Licensed to Gripe
October 19, 2012 § 4 Comments
That’s a good post by Zippy that Alissa pointed to. Zippy should address the issue I often run up against whenever I share with others that I intend to abstain in one or more elections:
Respondent (look of self-righteous disgust on his/her face): “Well then I have to say that you have no right to complain about anything if you choose not to vote.”
My response is usually a form of the following:
“I beg to differ with you on the point because you are dead wrong. I am a natural-born U.S. citizen, with deep roots and both feet firmly planted in this country. Whatever happens inside or outside this country in the name of the United States, socially, and/or, politically, affects me on a personal level, and my family on a family level. That, in and of itself, gives me every right to complain whenever wrongs are committed in the name of my country. Whether I choose to vote in any election or not.”
Indeed, I’ve had numerous people say to me, “Well, since I don’t vote I guess I really have no right to complain about anything.” Those individuals usually get a different version of the same speech.
- Someone who refuses to work for Planned Parenthood has a greater right to complain about abortion
- Someone who refuses to fight in an unjust war has a greater right to complain about the unjust war
- Someone who refuses to eat processed food has a greater right to complain about processed food
- Someone who refuses to buy products made in sweatshops has a greater right to complain about sweatshops
I could keep making this list forever. But the point is that one entry on this potentially infinite list is
- Someone who refuses to endorse the political consensus by voting has a greater right to complain about the political consensus
Integrity matters, and it is more than a little rich for the unscrupulous to lecture conscientious objectors about their “right to complain”.