I have long been a Warren Zevon fan. I was listening to his song, “Excitable Boy” the other day and it brought to mind how the unhappy among us begin as belly-achers and end as destroyers. The unhappy ALWAYS seek to add to their ranks and DESTROY the ability of others to pursue happiness. Simply put, they despise the founding principle of America—the freedom and the responsibility of pursuing happiness—mostly the responsibility part.
The song tells the story.
Things start when the lad shows up at dinner in his “Sunday best.” He probably looks like a million dollar brat as he rubs the pot roast all over himself. No doubt his unhappy folks who taught him well smiled just before the purposeful soiling began. Nothing to see though, “he’s just an excitable boy!” One can only assume he was sent upstairs for some unsoiled duds and upon his return was served up a nice sugary dessert. All is well; he’s just acting out against authority a bit.
The lad sneaks out to the movie show at 4 a.m. He’ll behave, after all, nothing can happen in the wee hours of the morning when all the best are out on the town. While at the theatre, he bites the usherette’s leg. Perhaps there was a tongue lashing and maybe a veiled threat about being grounded. Either way, this too shall pass as “he’s just an excitable boy” after all. All is well; he’s just acting out against authority a bit.
With soiled Sundays and a chomp on the leg in his arsenal, it seems like a good base for the lad to escort the fine, young mademoiselle, Suzie, to the junior prom. There will be music, punch and good friends—just an overall bang up time where the popular and unpopular mix like oil and water, er, the happy and unhappy. But, no such luck for Suzie. She gets raped, killed and then escorted back home for her parents to see the works of an “excitable boy.” They likely never paid attention to the first half of the song.
After the tragically horrifying events, the lad is put away in a “home” for ten years because he presumably needs some rehabilitation. Finally, he’s no longer excitable and is again unleashed to take on the world. His days of acting out are over according to the good people. As his penance, he digs up the young Suzie’s bones and builds a cage with them for good measure. Seems he’s become an excitable man when no one was watching. The problem is they were watching the whole time. They made the choice to ignore, then to approve. The good people, the unhappy people.
Everyone has been watching the unhappy, America-hating excitable ones for weeks now. They’ve been an excitable, yet peaceful group of protesters according the good people. After all, the news has reported a few episodes of soiled clothes and a bite or two on the leg, nothing more than excitable stuff. Fortunately, no one has burned any buildings, destroyed businesses created by hard work, or killed anyone yet on the way to the prom. That would mean far more sinister stuff than a mere excitability.
Burning cities, toppling statues and killing people is the result of complacent ignorance of government. It is also the choice and the intent of the unhappy. In Constitutional Law and other philosophical subjects, the Zevon idea is referred to as the “slippery slope” and it is most often scoffed at. For example, removing a confederate statue would never lead to tearing down a statue of Washington, or one of Jefferson—the man who wrote “pursuit of happiness” into the framework of America. Nah, never happen, the unhappy just make up an excitable group. Just ask Suzie’s metaphorical parents—you know who they are—they are shop owners in Minneapolis or Seattle or Charleston, or the family of the executed retired police officer in TX. They found themselves at the bottom of the slope.
In America, the elected representative have one job. They are elected to protect the right to the pursuit of happiness for ALL. Pursuit of happiness has two equal and opposite forces—the right of the individual to act on individual liberty and the RESPONSIBILITY not to interfere with others’ right to do the same. Part two is being ignored. No one, neither the spoiled Jimmys who never got picked for the dodgeball game nor the failed individuals who live their lives in government may impede that right. When the untalented and unimpressive folks in government fail, the happy will defend themselves before their ride to the prom veers off course. The happy see when things go astray; they just put up with a lot of crap before they right the ship. After all, they are happiness seekers.
Vast numbers of immigrants who seek to come to America do not make the journey to be one of the excitable unhappy. They know what America is about and they want to be part of it. They want to be able to pursue happiness and they know where to do it.