It’s a longstanding political trope that people are drawn to candidates who present themselves as Happy Warriors. As the related link in the Atlantic indicates, the epithet has been applied as praise to a long list of figures including Hubert Humphrey, Horatio Nelson, and Al Smith. In the 2020 election Americans may have a choice between Joe Biden, a onetime Happy Warrior (see related link) now stuck in the basement complaining by videoconference, and Donald Trump, a Warrior who’s only Happy because he’s busy ignoring reality.
William Wordsworth wrote in the poem, “Character of the Happy Warrior”:
WHO is the happy Warrior? Who is he What every man in arms should wish to be? —It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought: Whose high endeavours are an inward light That makes the path before him always bright: Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn, Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, But makes his moral being his prime care;
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