I think about happiness a great deal of the time but I don’t think about George Will very often.  To me, he’s a smart old guy who opines in print (Washington Post) every week and on news shows occasionally…and maybe he isn’t all that old.

In a recent column, George Will quotes Fred Allen as saying that television enables us to have in our living room people we wouldn’t want in our living room.  That’s not only funny—it’s also true.  Much of the time the news features people furiously screaming (usually at a school board or town hall) about one of the issues of the day; the amount of anger out there is deeply distressing.

With no clear path to decrease the problems of our divided country— a worldwide pandemic, homelessness, hunger and global warming to name a few—happiness can be a scarce commodity.  At least, it is for some of us.  In our house, we watch too much news and it does nothing to increase happiness.

 George Will says our current national discontents will diminish if, but only if, Americans adhere to two categorical imperatives: “They should behave as intelligently as they can, and should be as cheerful as is reasonable.” He concludes that, for Americans, the pursuit of happiness is happiness. I tend to disagree, but as I write this my spouse is pursuing happiness by turning off the news and instead watching Young Frankenstein down the hall. I guess he is pursuing happiness. From the sound of things, George Will has a point.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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