The “Right” Is WrongAugust 13, 2009Raynard JacksonAlways be weary when someone begins a sentence with, “I have the right---!” I can guarantee you that the next statement will not end with, “but I have a responsibility to--!”During these summer town-hall meetings, everyone has been asserting their “right” to be heard and speak before their fellow citizens. Well, the last time I read my constitution, I found no guaranteed right to speak at a public meeting, no right to be heard, nor a right to disrupt a meeting because you disagree with the views of others.We have created a culture where college students interrupt their own graduations because they don’t agree with the choice of speakers. If they don’t like the speaker, then don’t participate in the graduation. But, they do not have a “right” to be heard because they disagree with the choice of speaker.There is no constitutional “right” to walk into a Catholic Church service and to extol the virtues of being a Baptist. If you disagree with Catholicism, then find a church you agree with or start your own church with like minded people. But, there is absolutely no “right” for you to be disruptive.If your member of Congress is holding a town-hall meeting, you can participate in the discussion; but then you have the responsibility and obligation to sit quiet and let others voice their position.There is no question that Republicans are fanning some of this ignorance at these town-hall meetings. Republicans are supposed to be the party of values, but this vitriol directed at the president of the United States is embarrassing and should not be tolerated.I don’t have a problem with Republicans calling Obama out on policy! But this continued birther movement, comparing Obama to Nazis, and all the racial language directed at the Obama family, is beneath Republican principles. Republicans have a right to disagree with the Obama policies, but they also have the absolute responsibility to keep the rhetoric focused on policy, not all the extraneous issues.So, the Republican line is to cite examples of Democrats attacking former president Bush (the son). Well, that’s like one of your kids saying all of their friends stay out past midnight, so they should be able to as well. What others are doing is of no consequence. We Republicans are supposed to be a party of principles. We must expect more from our party. We must remain the party of principles, even when the opposition doesn’t.We must continue to honor and celebrate the right of free speech given to us by the constitution, but just as important is the responsibility that goes along with that right. Senator Jon Ensign and Governor Mark Sanford both have the right to remain in office, legally (after admitting to sexual affairs with other women); but they have the responsibility to resign because of the principles they violated. They violated the principles of fidelity to God, to their wives and to their families.It is not consistent with our party’s values to point to members of the Democratic Party who are guilty of the same transgressions. Either we are going to be a party of principles or we are not. But we must take a very public stand when it comes to upholding the principles we organized around.People have confused “being right” with having a constitutional right. Protesters who are interrupting these meetings feel that everyone has a “right to hear their opinions!” There is no right to interrupt a meeting.We must get back to the days when people respected the office of the presidency and congress. But, unfortunately, politicians haven’t exactly earned this respect of late. Like hamburger and French fries, like Abbot and Costello, so “rights” and responsibility go together.The “right” is wrong without the corresponding responsibility.Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm. You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Go to www.ustalknetwork.com to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.