Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.
Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!
–Traditional English nursery rhyme
It doesn’t get much press on this side of the Atlantic, but it should. Today, November 5, is Guy Fawkes Day, the day that the English remember one of their most notorious villains or one of their most celebrated heroes, depending on their mood or ideological leaning.
On this day in 1605 Fawkes, a disgruntled religious minority tired of official abuse, attempted to take down the entire English government—king, ministers, parliament and all—by blowing up the House of Lords with a large cache of gunpowder during the State Opening of Parliament.
Fawkes was discovered and promptly executed, but he is remembered—in typically dry English humor—as the last man to enter parliament with honest intentions.
2013 has been a frustrating year in American politics. We came a lot closer than we should have to defaulting on our sovereign debts. We have a Democratic administration that didn’t bother to beta test the website that was the lynchpin for the biggest change to the health system since Medicare and Medicaid were introduced, and a radicalized Republican minority that wants to eliminate the Federal Reserve.
A less-violent “Guy Fawkes option” of running the entire government out of town and starting over sounds a lot better than it should. But as investors, we have to keep perspective. With few exceptions, America’s political system has always been a chaotic mess. In our short history, we’ve had a civil war and four presidential assassinations. We’ve had our capital burned to the ground. And we’ve had more political scandals than I can count.
And guess what: Americans have a way of getting on with their business. My advice is stop worrying about politics and focus your energies on finding quality investment opportunities. Here in the United States, we are still in the early stages of the biggest energy revolution in a century. The rise of Generation Y will create a new baby boom in the late 2010s and early 2020s. And the aging of the original Baby Boomers will create challenges that will make savvy entrepreneurs wealthy.
These are just the opportunities here in the United States. Looking overseas, the rise of the new emerging-market middle class is the biggest investable macro trend of the past 50 years.
So tonight, pour yourself a drink and offer a toast across the Atlantic. Wear a Guy Fawkes mask if you feel like it, or burn a Guy effigy (or the effigy of whatever prominent politician irritates you the most) if you’re not breaking neighborhood ordinances in doing so. But come tomorrow morning, toss the politics out the window and focus instead on finding solid investments.
Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA, is the chief investment officer of the investment firm Sizemore Capital Management. Click here to receive his FREE 8-part investing series that will not only show you which sectors will soar but also which stocks will deliver the highest returns. The series starts November 5 and includes a FREE copy of his 2014 Macro Trend Profit Report.