With rights comes responsibility

By By Nicholas Pappas and By Nicholas Pappas

By Nicholas Pappas

A few years ago, I sat in a hotel suite downtown: two bedrooms, a full kitchen, empty bottles and a desperate fool. I’d invited everyone I knew to celebrate the dethroning of Dubya — a man with his head in the clouds and his feet in quicksand. As any “Quantum Leap” fan can attest, it was time to make right what once went wrong.

The paragraph above is dramatic irony. You know what happened next. I found myself staring at the TV screen alone. The party ended hours early — it was hard to stay chipper and awake. I didn’t go to work that day, didn’t even call in. Being a capitalist seemed trivial at the time.

I was ashamed to be an American.

I was upset that George W. Bush had won. I was upset the Democrats were outsmarted. But mostly, I was upset for one important reason: I didn’t think the American people could be trusted anymore. Despite glaring facts, the people had spoken. We exercised our right to vote, and we made a drastic mistake.

The last two years have only proven that mistake. Bush’s approval rating is as high off the ground as a snake. The U.S. House and Senate belong to the Democrats. And, in spite of it all, Bush wants to send 21,000 more troops to Iraq. He believes the way to make things taste better is by throwing more ingredients into the stew. It smells terrible, and it’s our own fault.

We are reaching an important time in our lives. We voted and messed up. America is a free nation. It was founded on the belief that its people were strong and could be responsible to make the right decisions. No one can take away your rights, but with them comes responsibility.

Educate yourselves. No one will take away your right to protect your family, but I worry about the kind of people who would choose to carry a concealed weapon. I can only hope that they know damn well when to use it and when to keep it concealed.

No one will take away a woman’s right to have an abortion. It is her body and her choice–always. Still, I worry about those who choose that path for the wrong reasons. With proper protection and planning, abortion can be avoided and should always be a last resort.

Most of all, I worry about what will happen next election. It seems so obvious what should happen, but it’s seemed that way before. Perhaps the Republicans will bring forth a candidate firm on global warming and dedicated to pulling the troops from a fruitless war, but I have my doubts. They’ll be too caught up in razzle-dazzle, mocking the opposition and putting pork in their pockets.

Does the average American really understand the gravity of the rights that so many have fought to preserve? Do we understand just how meaningful it is to be able to vote for our leaders? Only time will tell.

There’s a Bushism you can find in desktop calendars. Dubya fumbles around his words, finally spitting out, “The fooler won’t get fooled again!” What he meant to say was the old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

We’ve all been fooled twice. Shame on us. Before you make a decision, take some time to think about what the responsible choice would be.