A little over a year ago, I finished a book titled “America, The Happy.” The basic premise of the book is that America is the only place ever created on a promise to protect the pursuit of happiness; further, the one and only divide in America is between those who pursue happiness and those who choose to be unhappy. The Founders couldn’t promise happiness to anyone but they did promise to protect the God-given liberty to attain it by choice. Individual liberty and one’s free will to choose are the only two ingredients in the pursuit of happiness and this is the place to exercise them.
Liberty exists on a sliding scale from total anarchy to downright slavery. History has shown that no place is perfect, but America has been the best by far at correcting its ills. Government is supposed to exist as a wall from anarchy and a protector from slavery. In happy times, the task is easy. While some government intrusion is irritating or frustrating, most people notice few limitations on their daily activities. Enter a perceived crisis with disproportionate, reactionary constraints and all bets are off. The shackles of unhappiness come in many forms.
Politics aside, the government wields power when those who relish it seek to tighten their grips. Covid 19 provided the opportunity and too many in power have chosen to choke off the pursuit of happiness. However, far more are now choosing to wield their liberty instead. The divide in this country has not been so great since The Civil War and this time neither slavery nor federalism is the subject. This time, everyone’s freedoms are at stake and the divide is plainly out in the open for all see—even from behind a mask—though the masked will ignore it.
The divide is not merely political, it’s not liberal versus conservative, and it certainly is not socioeconomic. The obvious divide in this country is between those who choose to pursue happiness and those who choose to be unhappy. Nothing is certain at all in this life except one’s right to his or her own thoughts and the choice to act upon them or not. While sickness has and always will end precious lives, a virus did not close any stores, take anyone’s job, or crash an economy. The choices made by government in response to a perceived crisis caused all of those outcomes. An alleged data-driven power grab of government always seeks to shrink individual liberties. The unhappy, marginal actors in government seek to limit the pursuit of happiness it promised to protect. The response is profoundly more destructive than any illness ever will be. The plague is not the bug; the plague is power used to thwart the pursuit of happiness and create as many unhappy, obedient citizens as possible.
Happiness and its pursuit are characteristic of those who love life and liberty. They are the Three Musketeers of the American Dream. Freedom and the choice to act are gifts of happiness. A desire to be taken care of and freedom from making choices are the backbone of the unhappy. They accept the “new normal” of fervent governmental control and they like it. The proof is in the mapping. Simply take a look at a map documenting the Covid “hot spots” across the country. Pay attention to the locations. Then, in another window, open an election map from 2016 the dark red hot spots are the blue patches of unhappiness. Coincidence? Not on your life, your liberty or your pursuit of happiness. All for one and one for all, or more aptly stated, E Pluribus Unum.
A vaccine for an illness will not cure America. Only a people, each of whom assert their individual liberty to purse happiness will cure America. The assertion of rights has begun at barber shops, beaches and on the lawns of state capitol buildings all over America. Bringing the God-given rights out from behind the mask of reactionary power-grabbing governments is powerful. The pursuers of happiness will triumph as they always have.