“Thanksgiving Could not Come at a Better Time” By Peter Kenny —
As the dust from the presidential elections begins to settle—in haphazard and uneven fashion—investors are shifting their focus in preparation for a short work week punctuated by that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving. This oldest and most tradition-bound holiday could not come at a more opportune time for many Americans, both on Wall Street and on Main Street.
Over the past several months, leading up to election night, the country has been wracked with political, social and often highly charged emotional cross-currents, the results of which have left many feeling betrayed, while others feel a deep sense of vindication.
Protests have marred otherwise peaceful metropolitan areas. Much of the mainstream media complex has framed the election results in rather dire tones. Trump supporters have been called every name in the book from racists to bigots, while those previously chanting “Love Trumps Hate” put on a display of disaffection that, in some cases, are the definition of intolerance. Clinton supporters suddenly find themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to defend themselves from a re-awakened Republicanism that was widely assumed to have been vanquished. Even many Republicans feel disenfranchised by Trump’s assumption to the White House. Many Americans appear to have a bone to pick with the Presidential election results.
Time to unite
Families will come together this Thanksgiving to celebrate each other, our great American experiment and to thank God for what we have been given. We are all blessed to be a part of this incredible experience, as messy as it can get. We have one another. We have our country and our freedoms, and we have much to be grateful for.
Thanksgiving is a time and place every year where nothing, not politics, not economics or self-centered agendas take primacy over the simple and profound act of giving thanks. Giving thanks allows for a degree of humility for some and for others it is an act of joy, but in both cases, it is an exercise in sharing. In any case, giving thanks is an equalizer. Thanksgiving allows for us all to assume a mantle of humanity that has seemingly been washed away in recent months by a political landscape that has left us raw and tender to the touch.
Celebrate our common human journey. Appreciate one another by letting others know that they count, they matter, and that they are valued no matter who they voted for or which party they affiliate with. We are human first. There is not a holiday that underscores that more beautifully than Thanksgiving.
“Giving thanks is more important than the economic calendar.”
I sat down to write about the economic calendar, earnings and the prospect of any shift in the outlook for monetary policy over the near term but stopped. Giving thanks is more important. Taking a moment to simply express our common humanity and gratitude through the prism a purely American holiday seems needed — especially now.
All that said (and in case you needed further encouragement to put this narrative into perspective), US equity markets and US economic data should provide a context for that sense of calm that Thanksgiving seems to allow. All three US equity market indices have sharply climbed to or near record highs in the post-election rally. The volatility index has dropped a stunning 41.98% in the same period. The unemployment rate is at a post-financial crisis low. Weekly Jobless claims are at a 42-year low. The US dollar has climbed to a 14-year high versus the euro. WTI crude pricing has continued to level off, as energy price stability has emerged as the “new normal” and the US economy, by most measures, appears to be on solid footing heading into 2017, as interest rates will likely rise gradually.
Let us put the swords down and show the vitriol and anger the back door. Let us bow our heads, give thanksgiving, love and appreciate one another and watch some football!
Flickr photo: National Museum of American History Smithsonian
Special note about photo:
Menu from the U.S.S. Randolph, 1944
From its start during the Civil War, the Thanksgiving meal has always held special meaning to those serving in the military. Spending this family holiday away from home is difficult, and the Thanksgiving meal on base and at sea wards off homesickness and brings troops together.
In fact, several printed Thanksgiving Day menus from military bases and ships are part of the museum’s collection. What I love about these menus is their overwhelming similarity. No matter what year or what conflict, you can rest assured that America’s armed forces were eating turkey, cranberry sauce, and gravy on Thanksgiving, just like their families at home. Beyond a change of pace from the functional foods of the mess hall, coming together at the Thanksgiving table was an occasion to celebrate and reconnect with the classic American foods of Thanksgiving.