Friday, January 19, 2018

Pursuit of happiness is not a guarantee of happiness

I believe that people are inherently decent, charitable, and fair. I believe in the goodness of humankind. I think that nine times out of 10, when a citizen is allowed to live by the dictates of his own conscience, he will act in a way that strives for harmony with his surroundings, his neighbors, and his world.
It doesn’t matter what his political affiliations are. Doesn’t matter what side of the global warming debate that he is on. Doesn’t matter if he’s vegan, gay, racist, Buddhist, a billionaire, a beggar, sloppy, happy, sappy or glum.
Or it shouldn’t matter, anyhow. But all these things - all these very personal aspects of a person’s life and experiences - come into play when we politicize, legalize and ostracize. And this is what is tearing our country apart. Should gay marriage be legal? No. Should it be illegal? No. Should people be forced to buy health insurance? No. Should other people then be responsible for their hospital costs? No. None of this should even be the business of our government. Our constitution acknowledges a creator who has endowed each of us with certain unalienable rights which are: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a simple concept, but so profound. To me, it says that we have all been given a life, and freedom to live that life in our own way.
And the pursuit of happiness? Well, that is up to you. That is where your choice comes in. We are not guaranteed happiness, just the pursuit of it. You got a problem with that? Take it up with your maker!
If we could just return to the beautiful simplicity of this document and a basic set of laws that only punishes real criminals, our country would naturally cleanse itself of the divisive feelings that have recently begun to saturate its roots. No nation should legislate how its citizens act or think, or what they can say, or eat, or buy. These things can be decided by the individual. And if the individual is vulgar, or bigoted, ignorant or indignant, so be it. That person will live by the choices he makes. Schools, churches and businesses should have the right to conduct their programs in accordance with their community, their parishioners, and, in the case of a private company, the person paying the bills! This means that only those directly involved in any of these institutions should have any say.
I truly believe that the overall anger in this country these days is fueled by the blatant disregard - by our government - of our personal freedom to choose and live how we see fit, for our own selves and our families. Live and let live. Live free or die. Life is for the living. Live, love, laugh. Whatever motto you most closely live by, you deserve the chance to exercise your agency in this great land of liberty!
Audrey Steinfeldt
Reed Point