Mind on Money: America wins because we 'pound it out'

Marc Ruiz Times Columnist

We’ve all been through a lot. For some of us this will have been the first Thanksgiving gathered in the same home together in three years. For far too many of us, our family included, during this time apart loved ones have been lost, leaving empty chairs and huge empty holes in our hearts and lives.

Hopefully, however, this Thanksgiving solidifies the return to normal. Families and friends are assembled again. Big, tasty meals are being shared.

My Oak Partners teammate and friend Clint has a special t-shirt on deck for the coming family gatherings over the next few weeks. The t-shirt proudly proclaims, “unvaccinated and ready to talk politics.”

After your initial eye roll after reading this, please take a calmer moment to really consider it. Is it obnoxious? Yes. Is it funny? To me it is. One thing is for sure, it's not passive aggressive. It's aggressive. And that’s the point.

We Americans are aggressive, we confront, we debate, we pound it out. It's in our “DNA,” it’s our culture, it always has been. We are a nation founded on disruption, by disruptors — some good, some not good, then populated over 250 years by people who were willing to leave their accustomed surroundings, language, culture and often loved ones behind, choosing further disruption. Of course, our African and Indigenous lineage compatriots are also the descendants of survivors of disruption. While our Native and African ancestors may not have chosen the disruption put upon them, by enduring it they also chose to be American, and in doing so became the forebears of all of us.

Which of course is the legend of the Thanksgiving holiday. Many nations have harvest celebration holidays, but to my knowledge only in America does our harvest holiday, Thanksgiving, celebrate the coming together to two completely divergent cultures in festivities of togetherness.

Is it true that the first Thanksgiving saw Native Americans and European settlers coming together to feast? Honestly, I don’t know, and I don’t care. What is important to me is that we collectively say that it did, and that of all the concepts we could choose to celebrate on our harvest holiday, we choose to celebrate the notion of two different peoples coming together in unity and fellowship. This is the myth of America, and I for one choose to believe.

I just finished listening to Peter Ziehan’s book “The End of the World is Just the Beginning.” Mr. Ziehan, whose podcasts can also be found on YouTube and Apple Podcasts, is as entertaining as he is insightful. The book, while I admit sounds scary, is a well-researched prose on the history of trade and economics, since the very beginning of humankind, through the next couple decades.

Much of the discord in the financial press at this time purports tough times ahead. Higher interest rates, maybe a recession. There are few pundits predicting otherwise. Mr. Ziehan’s book addresses these coming difficult times using the frame of reference of negative trending population demographics, energy supply disruption, leveling off technological advancement and the withdrawal of the United States as the sole global superpower “on the beat.” Whether these concerning predictive conclusions come to fruition remains to be seen, but one concept in the book that I do heartily agree with is through all these potential tribulations to come, for lack of a better term, America wins.

In the book, America wins not from a military contest perspective, although this American strength remains unrivaled, but wins from a resource, population and economic perspective as well. In America we have more fertile cropland, have access to and are protected by the world’s two greatest oceans, have abundant energy resources of all kinds (carbon and renewable), have a young and growing population (both babies and immigrants), and have a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship unrivaled in human history. So, spoiler alert, America wins. If we can function well enough to claim our destiny.

“Ah”, you say. “This is where Marc goes wrong, we can’t get along well enough to function. In American we can’t stop fighting.” Well, to this I answer, we function because we do debate, in America we function because we are free to “pound it out.”

So, here’s my advice this holiday season as we all come back together and the individual in your family that has a shirt that says “ready to rumble” comes in for dinner: stay in the room. Appreciate the experience of hearing him or her out, get irritated, counter point and in the end maybe even laugh about it. Their right to irritate, and your right to be irritated is part of being American, and I for one am thankful for it. Enjoy.

Marc Ruiz is a wealth advisor and partner with Oak Partners and registered representative of LPL Financial. Contact Marc
at marc.ruiz@oakpartners.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations
for any individual.


To view Marc's past articles please visit https://www.nwitimes.com/business/columnists/f-marc-ruiz/