Partners - Stock market, economic and political commentary by Patricia Chadwick

Archive for January, 2016

Brooklyn (The Movie)

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

January 23, 2015
Patricia Chadwick, pchadwick@ravengate.com


Sometimes a movie is so poignant, meaningful and beautifully rendered that one feels compelled to share the experience. Brooklyn shines as a glorious example of the best in the art.

Starring the extraordinarily talented Irish actress, twenty-one-year-old Saoirse Ronan (who won plaudits for her subtle brilliance in Wes Anderson’s comedy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, in 2014), the movie tells the story of an ingénue, who emigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn, New York, in 1952.

It would be cruel to spill the story in this missive; rather I encourage you to find a way to see the film before the Academy Awards on February 28. Saoirse Ronan has been nominated for a Best Actress Award, and even though at twenty-one she undoubtedly has decades of opportunity ahead of her, I so hope she gets it. The movie has also been nominated in the Best Picture category.

Suffice it to say that this PG-13 movie, based on a novel by Colm Tóibín, will make you smile, laugh and cry; so bring someone you love with whom to share the experience.

Brooklyn seems particularly prescient in this political silly season, which has featured new levels of pseudo drama and mean spirited opportunism on the issue of immigration.

Part of the beauty of the story in Brooklyn is its fresh revelations about an old story, the emotion-wracking experience of an immigrant — the fortitude to leave one’s family, the anguish of missing those left behind, the resourcefulness required to find a place in one’s new world, and bit by bit, the investment of one’s future in a new life in a new society. And it lays bare the raw hostility that so many immigrants have experienced as newcomers and would-be Americans.

I trust it isn’t a spoiler to add that after vicariously experiencing through this well scripted “fictional report” the grinding angst of an immigrant’s early encounters in the heart of New York City, I left the cinema with a spring in my step, admiring and proud of what immigrants have brought to the robust and ever evolving culture we call American.

Perhaps, after seeing the film, you will even buy the book, as I did.  It’s a beautiful read.


© Copyright 2015 Patricia W. Chadwick

An American Asset – The Immigrants Who Come to Our Shores

Friday, January 1st, 2016

December 31, 2015
One of the most gratifying experiences that comes with living in the United States is encountering newcomers to this country — immigrants whose energy, spirit and entrepreneurial drive have overcome the seemingly endless obstacles put before them as they try to build a new life here. Their stories of arrival and survival can evoke tears but are often heartwarming.Perhaps it’s a quintessentially American trait to feel an emotional bond with foreigners who move here, because each of us natural-born Americans has at most a four-hundred-year history in this country, and most have far less than that.I love the stories. My dental hygienist came from Russia with a master’s degree in electrical engineering, but wasn’t allowed to practice here. (Really? A Russian electrical engineer is inferior to an American one?) But that didn’t stop her — she went back to school to learn a new profession.The man who refurbished my kitchen hails from Ireland. For the first few years, he did small jobs; now he is building McMansions, has a wife and three American boys and is on his way to U.S. citizenship. He’ll probably build his own McMansion soon.The Polish aesthetician, whom I met the day after she arrived in this country, could hardly make herself understood in English. Today, she owns her own skincare salon and her own house. She is now an American citizen, as are her husband and her two children.

The Indian friend of mine arrived in New York harbor with a college degree and $125 in his pocket thirty years ago. Today he is a wealthy man, overseeing a firm that invests in biotechnology startups. He told me that every time he sees the Statue of Liberty, he has to wipe away tears.

The stories are legion, but what triggered this blog was a small encounter yesterday.

I returned a lamp to a furniture store because it had fallen apart. There were six sales people sitting together as I entered. When I explained my problem, they quickly advised me that they weren’t responsible for handling any product without a warranty or that had been purchased more than a year ago.

Then one man quietly approached me and taking the lamp in his hands examined it. “The screw is too short; let me see what I can do,” he said in a gentle voice with a hint of a foreign accent. In short order, he found a longer screw and spent the next half hour working on the lamp until it was repaired. (Mind you, he, too was a salesman, not a repairman.) As I thanked him, I couldn’t resist asking where he was from. “I’m Persian,” he said, with a note of pride.

Driving home, I pondered the contrast between the xenophobic, nationalistic rhetoric of Donald Trump and our everyday reality, the substantial benefit to each of us Americans from the influx of immigrants.

The litany of immigrant luminaries in this country is awe-inspiring. They have come to our shores from scores of countries, pursuing a vast array of professions and subscribing to diverse political and religious beliefs. Contrasting them is interesting: Rupert Murdoch and George Soros; Ayn Rand and Emma Goldman; Madelaine Albright and Henry Kissinger.

And in contrast to Trump’s diatribes against generalized “immigrants” and the crimes he declares they commit, the data show clearly that the crime rate among immigrants is markedly lower than among the rest of the population. That’s not surprising; why would they relocate to these shores to improve their lot in life and then set out to destroy it by breaking the law?

The many refugees from the chaos of war in Syria and Iraq are not a threat to us in this country. The vetting system refugees are required to endure is arduous and long. We have much more to fear from those who might arrive on student and tourist visas. This is a process that has little vetting and is the route by which nearly all the 9/11 hijackers arrived. There’s where more effective control is needed.

American exceptionalism is a term that has been debased in recent years by certain loud conservative zealots. American exceptionalism is indeed at the core of our country’s founding ideology; it is based on freedom of religion, speech and ideas, combined with the ability and determination to seek opportunity and to pursue one’s dream under the umbrella of a system of government established on the principle that all are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That’s what immigrants are seeking when they come to America. Let’s open our doors to them and prove that the American dream that attracted our ancestors still lives in our land today.

Happy New Year!



© Copyright 2015 Patricia W. Chadwick

Ravengate Partners LLC Patricia Chadwick, President
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