the right to complain

so last week I wrote about the idea of purposefully NOT voting. i got a couple of comments mentioning that if i didn't vote that it'd be "ok" as long as i didn't complain.

i have a couple of responses to that.

1) not voting is a choice

the way i described it, my decision to “not vote” in the presidential election wasn’t about being apathetic to the voting process. it was instead me being active and choosing a third option - __ Democrat, __ Republican, _X_NONE. i was intending to cast my vote not only against the two majority parties, but also for the idea that there should be more alternatives.

2) not voting doesn’t take away my right to free speech

regardless of whether i vote or not, as an american i am given the right of free speech. so just because i choose not to cast a ballot doesn’t negate that right to voice my dissatisfaction with the ruling administration, party, or how mcdonald’s messed up my order. do those that vote have more rights to free speech than those that don’t?

in addition, complaining is an issue of the heart and mind. just because someone doesn’t vote in this election or previous elections doesn’t turn off the “complaining” switch in the heart and mind. someone may put duct tape over my mouth, but you can’t do that to my heart and mind. and aren’t i/you still complaining even if we don’t voice it?

3) does voting = complaining?

for those who mentioned that i shouldn’t complain if i don’t vote, may i turn the question around? is the only reason you do vote is so that you can complain? and what if the person you voted for is elected and then does something you disapprove of, can you still complain? or can you not because you’re the one the helped put them there? do you only get to complain if you vote and your “guy” loses?

i guess my viewpoint is why should we complain either way. does complaining ever accomplish anything? wouldn’t be better to take your dissatisfaction/disapproval and instead enact change? to actually do something about it?


and maybe that’s the whole point of voting. that it allows us to do something besides just complain. we’ve been given the privilege and the right to give our opinion on how the current leaders are doing. this was one of the things i remember my high school civics teacher saying, “there’s no need for laws requiring term limits, we as the people already have the ability to impose them, simply vote some one else in.”

in conclusion i’d like to leave you with this video, that helped convince me to not refrain from voting, even though i still think that “not voting” is a choice. :)

iPhone link (YouTube - 5 More Friends)