In response to November Shine Ons by Mike English

Keep Up the Dynamic Free Press

Though I am a libertarian and find serious flaws with many progressive policies, I applaud Moonshine Ink for the quality reporting with a sensible tone.

Of particular interest are the four cartoons [sent in an email].

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They managed to address some of the pressing local issues without being pedantic or extreme.

I taught U.S. history and government in Richmond, California prior to retiring with my wife into our old ski cabin last year.

[And] yes, [I am] a Moonshine Member!

~ Andrew Meblin, Truckee, via letter

In response to November briefs, issue

Shout Out, Shout Back

Thanks for putting in the Sierra Avalanche Center executive director news item in the last edition. I was reading through the latest Moonshine yesterday and enjoyed the entire thing. Thanks for spreading the word for Sierra Avalanche Center.

~ David Bunker, Truckee, via letter

In response to election coverage, national elections

Why it Won’t Matter to You in a Few Months Who Won the Presidency

Assuming you want to keep your sanity, whether you are celebrating the thrill of victory or suffering the agony of defeat, it shouldn’t affect your level of personal contentment in a couple of months. Why?

It’s called the focusing illusion. Who won the presidency becomes more important simply because we focus on it. Our focus sets an anchor in our brain that biases how we interpret all future information. Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel prize for this discovery, among others, in 2002.

If your candidate loses, how will it affect you? The most compelling answer is the one I realized one night at 2 a.m. while I was worrying that my candidate might lose the election.

Are you going to let an event over which you have no control and a president that you didn’t vote for make your life miserable? Why are you giving someone you don’t admire control over your personal contentment? The president of the U.S. has very little direct influence over your daily activities. There are more important people in your life. Focus your time, energy, and love on them, not anger at someone you didn’t support in the first place. In my mind, anger is like swallowing poison and expecting your enemy to suffer the effects. Scientific research shows high levels of anger correlate with premature death.

“Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character
assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country — and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians” — Charles Krauthammer

Even if your candidate won, your level of happiness will return to its previous level in a few months. How do I know that? Because the happiness level of lottery winners and people who are suddenly paralyzed returns to their baseline level of contentment six months after the event. It’s called hedonic adaptation.

I’m not arguing the future president won’t make a difference in your life. I’m saying you alone have control over how you respond to the outcome of this election.

I’m going to make 2021 a banner year for my friends, my family, and my community, no matter who is living in the White House. I’m going to keep volunteering my time at the local food pantry, help people find the good life as a professional coach, bike and ski with my wife, and write articles to encourage Americans to be kind to one another and have a sense of humor. Showing compassion for one another and lending a helping hand is what makes America great … not the occupant in the White House.

~ Gary Gilberg, Truckee, via letter

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