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OK to Go: Americans Have Caught Happiness

I was riding in the black mirror Porsche 911 with the Floridian on a deserted alpine meadow road as the speedometer hit 130mph and we were just getting out of third. Florida Man has bonded with his Porsche over the last ten years so no sweat, I kept telling myself. The Floridian has also been a professional race car driver so no sweat, I kept telling myself. Our velocity didn’t bother me. One hundred and thirty, one hundred and forty, what’s the difference, I kept telling myself. I had accepted a James Dean death cab scenario.  “If I’m going out I’m going out happy,” I kept telling myself.

And I was. I was just that: Happy. What’s more, I believe I am seeing more and more people in this nation and at this time singing,

“The sun is shining, come on get happy
The Lord is waiting to take your hand
Shout Hallelujah, come on get happy
We’re going to the Promised Land “

And for right now, in this era, we have made it to the Promised Land. And what were the promises of that Promised Land? They were simple and were plainly stated right at the top in the Founding Document: “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

And right now, thanks to what has been transforming this nation for the past three years, more Americans than ever are not only pursuing happiness, most seem to have caught it. Over the recent holiday season, I consistently saw, even in my little corner of overtaxed California, more people than ever before shopping for gifts and full-featured feasting supplies in the stores. I saw more people than ever before in restaurants with their families — and not just the white-collar crowd but the working men and women as well. That’s important because where you’re a working stiff with two or three kids taking them to a restaurant even at the McDonalds’ level can be a significant expense.

Not these days it would seem. Working folks and their families are back in the restaurants and not just the Chinese Buffet or Golden Corral either. This means, among other things, that the boom is locked in for a number of years into the future and the working people are confident their lot has improved and will go on improving. This was not always the case in the recent past. But it is now.

A working man I know told me about a month ago that since the beginning of 2017 his family income (his wife works too and they have two children)… his family income has gone from $40,000 a year to $60,000. Regardless of how much more wealthy than this you may or may not be, everybody understands that a hit like that from the money machine is life-changing for any family. The money hit means things like education savings for the kids, a real vacation and not a staycation; it means a few nights out for the couple with a baby sitter, it means you can pay down debt, it means savings that mount towards homeownership; it means… happiness.

And it does not mean just happiness “pursued.” It means happiness caught. And it is not a happiness that is made by money. No, it is happiness found in the things that money secures: food, family, freedom from care, and most importantly their future.

There are the failed, the insane, the wounded and the left-behind and those whom this new era has made hateful of the prosperity and insane over the origins of that prosperity. But they are not even a smidgen of a tittle of a jot of the 325 million American souls. For the vast majority,  Americans are looking at the next chapter in our story, and are “OK to Go.”

So…. like the man says,

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  • John the River February 7, 2020, 1:42 PM

    Someday a history of this point in time will be written, it can’t be now, it’s to early. But someday.
    Hopefully that writer will be talented. If we’re lucky that writer will be intelligent and do his research.
    If we’re really lucky he’ll be Vanderleun good.
    Hopefully he’ll have trouble capturing and expressing the great differences in the time that came before and the times that came after. Like the turbid stinking flow of a moribund river that passes through the cataracts and over the falls; picking up speed and oxygen, becoming a life giving torrent with life and energy.
    Because I really feel that a permanent change has taken place. I hope and believe that because of this time the future will be changed for the better.
    Because one man came to town to fight, and just as important, taught others to fight.

  • ghostsniper February 7, 2020, 1:44 PM

    I’m just as happy as I always am.
    It starts within.
    Absent within, without doesn’t matter.
    That’s sorta the idea behind “Money can’t buy happiness.”

    Perhaps you are alluding to “less tense”.
    Yes, I am less tense of late, and that’s nice.
    Not relaxed, more like, code yellow.
    Never go below code yellow, ever.

    But, don’t turn your back.
    THEY are still out there.
    And they are seething.
    They’ve taken an ass whippin and nobody likes to take that.
    They are secretly-silently rallying for the next round.
    Impatient little shitstains, they won’t make you wait long.
    Maybe a week. Maybe 2. No more than 3.
    Imagine that evil old witch in the back of your fairy tale mind stirring that cauldron full of nasty poison. You know who that witch is and who she’s stirring that poison for. Don’t you? Yes, yes you do.

    The next time they rear up you might be too close to the fray. Next time you may get drawn in. Next time they might make some headway. Where are those 10,000 minute men?

  • Terry February 7, 2020, 2:23 PM

    @ John the River- “Because one man came to town to fight, and just as important, taught others to fight.”

    I see the same vision. Donald Trump is an inspiration as much as a President of the USA. It is our turn as Americans to follow the Trump example and thrive as free people.

  • Terry February 7, 2020, 6:32 PM

    Okay Gerard. Who is the guy driving the 911?

  • Vanderleun February 7, 2020, 9:02 PM

    As a friend and a driver he is very very good. Also, he does rescue at sea: In the Stream

  • Jeff Brokaw February 8, 2020, 7:56 AM

    “Those jobs are never coming back” – Barack Obama.

    Well sure, if you actively work to prevent it with globalist treaties and excessive taxation that drive American jobs overseas and stifle investment and growth. Maybe try doing the opposite!

    Trump is the anti-Obama… “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” – Jerry Seinfeld

    Growth, growth, and more growth. That’s how our economy has to work, and no one should be surprised that a billionaire businessman real estate mogul gets that, since to grow his business he had to rely mainly on street smarts, reading people, and master negotiating and persuasion skills instead of becoming fat and lazy by relying on rent-seeking advantages via lobbyist influence in DC, which has become the standard m.o. for so many CEOs any more.

    I have come to believe that real estate developer is close to an ideal training ground for president.

  • Terry February 8, 2020, 11:24 AM

    Thanks Gerard. Captain Monroe could be in my circle anytime.

  • James ONeil February 8, 2020, 12:07 PM

    Just out of curiosity Gerald, is Capt. M. the FL Keys guy in whose desk you left a ….
    Naw, don’t answer that. 😉

  • Vanderleun February 8, 2020, 12:58 PM

    Errrr….. ahhhh…. well…. ok…. ah

  • James ONeil February 8, 2020, 4:19 PM

    Thanks Gerald, as I tip two well deserved Jameson toasts to Capt. M.!