Minding and possibly mincing his words, Henry Hank Paulson leaned forward and, zen-like, recited the mantra, “restore confidence.” Showing little of the wide-eyed panic and sudden resolve out of which his and Ben Bernanke’s recent pre-eminence have been forged, he inclined again towards his interviewer, Charlie Rose, and repeated “restore confidence.” As if by summoning the spiritual domain from the habitual incantations of a Benedictine bending to his faith in an un-tapestried cloister, rosary in hand and beads upon the brow, he called upon the mimetic magic of repetition to render confidence incarnate. A stoic with words, betting on the hope that his position commanded the requisite gravitas. Hoping that by saying it he could make it so.
The Dow did respond, and with some due relaxation of credit and recuperation of trust, relieved the heavy hand of free market capitalism. And if only for a bit, the control regime was restored its influence.
Trust and confidence, when weathered, battered, and beaten, are like the trade wind gone from sails. Trading lanes emptied of commerce, growth and expansion whither in waiting. As markets and their regulators have discovered in crushing simultaneity, trust and confidence, unlike money, do not grow on trees. They are not words, are not thing or even qualities quantifiable. Non-transferable and non-fungible, trust and confidence are as thin as the air of the stratospheric heights in whose giddiness world financiers loft their deals, hoist high on the vehicles of their own making.
Systems, and trust, are what it comes down to, and where we find ourselves, somewhat apoplectic and chin-scratched. We may not know what trust is, but we know when it’s gone. Getting it back is the catch, the starting of it, from, well, scratch. Which is why we have elected to change, and changed why we elect. Harbinger. Time comes some times a people must chase out the old and will in a new way. Wind, for sea change.
Come’s a time when old trust is broken, when treasure lays spilled upon the floor, its gilded box broken and emptied, for us to coin anew. A new phrase, yes we can. And have, and do, and will. When the words once uttered work no more for the voice box is busted and the puppet-master exited, left, stage left and gone. When the figure, and very spirit, of leadership is but a useless pile of imperial dress, laid shamefully on the floor.
When the people take the shirt off the back of the man with the power no more and when words tumble down, yes we can and will do it ourselves. When the stage hand grips the broom of the system, sweeps dirt from the wood, and bellows, be gone feeble man for I can and do more. And setting stage, pulls the drapes, and turns open the door. For a time cometh, and now, when the audience takes the floor.
President, elect, welcome home.