In these uncertain financial times, we are all wondering what in the world we did to get into this mess in the first place and what we can do to get out of it.

Surely, unbridled corporate and personal greed played a very large part in creating the fiscal fiasco that we are currently facing. But our own egos, our need for creature comforts, bigger and better houses, cars and toys, brand name clothes and shoes fanned the flames. We must hold ourselves accountable for getting into debt by buying gadgets and high ticket items that we knew from the start we could not afford.

The credit crunch is as much our fault as it is the banks and lenders who continue to prey on our vulnerabilities. For generations, we have been subliminally conditioned to believe our lives were not complete without the latest designer clothes, watches and shoes; or the biggest and finest of luxury cars; and the latest gadgets for our homes. Our children barely know what it is to play with a toy that isn’t battery operated. Heaven forbid they are asked to create something to play with by using just their imaginations.

The time has come for us to re-examine our priorities. We have been blessed with the opportunity to take a long, hard look at the things that are truly important to us. We are mortgaged to the hilt. Millions of Americans are facing the loss of their homes through foreclosure. Prime… sub-prime… wrap around… interest only. How many mortgages does one household need?

Whatever happened to the American dream of paying for one’s home, burning the mortgage and living peacefully in one place, making improvements and updates as needed? When did a house stop being a home? Somehow, the banking industry convinced us that it was far more American to ‘flip’ our homes every few years and move into bigger houses with bigger mortgages. The lenders and real estate agents should not bear the brunt of the burden. We allowed ourselves to buy this ideology and succumbed to the notion that we were indeed helping the economy by staying in debt. Ever hear of deficit spending… robbing Peter to pay Paul? That’s what we’ve been doing on the personal level while lending institutions raked in the interest on our folly.

Our pension plans have artificially upheld the stock market for decades. We had no control over that one. It didn’t happen overnight. One by one, pension managers were convinced that the stock market was the place to invest the livelihoods of the people who entrusted them with their life savings. Now that millions of Americans are approaching retirement age, they are being told that the money they had been putting into retirement accounts is being dwindled away by losses on the stock exchange. They excitedly watched their savings grow to six and seven figures for years and are now faced with the uncomfortable prospect of having to work well into their sixties and seventies in order to survive. The truly sad aspect of this entire situation is that many of them are already facing physical challenges that pretty much guarantee that they won’t live to see a dime of their retirement savings, and if they are fortunate enough to live long enough to see their savings restored, their quality of life would have diminished to the point that they won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of their many years of labor.

If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are bound to repeat them. This country has been here before. Deregulation of the financial industry and corporate greed led to the Great Depression of the 20s and 30s. That same deregulation and greed is what put us where we are today. How many times must we go through this before we learn?

While most of us understand the natural laws of kindness and compassion for humankind, there will unfortunately be a segment of our society that thrives on hoarding all it can without regard for the planet or future generations. As a result, the ozone layer is depleted, polar caps are disappearing and people the world over are facing financial ruin. Enron, Halliburton, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Chrysler, GM, Ford – the list goes on and on.
Who should be bailed out… the victims, albeit willing dupes in the credit game, or the perpetrators? Billions of dollars have already been doled out to the perpetrators, only for AIG execs to take luxurious spa vacations while homes continue to be lost. Former Enron employees are still struggling to eke out an existence while Ken Lay’s heirs continue to bask in the glow of his ill gotten fortune.

There is no mystery why the current regime is bogged down in the debate. How much more can they steal, how much more damage can they do, how many more people will lose jobs, homes and life savings before they are forced to give up the throne in January 2009? Is anyone surprised that gasoline prices dropped like a lead balloon this month? Exxon, Mobil, BP, Shell and all the other major oil corporations made record profits while Americans suffered. Now that their chief ally in command is on the way out, they have suddenly figured out how to lower gasoline prices so as to avoid government interference. Had responsible stewards of the American trust been at the helm during the last eight years, this fiasco would never have occurred in the first place.

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, religious belief, ethnicity, creed, color or race, the change that is taking place in the United States and the world is one that is essential for the survival of us all. Let us hope and pray that the lessons of greed and deregulation have been learned once and for all, and that generations to come will not endure the tortures inflicted upon us by what has been accepted under the guise of compassionate conservatism.

There is nothing compassionate or conservative about reaping billions in profits on the backs of hard working families when jobs are outsourced, health care costs are inflated beyond the reach of millions, homes are priced beyond the reasonable expectations of normal people with normal incomes and people must choose between putting gas in their cars and putting food on the table. Every revolution in the history of the planet was started because the people grew weary of being abandoned and abused by those in power. The current American revolution is bloodless. It is non-violent, and it WILL be televised.

Author's Bio: 

Vernelle Nelson is an author who specializes in spiritual and self-help/self-realization works. Favorable Conditions is an easy to read book that helps readers find balance and serenity in a world bombarded with negative information and images. Don't Invite Me to Your Pity Party, to be released in 2009, helps readers learn to rise above all of life's challenges, large and small. Website: yourlifeisgolden.webs.com