Dear Mr. Eller,
How silly of you to buy into that survey. Would I be 15 percent more likely to be happy were I to switch parties? No, there is no causal relationship between party affiliation and happiness. In fact, if there is anyone whose mainstay of contentment is their political party, I’d say they should seriously reorder their priorities.
Still, in the feeling of fraternity, let’s inspect your happiness quotient. You suggest that Republicans are happier because they maintain perspective during wartimes. I agree, but let’s call “perspective” what it is: Distance. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to ask Iraqis without running water how happy they are and gauge the answer by their political party? Much less plausible would be asking people in concentration or internment camps to maintain perspective. Questioning our political affiliations in relation to our contentment is a luxury we as Americans can afford, right? So pretty much, the reason we’re happy is because bombs aren’t dropping on our houses, civilians aren’t being shot on our block, we have running water and an ocean of distance between our happy lives and the urgency of air-raids and genocide.
We happy 30 percent Democrats and 45 percent Republicans are guilty of being too far from the action to empathize with those who suffer. But you are more guilty, still. For your article is a clear attempt to placate yourself and your party to a world that begs for your concerned attention.
English grad student