07/17/11 — Choices: Personal responsibility includes the right for adults to say 'no'

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Choices: Personal responsibility includes the right for adults to say 'no'

From redistricting to demanding voter identification at the polls, the usual suspects are out in full force saying that either move will reduce the franchise rights of minorities in North Carolina.

What they mean, of course, is that more people who are proven to be more likely to stay at home, are going to find more reasons to do so if it is harder to vote. And that, they worry, will skew the outcome for one party over the other.

And by the way, it is not just minorities who stay home. Other people of all races make the choice to not cast their ballots for a variety of reasons.

And to that, any sane thinking American should say -- that is their right.

The truth is that this is a nation where people can make their own choices.

They can decide to pursue an education or make the choice to drop out of school. They can choose to have a say in the future of their community, state or federal government -- or they can stay home.

It is really time that this nation return to the days when personal responsibility included not having your hand held. The option is there if you want it, but if you don't, no one can or should force you to take it.

If you choose not to do whatever is necessary to cast your vote, you are not being discriminated against. You are choosing not to take part in a right that is guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution.

And, by the way, this theory works in other areas, too. If you attend school and decide that what you want to do is drop out and sell drugs, or if you do not take advantage of the chance you have to learn the skills you will need later in life, that is also your choice.

It is really impossible to legislate adults to make good choices. And quite frankly, there are better places to put taxpayers' money.

However, there is a place where a little push just might bring better results.

So, instead, let's use more money and effort to push young people to make the right choices. Let's spend money to encourage them to stay in school, to avoid drugs and to seek out the education that will give them the freedom to live a productive and happy life.

Let's offer them mentors, give them encouragement to pursue their dreams and teach them the all-important lesson that your future lies inside you -- if you are willing to do the work to make it a reality.

And that way, when they are adults, we will not have to hand-hold. They will understand that if you do not like the neighborhood you live in, you can work hard to get out of it, and if you want a say in the direction of your country, you have to get out and vote.

Redistricting has been a politicial tool for generations -- and for anyone to pretend that the Republicans in North Carolina are the first to think of it, is simply a lie. If we do not like it, we can change it, at the ballot box. Rest assured, either party in power would have made the same choices, no matter what the talking heads say.

The best part about being an American is having the right to make mistakes, to take chances and to live your life by your own rules.

It is time to stop legislating decisions that should be made by adults.

It is simply not fair to the rest of us who have already made the choice to make our voices heard -- and to demand fairness, responsibility and accountability in the election process.

Published in Editorials on July 17, 2011 12:21 AM