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Rooting for underdogs Wed, Nov 16, 2016
I support underdogs.  I support people who are categorically marginalized, who have been at the receiving end of unfair treatment throughout history.  I support gay people, immigrants, brown people, women.  People who feel they were born the wrong gender.  People with different brain chemistry than my own. 

I haven't always felt this way.  I feel naturally inclined to reject people who are different.  Get over your problems.  Just be normal.  Figure it out. 

But something shifted in my thinking a few years back.  It wasn't a specific moment or event.  It was more a gradual realization:  People aren't different because they want to be.  Nobody asked to be born gay, or black.  Nobody wakes up one day and decides they want a sex change operation for the hell of it.  Depression and anxiety aren't hobbies people pick up because they want attention. 

With very few exceptions, people are different because they're different.  That's it.  They didn't ask for it.  And to reject them for being different, or for being "unnatural", or for being "gross" is just ridiculous.  Imagine someone rejecting you for your gender, or for your nationality.  You didn't ask for those things.  In fact, you had no say in those things.  You're a victim of your birth. 

For me, the opposite of rejecting people isn't ignoring people.  It's championing people.  It's rooting for the underdog.  I don't have the same experiences as a black person who's dealt with racism.  I don't have the same experiences as a person who feels they were born the wrong gender.  It may even be a little weird for me to imagine.  But I'm compelled to trust the people who say they're marginalized, instead of assuming they're all liars.  I just think people should be treated fairly and equally, regardless of whatever makes them different. #psychology

Post election 2016 Wed, Nov 09, 2016
So Trump won.  That's disappointing.  Not so much because my candidate lost, but because Trump is very obviously the bad guy.  Hillary's not great, but she's at least not the villain in the story. 

At least we'll stop hearing about Hillary's emails.  And the Clinton Foundation.  And Benghazi.  And Whitewater.  And whatever other somewhat -- or very -- shady things she's done in the past and will do in the future.  Speaking of which, her political career is over.  She'll be a little too old for the next time around.  Plus, she's probably dead on the inside from this ridiculous farce of an election.  I say good riddance.  Get some new blood in the party.  There are better female politicians than Hillary Clinton. 

Trump is truly a political outsider.  So this should hopefully put to bed whether or not having an outsider as president is a good thing.  I'm open to either answer. 

Apparently a lot of rural white people were angry about jobs, and that's essentially what won the election.  I guess we'll see if Trump the businessman can create jobs as Trump the president, instead of simply painting things gold and filing for bankruptcy, then cheating on his taxes.  I personally don't think presidents have much to do with the job market, but I'd gladly change my mind in the face of countervailing evidence. 

It's kind of funny to hear people demonstrate their lack of understanding about how elections work.  Several fellow New Jerseyans proclaimed their pride in voting for Trump, and I had to hold my tongue from telling them that since Hillary won NJ, their vote literally had nothing to do with Trump winning.  You could almost say their votes didn't count. 

I feel slightly numb and a little stressed about the whole thing.  Yes, I knew Trump had a chance.  But I half-hoped people would come to their senses at the last minute and make the adult decision.  Sadly, that didn't happen.  And as much as I don't like the guy or anything he stands for, I think the biggest source of my anxiety is just the uncertainty he brings everywhere he goes.  I don't trust him, because he's proven himself to be untrustworthy.  I guess we'll see.  We've had a good run, America. #politics

Halloween economics Tue, Nov 01, 2016
I think Halloween is actually great financial and economics training for kids.  On this one day of the year, kids enter the labor market and perform a task (door-to-door trick-or-treating) to receive payment (candy).  Some kids are faced with harder working conditions (hills) than others (apartments).  Some receive better compensation (full-size candy bars) than others (fruit).  But in effect, everybody does work and gets paid.  That's a great lesson on labor markets, working conditions, and wage inequality. 

Later that night, there's usually some sort of trade-and-barter system.  Some candy is objectively better than other candy, and some people are just weird and like all the lemon-flavored things.  That's a lesson on value and free market economics. 

Finally, there's a lesson on the time value of money, as the kids who save their candy are able to enjoy it long after all the gluttons blow through their savings in a week. 

I think this is largely why I grew out of celebrating Halloween.  Sure, it's weird to trick-or-treat as an adult or even as a teenager.  But honestly I can work for way less time and buy way more candy at a store whenever I want because I have a real job that pays well.  It's economics. #money