Looking Forward

When I wrote Regime Change four years ago, I completed missed how The Trump Administration would tempt me to give into my worst impulses.

I nailed the “rich will feel richer” part but whiffed on the vibe.

Trump’s policies remain popular. I think he blew his re-election. Of course, I thought he blew it in 2016. Life is full of surprises.

Anyhow, time to move on to something more useful.

Everywhere I have lived has a slice of the population that is Permanently P’d Off (PPO).

The slice of the PPO in the US seems to be greater than other places I have lived (Canada, NZ, HK, UK).

If you are a political party, or media outlet, then enraging the PPO is a useful strategy. Useful to meet your goals of raising money, maintaining attention and inspiring action.

I think we can all agree that Trump is, and will remain, world class in this regard => money, attention, action. The man has skills.

Explaining US Federal Politics to my kids

When I come across a member of the PPO, I don’t engage them.

I remember, this is a person who has invested deeply in their belief system (attention, friends, money, tribe, habit, neurochemistry).

I have to be most cautious with the angry. Anger is contagious.

Justified anger is my worst trait – it clouds my judgement, muddies my thinking and hurts my health.

Anger repels the nicest people in my life and poisons my relationship with my kids.

Rather than sing along with the PPO, I go quiet and feel thankful that I can avoid distracting myself from what I need to do => keep on keeping on with my family.

If someone won’t relent then a good phrase is,

If I have to pick one issue then, I guess, I’m most in favor of tax simplification.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who wants to engage me on tax simplification.


I’m grateful that my job does not require me to encourage conflict.

As a parent, where some conflict is inevitable, I tell my kids… “I love you too much to argue.”

With a view towards high school, college majors and, ultimately, careers… I think to myself, which fields avoid the need to constantly feed conflict?

Education, especially working with kids. Constant deescalation is required, or you’ll burnout very quickly.

Healthcare, I like the vibe from my friends who work in the healing arts.

Mission Focused, fields where getting stuff done is more important than triggering an emotional response.

If you invert then you can rule out a lot of stuff (advertising, media, politics, academics). There’s probably a lot more. I’m a few years away from needing to give it much thought.

For now, I’ve advised my kids…

Try to find out if you’re really good at something difficult.

Let’s refocus on something useful.

PS – paper ballots, mailed to every registered voter, run by the counties, with lots of places to drop. Works great in Colorado. The more you centralize (anything) the easier it is to cheat and the more fragile the system becomes. Just like in finance, when someone seeks complexity, it’s usually to fool you.