If You Vote, Don't Complain

It is commonly said that if you do not vote, you have no right to complain. Well, I disagree with this passé cliché and here is why:
Pardon me, but since when did the right as an American citizen to exercise free speech become usurped through the act of not voting? Maybe I missed that part in the First Amendment. Please, somebody point it out to me if you see it, because I don't.

Even with a right to vote, that does not mean one has to vote...does it? It means one can vote (once registered and allowed) if one chooses to vote. Again, maybe I missed something in all the amendments added to the Bill of Rights after Number 10, regarding the right to vote and how it means one has to vote and if one doesn't vote they aren't allowed to exercise free speech; and I welcome people to point it out to me.

To not vote, I argue, is a vote in favor of no government bureaucrats telling people how to live, how to work, and how to dole out their livelihood via taxes to the many hands of government 'rats waiting for their handout. 

Granted, most people have not had the privilege to hear Department of Revenue employees talk off the record the way I have and may not understand what bureaucrats can be like behind the public's back, but I do; much like comedy, they are not pretty.

That's why I counter the passé cliché by saying that those who do vote don't have a right to complain, and here is why: Voters encourage the clowns. 

To encourage the clowns (i.e., bureaucrats, politicians, lawmakers, etc.) to continue to do what they do in office is to be in approval of what they do in office, which is to decide what is best for everybody; and to give approval yet complain about what you gave approval for makes little sense to me. 

To not give approval, by not showing encouragement through the act of not voting, is, in itself, an objection and complaint against the system. However, to give approval, by showing encouragement through the act of voting, is cheering the system on while asking for more of the same.

Granted, it could be argued that not voting doesn't solve anything, but that only begs the question: what has voting solved if this is where we are? But I digress.

In fact, I include all the Proud Income Taxpayers of America in with the Proud Voters of America, as they, too, give nothing but encouragement via funding to an out-of-control system that should be stopped, not applauded to continue.

And yet, when I hear these Proud Voters and Proud Income Taxpayers gripe and grumble over their forced duty to fund the poppycock that is American government, I find it to be hypocritical and amusing, especially since they are the ones encouraging it to continue.

I don't get it. Why grumble? Why not be the Proud Voters and Income Taxpayers that they hold themselves out as when trying to sound better than protesters and resistors; and be proud they gave their approval for what the government henchmen have done in their name and with their money? 

Don't complain. Be proud that you, as a voter and income taxpayer, helped to make all these problems possible! 

In conclusion, whether people vote or don't vote, they all have the right to voice their opinions; because no matter what, they all are stuck living under a system they can't opt out of. Thereby, being forced to live with the problems gives everyone the right to complain about that which they have no control over; at the same time, they also have the right to do something about that which they have no control over, should they ever be so moved.

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Enbrethiliel said...


Fellow non-voter here! I'd take the "If you don't vote, you can't complain" crowd more seriously if non-voters were also no longer required to pay taxes. As it is, whether I like it or not, I make a fair contribution that helps the government to run the country. I do this every freaking day. That I don't also show up at the polling places once ever six years should be an insignificant detail.

You're right that not voting is as much a political act as voting--and one that every voter has the right to do!

In related news, I've been thinking for some time about how non-participation in something your community takes for granted can have cultural effects along the same lines as participation was originally intended to. For instance, if you homeschool (or unschool) in a community where most parents just automatically send their children to public school, you're still educating your own children . . . you're just doing it in a different way. But it doesn't have to be a way that threatens the established practice. It could even complement it!

Eve Penman said...