Wednesday was one of the saddest days in our history, yet the market sluffed it off. The lesson: actions have consequences. In the near term the election results have the consequence of more fiscal stimulus and that is Wall Street’s focus. The longer term will depend on what this administration and Congress actually accomplish. We shall see.
In the real world, however, things have gotten out of control and it is past time for it to stop. We all need to take ownership of the world around us and understand that what is happening today is the consequence of what we did yesterday.
Those who hate Donald Trump need to understand that his success as a politician was a direct result of at least eight years of his base being referred to as “bitter people clinging to their guns and religion” and then of course “deplorables.” To top that off, the leaders of the political party most of them associate with did nothing to defend them. Then Trump came along saying, “I am one of you.” They are going to call us deplorable no matter what, so we might as well act that way.
Boy did he. He acted horribly. So horribly that my home state just elected a senator who is seething with hate. His “sermons” make Trump’s tweets look like love poems. The problem is, when one defends the hate of her side, she then loses all credibility when pointing out the hate on the other side. Actions have consequences.
This summer, less than one fourth of a mile from my house, unspeakable violence took place. We were told that this is peaceful protesting. In my city an eight-year-old girl was shot and killed by “mostly peaceful protesters.” We were told that we should be with the protesters and that they are doing what Americans have always done. Their actions are justified by our sins.
Is it any surprise, then, that when Trump supporters gathered in Washington to peacefully protest that their mostly peaceful protest looked a lot like what happened this summer? It shouldn’t be.
I was watching Wednesday’s events unfold on CNBC, and Shepard Smith kept saying that these protesters were convinced that the election was rigged even though there is no evidence. Why can’t they be rational? For the better part of a quarter of a century our education industry has been spewing post-modernistic identity philosophy, which states that there is no such thing as evidence; truth is whatever one feels it is. Facts, reason, logic – that is all white privilege, Shep.
The truth is when one side gets to say facts don’t matter, then it will not take long for the other side to embrace facts not mattering. Actions have consequences.
All is not lost. Yesterday I got to spend some time on Zoom with a group of my college friends, one of whom served in the Navy after college. His response to yesterday’s events, “I have been a Republican all my life, I am a conservative, and what these people are doing is treason. They should be arrested and prosecuted.” Actions need to have consequences.
Right is right and wrong is wrong and we all know it when we see it. We have to stop excusing hate and violence just because we are sympathetic to their side or because we believe the other side has done worse. Hate is never justified. “They did this,” is never an excuse to behave poorly. The rioters in DC should be going to jail, as should the rioters from this summer. Hate should be condemned universally, whether it is tweeted from the White House or spoken from a pulpit.
If we want things to change, then it has to start with us. My New Year’s resolutions: to stand up to my friends when they go too far; to show empathy for those with whom I disagree; to remember I’m not nearly as smart as I think and they are not nearly as naive as they seem; to address the timber in my eye before concerning myself with the spec in my brother’s; and to remember that my actions have consequences. At least that is my perspective.
Happy New Year!
Chuck Osborne, CFA