Four years ago, there was a sense that America was clearing its last hurdle on race and ideological animosity. There was pride in electing the first black president, even by those that didn't cast their vote for Barack Obama. Fast forward to even before Friday's massacre, and there was a malaise hanging over the nation ripping it apart on so many levels. Americans pitted against fellow Americans. It's not good enough to lose elections anymore, there has to be complete demonization and the absence of any compromise.
God is under attack, traditional values are being abandoned, and capitalism is considered heartless as many romanticized the notion there is a form of socialism that could be nicer. Then last week something happened that, like the election four years ago, could have galvanized the nation, but instead threatens to rip it apart even more. The first line in Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way" speaks volumes about where America is these days.
It's very difficult to think or discuss investing and politics in light of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I haven't felt so empty since 9-11, when unstoppable tears strolled down my face as I tried to navigate crowded roads to reach the schools of my children, all the time looking to the sky wondering when the next plane would crash into a building or fall from the sky. Sadly, what happens next will be another battle that rips apart the nation. While there will be no debate over better mental health testing and surveillance, the idea of going after gun owners is going to be ugly.
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