Rights come with responsibilities
Davis Merritt’s commentary “Social media give mindless speech a free pass” (May 12 Opinion) established a number of good points but sidestepped the real issue – individual responsibility.
All you hear about these days are rights. Don’t you dare violate my rights. For the past three or four decades, rights have been the banner subject of the media and of many organizations, to the complete detriment of the opposite side of the coin: responsibilities.
Rights, all rights, come with responsibilities. That simple fact has been ignored for so long that there is a major lack of respect for that basic concept of civilization on display in this country. Why should we care what we say or do if there are no consequences for our actions?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
What happens when one person’s rights trample another’s? There has to be a point where the courts take a stance against the blatant abuse of common sense and civil relations. That doesn’t mean trash the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It means there is a point where our actions and words become weapons that are just as detrimental to a free society as our rights to act and speak are to maintaining that society.
That individuals freely, almost defiantly, exhibit those characteristics exposes the lack of restraint that comes with a lack of a sense of individual responsibility. There has to be a balance, and the courts have to take the lead.
Regarding “Expand trade with Cuba” (April 24 Eagle Editorial): It is my opinion that the longest and cruelest dictatorship in the history of the Americas should not be rewarded for its denial of the Cuban people’s freedoms.
It is shameful that the United States, as the world leader of all democratic countries and a champion of the cause of human rights and liberties, would consider subsidizing the Castro brothers’ tyranny and prolonging the misery and suffering of the Cuban people. Apparently how we make a dollar is not a moral consideration to us anymore.
Two things are well-known: First, President Obama’s “negotiations” with the Castro regime lack much transparency. Second, the Castro brothers will never concede an inch of their Stalinist power.
Are we to confer the Castro brothers all kinds of privileges in return for nothing? Don’t the Cuban people have the right to have the same freedoms that we so dearly value and enjoy here?
Shouldn’t we demand democratic reforms, free elections and respect for human rights before we disregard all our sacred democratic moral values and principles in order to benefit the Caribbean dictator with yet another survival kit, now called “expanded trading”?
MANUEL A. ALFONSO
“Book, art fair disaster” (May 16 Letters to the Editor) expressed my exact thoughts about the Art and Book Fair. Indeed, the books were old and sad. Mainly we were missing the Wichita artists, Kansas artists and other Midwestern artists that we look forward to seeing every year. One can get old books anywhere.
Letters to the Editor
Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.
Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202
For more information, contact
Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, firstname.lastname@example.org.