Dick Popovich is the owner of America’s Choice, a bookstore that sells patriotic and religious literature, as well as U.S.-themed items. Like many stores around the country, it has been running out of American flags lately, but stickers depicting Old Glory and patriotic T-shirts are still available. Popovich, a former American history teacher, and his wife, Valerie, have lived in the area for 11 years. America’s Choice, which opened in July, is at 1353 Baring Blvd. in Sparks.
What is America’s Choice?
It’s a store for anybody [who’s] patriotic and wants to find out what’s going on in the country, and just likes bookstores.
What gave you the idea to open this store?
I’ve been [wanting this] for 32 years. … I just decided that this was the right time to do it. This spring we started to put our plans together for it. I think it’s kind of amazing that the name came up, America’s Choice. I think that now, because we do have a choice—either we can choose to be free, or we can choose to be slaves. It fits in with this [Sept. 11] situation. It was almost prophetic, I think.
How do you feel about America’s recent surge of patriotism since the Sept. 11 attacks?
It’s very nice to wave the flag and show that type of support. But one of the things that has to be done before we can turn this mess around is for people to learn the principles of the Constitution and have an idea of what the founding fathers would do in these situations, because the Constitution is just as relevant today as it was in [the 18th century]. … If we would follow [the Constitution], most of our problems would disappear. We have too many politicians and not enough statesmen in this country. My definition of a statesman is a person who will do what’s best for this country and do what is right, rather than do what is politically expedient.
What are your opinions about America’s war on terrorism?
It’s only the beginning, and people are going to have to be prepared emotionally, psychologically and spiritually to handle this. If this country doesn’t turn back to God, if we don’t go back to our original foundations that this country was built on, then we’re going to lose. … If we don’t turn ourselves around and clean up our own mess in our own back yard, then all of this is going to be in vain. … The good news is, if we do the right thing and we turn things around and study the Constitution … then we can turn the country around. It can be done very quickly if we follow those principles.
What principles should Americans follow?
Thomas Jefferson made a statement that in America we should be friends to all and [do] special favors for none. Treat everyone equally. If we were doing that, if we were treating all other nations equally, then they wouldn’t have anything to complain about. No "most favored nation" trading status. No foreign aid. Those kinds of things. Let people work out their own problems in their part of the world, because as soon as we get involved, then they hate us.