The Wall Street Address

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Perhaps now, more than at any other time since the War of Secession of the 1860s, is the US immersed in such an existential crisis. During that earlier crisis President Abraham Lincoln delivered the most famous speech in US history, the Gettysburg Address. President Bush should deliver his own address at the site of the current crisis, Wall Street. Here I propose an address with reference to Lincoln’s; however, I believe his text concealed and obfuscated while this text states clearly the truth.

Four score and seven years ago our fore fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Four score and fifteen years ago our fore fathers, Morgan and Rockefeller, brought forth on this continent a new bank, the Federal Reserve, conceived in secrecy and dedicated to the proposition that all men’s wealth is the banks’ wealth.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Now we are engaged in a great financial crisis, testing whether this bank, or any bank, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great market in that crisis. We have come to dedicate a portion of that market, as a final resting place for those corporations here that gave their wealth that the bank might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this market. The leveraged corporations, solvent and bankrupt, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the solvent, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who splurged here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored bankrupt we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of money — that we here highly resolve that these bankrupt shall not have gone bankrupt in vain — that this bank, under nobody, shall have a new birth of inflation — and that this Federal Reserve of the banks, by the banks, for the banks, shall not perish from the earth.

Ira Katz [send him mail] lives in Paris and works as a research engineer for a French company. He is the co-author of Handling Mr. Hyde: Questions and Answers about Manic Depression and Introduction to Fluid Mechanics.

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