If You Don’t Vote, You Can Complain

8 11 2012

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

I think this point deserves some further intellectual development, beyond my superficial treatment of it here in this space in the past.

This (not so) bon mot about “if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain” is probably the most stupid bromide that is tolerated as common sense in American political discourse.

For anyone to say that non-voters don’t have a right to complain is not only plainly wrong on its face, (the First Amendment doesn’t allow for Congress to abridge the civil liberties listed therein for people who don’t vote, meaning non-voters have the right to freedom of speech, assembly, REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES (i.e. complaining), etc.), but think about the message you’re communicating if you say and think it:  For you to say that people who don’t vote don’t have a right to complain is the equivalent of giving government or even private actors the permission to pave over and brutalize people who don’t vote.

The political process is necessary to make murder a crime and hire the agents who investigate homicides, arrest the suspects, and try and convict and punish the murderers.  For you to say that people who don’t vote have no right to complain is also saying that it’s not a crime to murder people who don’t vote.

Another issue:  Why do we assume that people who don’t vote don’t have an opinion or don’t care?  Not voting is a form of voting and expressing a political opinion, if you think about it.  (There were 11 million fewer ballots cast for any Presidential candidate in 2012 compared to four years ago.  Do you think that at least some if maybe not most of those 11 million non-voters were trying to send a message?)  Hell, not having an opinion about anything could be construed as having an opinion.  And they all have rights in this world, or they should have.

To net it out, you have a right to bitch, moan and complain 364 days of the year then not vote on the 365th, and if your bitching, moaning and complaining is rooted in some public or private foul play or malfeasance, your non-voting on the 365th day doesn’t mean that those doing you dirt shouldn’t be punished, and it doesn’t mean that public and private actors shouldn’t practice the self-restraint necessary for you to be able to exercise your rights.

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4 responses

8 11 2012
rjp
8 11 2012
JT

An election day I’ll be home doing essentially the same thing as you, the only difference is when I get finished masturbating I’m going to have a little something to show for it. – George Carlin

8 11 2012
Abandon TV

Some people talk about ‘voting’.

“Are you going to vote?”
“You should vote!”
“It’s important for us to all vote” etc etc

Some people talk about ‘voting for this person’ or ‘voting for that person’.

“Are you going to vote for Obama?”
“You should vote for Romney”
“It’s important to vote democrat” etc etc

But nobody talks about what they are actually voting to be *done* to other people. Surely this is the most important part? The core of the whole democratic process is FORCING OTHER PEOPLE to do (and pay for) things they object to.

We do not ‘vote’ for candidates and parties to just get into office, nor do we vote for them to do stuff just for us as service providers. A simple payment We vote for candidates and parties to get into office and immediately start wielding virtually unlimited power (ie force, coercion, intimidation, threats, violence) against everyone else so that our favourite policies get implemented and enFORCED.

“I’m voting for John!”
“What?”
“I’m voting for John!”
“You’re voting for John to do what?”
“I’m voting for John to threaten YOU with being locked inside a cage so that you’ll fund the policies and programs I want to be implemented”

This is the insane (and totally immoral) reality of voting. To ‘vote’ is to vote for force to be initiated against other people by a third party (a government) acting on your behalf (as your ‘elected representatives’). But no one ever talks about it in this way. We have all been trained by government education / media etc to take the coercion and violence of the state for granted. In fact most people do not even see it.

But one only has to imagine voting for other services such as mobile phones to see how immoral (and totally ridiculous) ‘voting’ really is. Imagine being forced to switch mobile phone companies because the majority of phone users ‘voted’ to elect a different company to govern the nation’s mobile phone services.

However, I guarantee that if we’d all been brought up from childhood to view voting for a national mobile phone ‘government’ as normal, most people would not question it.

And people would say:

“Hey, if you don’t vote (to impose your favourite mobile phone provider onto the rest of society) you have no right to complain!”

9 11 2012
Puggg

About 58% of people legally eligible to vote actually voted yesterday. The other 42% have a right to complain about anything they want.




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