A Little Pruning Goes a Long Way

If you enjoy summer flowers, you’ve probably had petunias growing in your yard or in hanging pots at some point in your life.  Grandmas always seem to especially like them perhaps because they tell us a lot about wisdom that is acquired over our lifetime.  You see, petunias are colorful, vibrant flowers that grow like crazy as long as they are given the right attention.  They will thrive in full sun and will also do very well in the shade.  In short, they are a lot like people.  People can find happiness in almost any conditions as well, but they have to give themselves the right attention.

The key to petunias is not just some water and some sunshine.  The key to a beautiful, overflowing basket that exudes life is pruning.  No special tools are needed, just a bit of attention.  Petunias’ flowers shrivel and become discolored after several days and must be plucked to make room for new and even more vibrant blooms.  As the wilting, tired flowers are removed, so the plant is given the lifeblood to advance forward in its purpose—to bring joy to those who look at them and care for them.

Such is life.  Take a few moments every week or so and prune the tired and wilted vestiges from your life.  Examine your life and make choices to cut yourself loose from bad memories of the past, people who do not support and advance you, a job that is a dead end, or fears that have kept you from pursuing happiness in your life.  Pruning away the negative in your life makes room for more good things to take their place.  Life is advancement.  We cannot advance when we cling to ideas that weigh us down.  It’s time for growth.


Happy Meal Part 2: Happiness Paired With Song

Course 1:  Gratitude—Acres of Diamonds is a wonderful story of appreciation and gratitude.  Show appreciation for where you are right now and gratitude for what you have in your life at this moment.  Daily thoughts of gratitude and acknowledgement for the gifts you have right NOW make your life better.  They also help you understand that you are pursuing happiness in the way that you intended to in your life; or in the alternative, what you must choose to do to get on track.  Enjoy “No Place” by Rufus Du Sol: https://soundcloud.com/rufusdusol/noplace

Course 2:  Wisdom & Faith—Life improves when we seek wisdom and have faith in what we’ve learned over time. Answers to big questions are found in faith when reason doesn’t seem to provide any solace.  People who have faithful beliefs in something bigger are nearly always happier people.  If crises and life’s issues cause more people to turn to faith and to seek wisdom beyond their conscious minds, only positive long term results are on the horizon.  Time spent in seeking wisdom and enhancing faith is time well spent.  Enjoy Ralph Stanley’s “Palms of Victory” and contemplate faith: https://soundcloud.com/ralph-stanley-official/palms-of-victory

Course 3:  Sound Body—You will never develop peace of mind until you have a sound body.  A sound body means BOTH free from disease and proper fitness.  There is no path to happiness without health.  When one’s mind is constantly occupied by illness there is little room for anything else.  The same applies to your fitness even though it is not so front and center at each moment.  Trousers that become too tight, huffing and puffing at the top of the stairs or sooner, seeing many chins in the mirror are all ways that we are more subtly reminded that our bodies are not sound,  Choose to become fit and healthy.  There is no equipment needed, no gym membership required and no additional time to find in the day.  Stop watching t.v., put down the phone, and get moving.  Walk, run, do push-ups, whatever it takes for whatever level you’re at—it’s time.  There are no excuses or alibis, only choices!  Contemplate over Alice in Chains’ “No Excuses”

Course 4:  Learning—Start learning something of value and be happier.  The education system, especially at the collegiate level and higher, is failing to teach anything valuable.  Find the wisdom yourself in the vast array of technology and resources now available.  There has never been a better time to learn because everything is at our fingertips.  Read anything form the classics to starting an on-line business, but for God’s sake, do not seek any kind of meaningless degree if you’re looking for happiness.  The happy don’t teach at universities; they pollute.  Cast aside schools and listen to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in Wall, Part 2”

Teaching Unhappiness

Babies are born blank slates with unwavering needs and wants. They are completely helpless and must be provided for at every moment. Parents fulfill those needs almost automatically. There is no thought of withholding the objects of an infant’s needs or wants; most often, they are one and the same. Food, clothing/diapering, and shelter are obvious needs for everyone. For infants, though, love, affection, cuddling, and other simple wants are given automatically as well. These developing, innocent minds do not need to make choices yet, but they certainly already know how to be happy. Fulfillment is easy and automatic; satisfaction results, as it should.

As children start to get a bit older, they begin to develop minds of their own, as parents like to say. The actual thought, and pursuit of happiness is present and strong. Children regularly run, play, and laugh in ways that adults rarely do. How often do you see an adult just spinning around with his or her arms out and head laid back, looking up at the sky? Children also say what they want and usually at least attempt to do what is required to get it—NOW. They are the ultimate pursuers of happiness because they purposefully take action toward their pursuits, but only until the years of mind pollution set in. This does not mean that parents should never say “no” to demands for candy at the supermarket checkout or to going outside before all the vegetables are gone. Parents must teach good sense and forbearance, so quelling some untimely or unseemly demands is a good lesson. But, there comes a transition time when youthful happiness transforms to gloominess and oftentimes downright hostility.

The teen years are definitely a time of learned behavior defined by a transition to adulthood. The tragedy is that learned behavior, by definition, must be taught by others. The fact that some folks are teaching young, impressionable minds how to be unhappy is a disturbing truth. Most cultures have some recognition of this life period, and so does nature. Naturally, puberty and menstruation enter life as signals of coming adulthood. Along with these changes comes awkwardness, self-doubt, and perhaps acting out. Much of this period is fraught with stalwart attempts to be young “men” or “women” similar to their parents or some other positive or negative role models. There is certainly at least some emulation of influential adults in bridging this gap from childhood to adulthood.

Societally in America, the changes thrust upon kids occur during the middle to high school years. Culturally, there are bar mitzvahs, sweet sixteens, or other celebrations that act as artificial gateways to adulthood. Presumably, the recognition of this period in a child’s life marks a transition to self-direction. A thinking person would then presume there would be some focus on positive pursuits, perhaps even happiness. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

There is, instead, a push for kids to become little adults and start acting that way. There is a big push to succeed in school and make it like a job, to spend all free time perfecting sport or piano playing, and to do stacks of homework until bedtime. These daily activities consume the lives of these smaller grown-ups. The irony of this cultural approach is that adults who moan about the “daily grind” begin pushing the same grind on their kids long before their children even have the sense to understand what is happening. Pursuing the grind so early is certainly shaping a bitterness toward life; and the more that is piled on in a negative way, the more likely the pursuit will be toward anything but happiness. Adolescents are not small adults, but they are being morphed into that image and mindset.

There is more piled onto these young learners during their transitional years. Along with the pressures to begin a path to success comes the first major introduction to collectivism. Cliques form in school with the in-crowd versus the nerds or the greasers/burnouts, the potheads, skate-boarders, or whatever labels have been applied throughout the different eras. The labels don’t really matter here. The fact is that these cliques that form this early in life are made up of the happy and the unhappy. Just consider for a moment the behavior of the teens involved.  Certain students participate in major activities, go to the parties and dances, join social or educational clubs, play sports, and so on. The others loiter around the hallways or school yard or maybe in neighborhoods, isolate themselves playing video games or in the tech world, or even roam the streets. Such others may complain about how they “will never be noticed by (or date) a cool guy,” speak of how “the prom queen ignores me,” or “I am too dumb to debate or go to the good college,” or whatever the learned alibi of the day may be. We have heard them all in our own lives; we’ve seen the television shows and movies depicting these well-established collectives, and we’ve read the novels endlessly telling stories of the awkwardness of adolescents. These people are never taught that America is about the pursuit of happiness; they are corralled into groups that foster bitterness and “only-ifs.”

The almost unbelievable fact is that adults continue this learned, and thus taught, unhappy behavior throughout their lives. It is impressed in their minds so firmly that it takes hold like an addiction. On a recent season of the reality series, Survivor, the whole show was premised on the concept of two groups, the “Davids” versus the “Goliaths,” opposing each other. The groups assumed these names, but also the actual roles for which they were labeled. These independent adults continued their “unaccepted by the cool kids” mantra as if they were still at Jefferson Middle School.

It’s astounding how this learned failure to pursue happiness can be accepted by so many people over years or even decades of life. Then, they teach to their younger peers or kids.  The use of the formative years to instill ideas of groupthink, and tyranny of the outcast truly is astounding if not tragic. But in no uncertain terms, these years transform an early life defined by the pursuit of happiness into a perceived grind that not only defies such pursuits, but provides excuses and alibis to those who fail to put to use the gift that the creators of America gave us. The serious, responsible, and unhappy adults teach impressionable minds how to be equally as unhappy, serious, and responsible.


Except from America, The Happy 

1 Survivor: David vs. Goliath. Directed by Jeff Probst. Figi, March 29, 2018-May 6, 2018: CBS.

Bring Back the Fuzzy Dice

When cars were big, made of good ole Detroit or Cleveland steel, burned regular gasoline and spewed out beautiful fumes, rear view mirrors were tricked out with a nice pair of fuzzy dice.  Kids rode in the giant back seat and no one even thought of putting on a seat belt. No more– we’ve apparently evolved.  

Now everyone needs a helmet even on tricycle and any affordable car is a plastic piece of junk.  The fuzzy dice stepped aside for the graduation tassel when it meant something to graduate from high school.  Now, the high school tassel is nothing but a baton signifying passage into a worthless college education where most “kids” go to become stupider and learn to be eternally unhappy.  We’ve evolved after all.

Enter the garter.  Tacky and perhaps a symbol of getting into some action.  There’s nothing like letting everyone have a look at a lacy symbol of stuff once not seen in public.  There is no shame in keeping certain things inside.  However, evolution has brought the clothing once donned only for exercise (or perhaps professional cycling or running) to the grocery store, the local Starbucks, every college campus and even the burger joint.  God help us.  We’ve evolved after all.

Everyone needs a breath of fresh year, especially when weed is in the air.  My favorite trend was the crown that hung so beautifully from the mirror like a 17th Century jewel may have adorned a thrown.  In fairness, they were soon removed from the mirror due to their obstructive nature, but they sat atop dashboards for several years like the feathered haircuts of the 80’s.  At least the car smelled good.  We’ve evolved after all.

There are endless other stupid devices and trinkets that have hung from mirrors and their evolution has been proportionate to the perpetual failure of the car owner.  (The hanging chad symbolically must fit somewhere in this category!)  How many air fresheners or garters have you seen displayed in a Ferrari or Rolls?  Those drivers have created their own trophies and they don’t hang them from the mirror.  Now, the eternally unhappy hang their masks form their mirrors just so everyone knows how unhappy they are.  The hanging mask is a wonderful practice for the happy though—we can easily identify the bitter and run like hell from them.  

The happy evolve by pursuit of happiness.  The unhappy stay tied to stupid ideas and no matter the form in which their bad ideas are regurgitated, the results are the same—something stupid.  Maybe evolution is not so good.  Maybe a bit of creation based on faith in oneself is the way to go.


Who Loves a Parade?

Life in America is not a battle though it may seem so currently..  Life in America is a parade.  There are people who march in the parade and pursue the happiness that comes with being part of the fun.  Then, there are those who stand and happily watch, perhaps wishing they were participating, but finding joy in the event.  Soon, they may take action and join the march because at least they can see it and aspire to it.  The rest are those who choose not to show up at all.  Parades march forward and never turn back.  Life, and especially expanding life through the pursuit of happiness, moves forward and does not turn back.  Those who do not love, join, and embrace the parade do not move forward; they stay still.  Those who do not show up, move backward and continue to do so until they finally decide to think and act in a new way.

America is happy because each individual’s pursuit of happiness is protected; it was declared by the Creators on that fateful day in 1776.  The challenge now is how the pursuit of happiness may be transformed from individual choice and action, to the action and choice of the many more.  This is an especially complex task in current American life because moving lives forward means overcoming the constant images of the unhappy. 

At any moment in America, there are those who choose to respect its gifts and those who choose not to.  Those with respect are far more likely to grasp its values and choose actions that pursue happiness.  Those who hate America will not so act.  If Adam Smith is correct, more people individually acting in a new way is all that America needs to be an even happier country.  Bertrand Russel said, “If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years.”  The key is to teach individuals to look at themselves and quit paying so much unnecessary attention to what others are doing.  Start with the proportion that taking a look inside oneself takes the most courage of any act.  Ayn Rand touched on this subject when she instructed people to “Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” In other words, before you can value others and their rights, you must first value yourself.

Fighting against things before one thinks and acts for oneself is the fundamental reason that too many people remain unhappy failures in a country that has done the most to make one successful.  In fact, the most counterproductive act one may take is to rage, resist or fight against anything else.  People need to act to make their thoughts and dreams turn into the things they want.  More and more people simply need to take the first and easiest step to join the parade.  They simply need to look into their own minds and ask whether they have ever thought about, and then acted upon, the pursuits of their own happiness.  While doing so, all of their past “reasons” or excuses, or supposed rational thought must be cast aside in favor of emotional thought.  Just as if it were asked of you when you were five years old, enthusiastically answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grown up [aka start living]?”  Maybe we did learn everything we needed to know when we were in kindergarten as the book by Robert Fulghum suggested.  Or maybe at five, our minds were not yet polluted with the unhappy teachings of others or the ability to “reason” sufficiently enough to quash all the means of pursuing of our happiness!

Those who do not show up for the parade stay away by choice.  If “reason” were the bedrock of virtue or illuminated the “meaning” in life, then it should be easy to convince the haters that they should not hate.  A simple, rational argument should be enough to demonstrate that in America everyone has the ability to pursue his or her own ideas created through their own imagination brought to life.  But, mere rational argument does not work because rational argument does not permeate the creative plane, instill faith in anyone or stimulate action.  Just like rattling off statistics, anyone can logically reason themselves into any belief they choose.  That’s why lies repeated over and over become truth for many and that’s why excuses become “rationalizations” why one cannot accomplish an alleged goal.  It is also why Scott Adams’ concept of “two different movies” is also a constant.  One group sees an event one way and the other group sees a whole different moving picture of the same event.  One will not convince the other when groupthink, collectivism and some agenda are at stake.

The only agenda should be putting the entire onus of thought and action on every single person.  This the Creators did and they were brilliant in doing so.  They said that everyone has “. . .the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Teach this thought and stop teaching that everyone has the obligation to pursue helping others.  Such is the only “collective” endeavor that will ever succeed; and, ironically it is the ultimate act of diversity.  Every single is person is different, with different thoughts and desires so there is zero discrimination and zero need for fairness or any advantage.  When each and every person chooses to first pursue his or her own happiness WITHOUT INFRINGING ON ANY OTHER PERSON DOING THE SAME, then paradise shall have been created.  In the meantime, we have America, and America is the closest place to paradise ever created.  It is the end point of the parade which no one ever sees unless one joins in the march! 

Excerpt (edited) from my book “America, The Happy”


Just an Excitable Group

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.


Is Happiness Against the Law?

Happiness is against the law.  Not literally, but the pursuit of happiness, i.e. liberty so often is.  Google any particular law and one will likely find a prohibition against something.  No spitting on the sidewalk, owning this kind of animal is prohibited, or the obvious laws like those that criminalize assault and robbery—for good reason.  The balancing of protective governmental intervention in our lives versus the liberty to pursue happiness is the foundational question of an organized society.  So, the question here is whether prohibition of action is actually a more stringent limitation on one’s liberty to pursue happiness than telling people how they must or should act (endorsing action)? 

Telling people how they must or should behave is a far greater infringement.  While the conclusion may seem counterintuitive, it its not.  Codifying legally acceptable behavior by some manmade list would automatically limit us in ways we may not even conceive.  On the contrary, there are infinite ways to pursue happiness.  What may be THE path for one may not even be considered by another.  The universe provides endless opportunity and what we conceive in our mind is our method of pursuit.  In other words, for every “thought-of” prohibition there are endless positive actions that may be imagined, then acted upon, to pursue happiness.  Attempting to list them automatically makes the opportunities negligible rather than abundant.  Only the unhappy think that way.

There is a second fundamental reason prohibitions are less limiting to liberty.  Man-created laws that prohibit behavior keep other men from encroaching on another’s pursuit of happiness.  Simply put, one man’s prohibition is all other’s liberation.  If the one man who would rob ten others is prevented from doing so, those ten others have retained their liberty to pursue happiness as they see fit.  With liberty comes responsibility and the laws remind one of these complimentary forces.  This idea is liberty’s notion that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Stopping robbery by one man provides an equal amount of liberty to the man not robbed. 

Thankfully, the number of people in the “unhappy ranks” of society will always be fewer than the happy because most see fit to obey the higher law of pursuit of happiness.  They are the ten and not the one.  

That’s why happiness is against the law—It’s only the laws that limit.  Man’s imagination and his pursuits of happiness that result are unlimited.


Sound Body, Sound Mind, Happy Soul

“A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world”~John Locke

Mind, body and spirit are often considered together and associated with the road to happiness.  John Locke’s quote evidences the contemplated relationship between the physical, mental and spiritual contributors to our being.  He also understood how pursuit of happiness is inextricably intertwined with personal liberty.  Happiness is a big deal in the larger context of life.  However, all too often, happiness and its pursuit are only considered in the context of one’s mood or disposition.  Such a narrow vision of happiness is self-limiting and unlikely to lead one in pursuit of happiness at all.  There is more to the journey and the starting point may be far from where most think it begins.

To pursue happiness, one must first become sound of body; then, the mind and spirit will follow.  Seem like a strange approach?  Perhaps, but a different approach often seems strange.  The fact that the idea seems strange or different is the reason why so many fall short of the happiness mark.  We’ve become more and more accustomed to achievement through “education” or “intelligence” or “finding ourselves” rather than taking action to improve ourselves.  Taking action to exercise is as simple as going for a walk, picking a healthy food as opposed to sugar, or spending thirty minutes lifting weights instead of thirty minutes on Facebook.  Sometimes the easiest path is the path not taken, perhaps because it just seems too easy.  It is.

There are several reasons why the body comes first and should come first.  First, we are visual people.  We evaluate everyone we see “at first sight” including ourselves.  Look in the mirror—does that image make you think, “I am happy?”  If yes, great because you are ready to move on.  If not, then you already have all the information and incentive you need to act.  Get a plan and improve yourself to the perfect body you were gifted at birth.  Second, think of the ol’ saying “if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”  Your health or lack thereof is your body.  If you want to have something that lasts then you must work yourself away from the nothing that ill health brings.  Getting your body right starts you on the path to getting the rest right as well.  Third, you have a moral obligation to yourself and to those you love to be your best.  Being your best makes them want to be their best right back.  Getting yourself on track, helping those you care about to get on track by advancing your life and pursuit of happiness all at the same time.

A sound body is key to a sound mind.  The mind is too often occupied by worry of ill health or self-deprecating thoughts related to weight or other issues.  Poor physical health and appearance have created innumerable cliques, divided people socially and caused endless mental suffering for those who have been ridiculed or even ostracized.  The number of such casualties is countless yet their suffering fades away into the fog of time without intervention.  The knee-jerk response to those of unsound body, whether ourself or another, is to reassure with “you look fine” or “you’re not over weight” and so on.  The current mindset that it is okay to be obese has complicated the issue further by accepting failure as the new normal.  Assuring others that it is okay to be of unsound body ensures that they will be of unsound mind and spirit as well.  That is right where the unhappy want you—within their ranks.  

Pursing the happiness created by pursuing a sound body through action right NOW changes your life.  Lying to others, or worse, to yourself by accepting anything less than a fit body is choosing to be unhappy.  Make a change.  Exercise your pursuit of happiness and get fit.  The others will follow as Locke recognized.


Pursuit of Happiness is the Only Cure to the Disease of Power

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.