decades. I can only wonder if our current political system is set too much toward the short-term view and is possibly eroding the prospects for a successful democracy.

    I have been disparaged by Hillary Clinton supporters because I have the same view you have of our current quagmire of failed representation and, as you point out, failed or non-existent efforts to uphold our nation’s own laws, as well as our own expressed values. I see proof of a particular statement from one of our founding documents, The Declaration of Independence, “…all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms [of government] to which they are accustomed.”

    My own view is that voting for Hillary Clinton was a cowardly vote exercised by those who vote their fear rather than qualifications and policy. That also makes me think of the votes that must have occurred against seceding from England during America’s revolutionary time. Doing what is right is often seen as foolish and most of the time that view is seen in people of low integrity.

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  2. The problem with politics is there are no statesman because politicians haven’t learned to put the interests of others (i.e. constituency) ahead of their self-interests. Politicians are self-absorbed individuals with a hunger for power, wealth and fame. Their primary motivation is to back the party line, not do the public’s work. Politicians lack the critical ethical qualities of: principled-based behavior; a moral compass; a vision how to make things better; and a willingness to vote their conscience without regard to winning the next election. These are the core reasons why so many of us in the public are fed up with politics and politicians. I see no hope of change on the horizon as the system is corrupt and beyond repair. What is the answer? That’s the million-dollar question.

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