America: Land of the Free, home of the Brave. But what makes us free? What makes us Brave? More than two centuries ago, when these words were composed, America was all about living with the utmost defense of your rights and responsibilities. But today, the the meaning of rights and responsibilities has lost its meaning. People have forgotten the basic premise that with your rights come the responsibilities of citizenship.

The case in point is clearly visible in the 2000 Presidential Election. Firstly, voter turnout in the United States is roughly 50%. Why are only half of the people in our nation voting when the question at stake is who will lead us? In Florida, there was a huge dispute about the fairness of ballots, and the ballot being unfair to ethnic minorities. Regardless of what people find to bicker and complain about, in the end, it all comes down to, "Why the hell didn't you read the directions?" This is your vote. This is not some inalienable right that is granted to everyone on the planet. In some places, you may vote, but your vote means nothing. In other places, you will be forced to vote for someone regardless of your opinion for fear of harm. Worse yet, some places don't even allow citizens to vote. This is a right that people have fought very hard to gain, so why is it being neglected in every which way?

Another major battle being fought in society today pertains to abortion. Does a woman have the right to do anything she feels to her body, or does her unborn child have the right to life? My opinion is, 'what difference does it make?' My belief is that abortion is a right. But, with this right comes one of the most significant responsibilities that one can ever carry. If a woman is pregnant, she has the responsibility to decide early on whether to abort. If one is diagnosed with cancer, he can't wait until it's fully grown to decide to get treatment. With pregnancy, a woman should not wait until late term to abort. But the fact remains today that people are arguing about abortion. The problem is that in the battle, rights are being pitted against responsibility. This should not be the case.

With our freedom today, we are allowed to do pretty much whatever it is we please. So why is it that we choose to destroy ourselves by neglecting our responsibilities?