Common Cents & Thanksgiving

Is it just me, or are the headlines relentlessly bad? If you want to get out of your good mood, just go to any media outlet to turn that smile upside down. Another day, another shooting somewhere, breathtaking dysfunction around the world, and more red ink in the markets. While I am not usually one to pine for the good old days if you will, today’s news cycle is beyond exhausting.

This is why Thanksgiving is so important. It is a time, if only for one day, to focus on the positive things in our lives. That for which we are grateful. Pretty unique concept, huh?

Laughingly, my thankful list doesn’t include Pilgrims or Plymouth Plantation. No big black hats or buckled shoes of any sort. It also doesn’t include the Wampanoag people, hand turkeys, cornucopias, pumpkins, or the congealed salads my mother used to make. Come to think of, I don’t know anyone out of elementary school who would say they are most thankful for any of those things.

I imagine the most common things for which Americans are thankful are family and friends. Other popular ones might be good health, community, places of worship, nature, and even the occasional sports team. However, it is important to realize rare is the individual who is thankful for discord, pain, suffering, and sin.

That is if such people even truly exist.

As such, Thanksgiving is not only a time for giving thanks, it is also a time to appreciate that which unites us as a people. This is important, because as Abraham Lincoln famously said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This he paraphrased from the New Testament: “every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

This is important, because much of the current news cycle seems to want to divide us. Whether this be by political ideology, geographic regions, race, faith, or other demographic, the result is the same. The weakening of our societal fabric along factional seams. Is that what we want? Are we thankful for that which weakens us?

There are those who would argue our diversity makes us stronger. If so, it would seem the opposite of that would have to be true. That our unity somehow makes us weaker. Intuitively, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. While I wish I could take credit for that little pearl of wisdom, Victor Davis Hanson deserves the credit. However, regardless of source, it is a powerful thought.

So, today, when you are around the table giving thanks, please remember there is someone on the other side of the country who looks different, worships differently, thinks differently about politics, and even roots for the Lakers who is thankful for the essentially same thing. They might have tamales, steamed crab on glutinous rice, or biryani on the table. There might not be a green bean casserole or a sweet potato in sight. However, there is more that unites us than we might realize, let alone appreciate.

For that, I am very thankful, and I am hopeful 2023 will be a happier and much more prosperous year. Happy Thanksgiving. If so, the headlines won’t be as relentlessly bad as they are today, and we can be thankful for that too.

Thank you for your continued support. As always, I hope this newsletter finds you and your family well. May your blessings outweigh your sorrows on this any every day. Also, please be sure to tune into our podcast, Trading Perspectives, which is available on every platform.

John Norris
Chief Economist & Giver of Thanks


Please note, nothing in this newsletter should be considered or otherwise construed as an offer to buy or sell investment services or securities of any type. Any individual action you might take from reading this newsletter is at your own risk. My opinion, as those of our investment committee Investment Committee, is subject to change without notice. Finally, the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the rest of the associates and/or shareholders of Oakworth Capital Bank or the official position of the company itself.