Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Big Short

A short (no pun intended) offering today, as I'm currently intellectually and emotionally exhausted from worrying about the future of our country and the world in general...

Last night, Tanya and Marco and Tanya and I (yes, two separate Tanya's) watched The Big Short, the movie about the guys that made a ton of money off of betting against the American economy from 2005 through 2008 or so.  Well, that's not really what the movie (or book) is about.  The story actually follows and exposes the absolutely ridiculous series of unfortunate events that got us to the point of the housing market bubble bursting.  The fact that those people that bet against the market made a lot of money in the meantime is almost a footnote, which I thought was really interesting.

The movie was poignant and entertaining, which is also a pretty rare combination.  Every performance was memorable and well executed, with the exception of Brad Pitt -- sorry, he's really hit-or-miss with me and felt very average in this role.  There was a greater than usual amount of breaking the fourth wall, and it was always compelling and appropriate.

In light of our current political climate, I encourage everyone that isn't familiar with the story here to go watch the movie and/or read the book.  Think about how the candidate you favor relates to (or is actually culpable in) the events portrayed there.  Consider how they might behave on a going-forward basis with regard to Wall Street (and fiscal responsibility overall).

Now bear in mind that this is only *one* of the really important issues that probably don't have enough substantive discourse in the debates from either party.  It is my sincere hope that everyone that can *will* participate in this year's political process and will do so thoughtfully.

Pick your top three issues.  Really think them through from as many perspectives as you can so that you can have a fair view of them.  Find the candidate that best aligns with those top three, and vett that they do so as much as you possibly can.  Don't just listen to what the candidate is saying -- look at their public/behavioral record.  This is relatively easy to do with current/former government officials, less so with private citizens.  Do your best in this effort so that you can support and vote with a clear conscience.

Insofar as the opportunities present themselves, participate in meaningful, thoughtful, and respectful discussion with people that disagree with the importance of your issues or your stances.  Be open to learning something, understanding someone else's point of view, and potentially changing your attitude.

Above all, be kind to yourself and to everyone else.  There's too much hate and misery in the world as it is -- don't contribute to vitriol or negative behavior/attitude.  I read this commentary yesterday and found that it resonated with my own mental state pretty well.  It was written more eloquently than I could have done, so please give it a read.

Alright, that's it for politics and sadness for me.  I promise the next post will be back to the normal book reviews, writing, exercise, technology, etc.  If you need a diversion until then, check out Tim's Snake Lake blog post and play the game.  Yum!!

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