ENID, Okla. —
The United Nations has been in the news a lot lately, particularly here in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma House recently passed a measure to ban the U.N.’s Agenda 21.
Agenda 21 came out of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan dealing with sustainable development.
A number of state legislators, including our own state Sen. Patrick Anderson, are opposed to Agenda 21. Anderson says his main concern involves individual property rights. Anderson wrote the bill to ban Agenda 21 for the Senate, while Rep. Sally Kern, R-Bethany, penned the measure passed by the house.
Kern says Agenda 21’s aim is to acquire property rights and to get Americans to drive less because their vehicles burn fossil fuels.
I don’t know. It seems to me the U.N. hasn’t been terribly effective at anything over the years, spending most of its time rattling its sword and issuing empty threats that haven’t seemed to have deterred rogue nations like Iran, Syria and North Korea.
But many people feel Agenda 21 is an example of the U.N. trying to control our lives. There are plenty of conspiracy theories surrounding the U.N., including one accusing the U.N. of trying to craft a one-world government, the New World Order.
And now comes news the world body is trying to enter another area of our lives, our emotions. Wednesday was the U.N.’s inaugural International Day of Happiness.
The U.N. designated March 20 the International Day of Happiness, “Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.”
Basically the U.N. wants us all to be happy and wants us to try to make other people happy.
But what if we don’t want to be happy? A day that champions happiness and practically makes it mandatory treads on my fundamental rights.
Some days I just don’t feel like being happy and, in fact, would rather wrap myself in the comforting warmth of my grumpiness.
As Kern said of Agenda 21, “This is not a joke. It’s very real.”
Did the U.N. dictate that everybody be a sour puss on National Curmudgeon Day, which was Jan. 29? I think not. We grumps demand equal time.
Now they think they can tell us when to be happy? What is this, Agenda 22?
Happiness is a very personal, subjective thing. One person’s happiness is another’s pain.
For some people, like my bride, happiness comes naturally. For others, like myself, it is a struggle.
Some people are happiest when they are up to their elbows in yet another home improvement project, measuring, cutting, texturing, painting, plumbing and wiring the day away. I would rather pound my thumb with a hammer.
I, on the other hand, will happily spend hours reading or watching hours of anything that passes for sport. If they televised Bocce ball games, I’d probably watch.
I was not aware Wednesday was International Day of Happiness until it was already past. I don’t remember being particularly happy that day. I did not spend the day awash in joy and exhilaration.
Instead, I recall simply being my normal dyspeptic self.
People around the world marked International Day of Happiness in different ways.
In Bhutan, the nation that developed the concept of International Day of Happiness, they meditated. In Hong Kong, they did yoga.
In London there were happy flash mobs. In Washington, D.C., there were flash mobs offering free hugs.
I don’t meditate, yoga gives me leg cramps and the concept of being hugged by a mob of strangers creeps me out, but to each his own.
Don’t get me wrong. Happiness is good. If everyone were happy it would be a much better world, unless abusing and mistreating people makes you happy, in which case, you need help.
Maybe every day should be the International Day of Happiness. Would happy people go to war, or allow hungry people to starve? The quickest path to happiness seems to be doing something for someone else.
Bhutan, a small, landlocked Himalayan nation, has developed a Gross National Happiness Index, which it views as a far better measure of its people’s prosperity than any economic standard.
I’m not sure how that would go over here in the U.S., since we place such value on the pursuit of stuff.
A British organization, Action for Happiness, urges people to count their blessings. “People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.”
I am grateful for many things, among them being that I don’t lie awake nights worrying about Agenda 21.
OK, so maybe International Day of Happiness isn’t a bad idea after all. Just as long as they don’t tell me I can’t do one very important thing that makes me happy — being grumpy.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.