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As Long as We Remember...

April 18, 2008

Darker Days

Roy Meachum

It's hard to know where to put the blame, on government or the web of businesses caught up in the current economic crises. That word is plural, in case you read "crises" quickly.


The Democratic natural enemy is Big Business. Republicans might argue governmental interference through too many laws and regulations created the nationwide condition. In any event, it makes no difference when it happens within your personal circle.


Del. Richard Weldon and I have never been friends, not on the basis of frequent phone calls and visits. But I very much admire the way the man from Brunswick has made his way in the political world. I have heard absolutely nothing that detracts from that admiration.


Circumstances and shared confidence in publisher and editor John Ashbury brought the delegate and me together on; certainly not common political views.


Rick is a proud member of the GOP and I am an avowed liberal; the local and state Democratic leadership knows I am by no means a faithful member of the party that remains a heritage of my Southern roots. My access and invitation to Democratic do's remain limited.


Candidates and efficacies are not automatically aligned in lock-step under labels. As frequently as not, my columns have backed Republicans at all levels. Rick Weldon falls into that category.


Through local, county and state jobs, he has never let the public down, not that I've seen. His integrity rises above any notion of hanky-panky. His word has become absolutely to be believed.


So when the delegate goes public on his problems with his mortgage, I accepted completely that he understood he had reached agreement with the bank and the problems were solved.


Reflecting the state of chaos Americans must now cope with, lawyers and an auction company told Frederick News-Post reporter Ed Waters the Weldon home was still scheduled to be on the block April 30.


In Thursday's New York Times, it was reported that profits were cut in half at JPMorgan. It will be recalled the firm bought out competitor Bear Sterns recently, with lots of federal help.


In the same edition, Times subscribers read Wall Street had removed the rosy spectacles used to view the state of GE. The corporation (formerly General Electric) owns NBC and other prominent companies.


As was said of the Holocaust, it's impossible to understand what happened to six million Jews; reduced to a single teen-age girl, Anne Frank, the overwhelming tragedy becomes clear.


The force of circumstances that nearly consumed Rick and Amy Weldon illuminates what is daily happening all over the country. And the world. Even when the Brunswick couple believes the crisis is behind them, two involved entities say it ain't so.


Maybe you remember the fully legal immigrant in Howard County that lost his home even though he paid all his bills on time, especially his mortgage. It turned out his lender sold his note to another company, but there was no transfer of his payment records.


In any event, what transpired remains confused in my head; it followed no logic, as the courts admitted. But the law was the law, and it had been written to protect lenders. But that was in better days when everyone, including companies and average citizens, thought the money would never run out.


Not incidentally, in one of the four newspapers that cross my desk daily there was another story on how individuals were making millions and millions out of the mess.


Precisely because of his public standing and the publicity, Rick Weldon will almost certainly get things straightened out. His family will assuredly retain the house that has been their home for over 20 years.


But notice the adverbs, "almost certainly and assuredly," nothing is certain in these parlous days, which those who quibble about the word "recession" are looking into the probability that a full-scale depression is on the way.

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