In this essay, I will explain what “The Declaration of Independence” says about the people’s right to happiness and compare it to David Simon’s essay “There Are Now Two Americas. My County is a Horror Show” and what he believes about Americans enjoying the same rights. David Simon believed that happiness involves money, land and opportunity. Lastly I will give my opinion on what I believe the right to pursue happiness involves and means. According to the first draft of The Declaration of Independence, people’s rights were being ignored by the King. Thomas Jefferson once said “mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed” (Jefferson,1), this is telling us that the people are allowing the corrupt government to take over their life and put them through suffering that they do not deserve or want. “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (Jefferson, 1), this one ruler mentality also known as absolute monarchy lets the ruler have full control of everything and has no limits on his wishes or power.
This type of government allowed the one ruler or king to take away people’s right to be heard, seen and ultimately their happiness. One would think that because they live in the United started of America everybody gets treated equally, but in reality, they are wrong. In David Simon’s essay “There Are Now Two Americas. My County is a Horror Show”, Simon expresses his view on how Americans are not enjoying the same rights as others and how rich people have taken over the government. Simon also says “You witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into congress” (Simon, 3). He believed that rich people bought the government with their money so they could make more money and be richer. The lower class was always fighting to get basic need services such as healthcare and education.
Most were at risk of becoming drug addicts and/or homeless. Many immigrants or citizen just wanted to live the American dream, which is considered the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility that one will achieve through hard work. David Simon believed that money, land or to have opportunity to live a happy life is not based on money. Simon considers that with a minimum wage salary, a small home and a fair government you will be able to pursue and eventually acquired complete or full happiness. He says that the government has only helped the working class by raising wages and going into war so they can win more land and build more factories.
In his essay, Simon says “It took a working class that had no discretionary income at the beginning of the century, which was working on subsistence wages. It turned it into a consumer class” (Simon, 2). The government has converted our people into working animals that only care about making or earning more money to waste it on unnecessary stuff they like but do not need. The engine that drove them to this gullible mentality was the ability to make money and realizing that they are able to afford everything they want and desire even when this desires are not needed.
Having a fair society is being able to have moral choices without jeopardizing happiness. “Are we all in this together or are we all not?” (Simon, 5), David Simon is asking that as Americans we have to work together as a team to ensure everyone has their basic rights and happiness. He believed that capitalism is a good way of making money but it does not solve moral problems. “The other thing that was there in 1932, that isn’t there now is that some element of the popular will could be expressed through the electoral process in my country” (Simon, 5), he goes to say this because in 1932 the government bought the elections and the people of America were not able to choose their government.
I believe that the right to pursuit happiness involves you speaking up when you feel your unalienable rights are being violated. The key word is pursuit, we all have the right to go after the things we want and what we think will make us happy; but happiness is not guarantee, is just the ability to look for it. Furthermore, happiness is not an entitlement either. We all have the right to take action for our own happiness as long as one’s rights are not being infringed. Unalienable rights are given to all human beings by their creator. It is the government’s responsibility to protect them without violating them. Finally, live life in a manner that you believe will lead you to happiness.
Courtney from Study Moose
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