Editorial: Happiness As an Act of Will

August 29, 2018 7:06 PM0 comments

It was Abraham Lincoln who said that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

With all the mental and moral torment being caused by the current White House, and the legions of sycophants who can always be counted on to make things worse, focusing on the positive, and on a brighter future, may be the best way to cope. It is certainly the most productive.

In this issue, the main stories on Page One take this approach. In Mayor Tarter’s annual State of the City interview with the News-Press, the tone is optimistic and can-do. There can be so much to gain from an upbeat approach to the City’s future that it would be sad for anyone to miss out. The groundbreaking on the 4.3 acre Founders Row project is expected before the end of September, and things are proceeding apace with the project of building an all-new, state of the art high school.

The plans are in from the three finalists in the City’s bidding process for a design-build partner to bring dense economic development to 10 acres of the school campus land designed to offset the cost of the new school. Those final replies to the City’s request for detailed proposals will give a crack team of experts a lot mull over in the next weeks before the choice is made in October on the winning plan. It should be a very exciting time for all these things.

But none of that can match the final two months of the campaigns for the midterm elections coming up. It appears that this could be a truly impactful election, turning control of Congress over to the Democrats in a way that will confirm the remedy for bad government that the Founding Fathers envisioned.

It is beginning to appear that, yes, the promise of the Blue Wave this fall will materialize, and it will be led by women and youth. The energy that is already being felt from this will be put to the good use of reclaiming policies grounded in the generosity of spirit that has always been the hallmark of this democracy.

It must be accompanied by a redoubled effort to elevate the core Enlightenment values upon which America was founded, as the are found in the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and the Constitution. These documents make for some of the best and most inspiring reading around, and it would behoove all of us to dust them off and spend time refreshing the ideas and values that we may have first encountered in high school civics.

There is an inherent generosity in these documents, an implied notion that all human beings are worthy of an exercise in democracy that commands the best from each and every one.

The age of postmodern nihilism, cynicism, cruelty and selfish self-interest that has plagued the nation for the last half-century must now end.

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