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Once people knew how to live in harmony, now the silence of nature reaches few.
Chief Dan George
Some say: If you don't vote, you can't complain.
The real truth is this: If you do vote, you can't complain.
Think about this: The person who does not vote (and does so out of thoughtful deliberation and self-education of all the issues, rather than mere laziness), is governed without his consent. This person never took any positive action to accept this 'social contract'. If government gets its 'just powers' from the consent of the governed, then the government can have no just power over the person who didn't vote, or voted for the losing candidate. Yet the fact that the government has power over him is unfortunately undeniable, but there is no justice in that power - and so, no injustice in any actions the non-voter may take to limit or evade that power, except those actions which are, at face value, lawless regardless of the current status of the Government.
If we want to talk about people who have no right to complain, I'd say the first people we should look at are the faithful 'lever pullers' voting to keep these corrupt people in office, with minimal accountability.
Please understand, I'm not saying "don't vote", and I am not saying there's no value in it. What I'm saying is, there are many good reasons why one might abstain from it. Vote if you want, but let's cut the shame and the judgement of those who choose not to. Especially since I think it would be best to look at the systems you're actually contributing to with how you choose to exercise your vote, before opening your mouth to make judgements against anyone else.
And honestly, even if all of this is just hogwash, considering that we pay thousands in taxes every year, the idea that skipping an election disqualifies my right to an opinion is one that just makes absolutely no logical sense. So all of you screaming about anyone else's right to exercise our freedom of speech come down from your high horse and take a seat.
Most US citizens are taught that they were granted a voice by some unknown government document and that they should "use their voice" by quietly and obediently filling in a little rectangle with a black mark, I say defy the status quo, go beyond the prescribed "solutions", and utilize instead the art of persuasion. In other words, use your ACTUAL voice to bring about change. I say if you want to express yourself on so-called political matters then think outside the box; that is, the ballot box.
So what do you do if you don't vote? What can you do? What can you do if you don't use your "voice" to choose your governing officials? You complain, protest, speak against, those who would use their power via elected office, as well as those who would use power through bureaucracy and the state's enforcement systems, if you really want to improve society. You don't have to vote to make a difference, and voting is not your voice.
You have a literal voice which was given to you by our Creator who also gave you life. The Government did not have anything to do with it. I say that if they want to make a difference, you need to use your voice by engaging in education, dialogue, persuasion, activism, and mindful market choices. That's how change really happens.
Before what I am saying is misinterpreted or misunderstood, I don't care if you or anybody else reading this votes or not. For now I just want raise the awareness to the glorification of voting, to raising it to the level of a religious ritual. It's not really as effective as the system would have you believe.
From where does the logic that if one fails to willingly cooperate in the process of ones own enslavement, you have no right to be angered at the actions of your unchosen masters? In other words, from where does the logic that if you fail to vote for somebody you don't agree with, you have no right to be angered come?
We live, all of us, with a system of government that almost no one -- not even the most blindly patriotic voter - has any real control over. And no amount of 'campaign finance reform' or 'term limits' or 'free TV time' is going to change that.
If you want political leaders you like, fine, then vote for them, otherwise you're stuck with whatever morons get elected. But why should I have to participate in the selection process just to avoid giving up my expectation for competence and integrity?
I don't vote for judges, but I expect them to do their jobs well. The same holds for police and most of other public officials. Do I have to join the PTA or resign myself to bad teachers?
I do my job to the best of my ability because I know it matters and I want to contribute. Can't I expect the same of those in government?
And yes, I have been paying attention. It's paying attention that's made me so pessimistic. I read the news every single day, whether it is left, right, center is not important, I read it all and get a bigger view, and I never see anything going on in government that's worthy of the leaders of a great nation.
All of the arguments I see are over details of economic policy. How many jobs? Which taxes on which people? This is not leadership. It's management. What is the President - a leader? Or a manager?
Still worse, if you pay attention for a while you will see that none of these policy choices seem to come out of a genuine vision of how a civilized country should function. It's all a matter of polling, branding, and demographics. It's name calling, finger pointing, scandal mongering, positioning, and pandering.
They may all clothe themselves in different sheeps' clothing, but they're all the same wolf underneath.
I say that there is no one in government who represents me, and that whether I vote or not, this will not change. I am governed by leaders I did not choose, who enact policies I do not believe in, paid with in money I earned but did not consent to give to them. In every meaningful way, I am completely and utterly disenfranchised -- and so is just about everyone else. Look at these:
Can you honestly, truly, without hesitation claim that there is not one decision made by your 'representatives' that you would not have made yourself? Not one law passed, in your name, using your money, that you consider unjust or unnecessary? Not one action taken by your 'representatives' that you would not consider wholly unrepresentative of what you believe?
So then: All of us, to varying extents, spend part of our lives living under a government that does not represent us, and cannot be reformed so that it does - after all, there is no such thing as a 'good government'. The very nature of government is tyrannical - government is predicated on the thesis that some people have a right to tell other people how to live their lives. Call it 'the divine right of Kings' or call it 'the will of the people' - it all boils down to some people telling other people how to live.
I do believe in civic duty. And like most of you reading this, I too think that a vote is sacred. So sacred, in fact, that I don't want to waste it on today's politicians or yesterday's system.
Give me politicians worth voting for, and I'll vote. Until then, stop looking down your nose at me.
"I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don't vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, 'If you don't vote, you have no right to complain,' but where's the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote - who did not even leave the house on Election Day - am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created." - George Carlin