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"If you don't vote..."

weather: drizzling
outside: 6.9°C
mood: moody
The next wanker who tells me "if you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain" gets my salad fork through their frontal lobe.


Democracy and free speech do not come with a condition like that. It never has.

I have every single right to complain about whoever is doing a shitty job managing the affairs of my city/province/country or any other country, for that matter, regardless of whether or not I had voted in the elections.

Yes, I vote. EVERY election I am entitled to. Municipal, provincial and federal. I'm Canadian, I don't vote in the US elections and I am still entitled to complain about whatever administration-dependent ass monkeys are in the White House. Any time. Any term.

Whether they are elected fairly, elected unfairly or the title passed to them when their reigning parent died, however the leader of a sovereign state gets there, they are in the shooting gallery lineup with the rest of the ducks and EVERYONE who voted and didn't, alike, can have a turn at them just the same.

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Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
sapientmusings
Jan. 23rd, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
You gotta admit it's a better catchphrase than "If you don't vote in [country], but you don't like the policies of the current administration of [country], then you'd better vote in [country]'s elections next time." Sure, someone who doesn't live in the U.S. can't be expected to vote there, no matter how many complaints they have...

...but I really do wish the monkey electorate that we have in the U.S. would put up or shut up. I'm out there every single time there's an election and I inform myself on every ballot initiative, local, state, and federal, and I vote on the merits of each initiative/candidate, rather than party. I just wish everyone would get out there and put some thought into it. I'll forgive people who don't vote, then complain, and the next time around vote according to their complaints. But I cannot forgive people who don't vote, complain, continue not to vote, complain some more, and so on. The LEAST they could do is vote. The day voting became a chore is the day the health of modern liberal democracy took a turn for the worse.

This, naturally, excludes non-U.S. citizens re: U.S. elections.

/rant
bride
Jan. 23rd, 2006 06:35 am (UTC)
How exactly do you choose between Diablo, Mephisto and Baal?
sapientmusings
Jan. 23rd, 2006 06:44 am (UTC)
Hahaha... whichever one I have more suitable potions and weapons to defeat? *insert reference to John Kerry being a necromancer's spell gone bad*

Blizzard-based jokes aside...

It's difficult. In all honesty. I didn't like Kerry or Bush, but I voted for Kerry because I figured he'd do less damage overall, and perhaps reverse some of Bush's. It's all about taking two steps forward, one step back, or in the case of a Republican administration, two steps back, and hopefully at least one step forward in the near future...

Partisanship aside, my ballot last time looked schizophrenic. I based all my votes on my personal sensibilities (moderate liberal with a libertarian slant). My ballot had a democrat for president, a republican for a judicial position, a green for the county board of supervisors (he had no chance in hell of winning in conservative San Diego county), and I believe a libertarian for state senate or a judicial position. And the initiatives were really scattered... for and against various bond measures... everything on a case-by-case basis.

Voting (and putting thought into it) isn't easy, but I wish everyone would do it. At least then the talking heads really could say that "the people have spoken."
bride
Jan. 23rd, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
At least then the talking heads really could say that "the people have spoken."

Or the Electoral College/Supreme Court has spoken, in the case of the US.
sapientmusings
Jan. 24th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
Indeed - there needs to be some electoral college reform, for sure. The concept is ridiculous. I tend not to mind the Supreme Court generally, though I think they shouldn't be appointed for life... 10-14 year terms or something of the sort (anything spanning into or a little beyond 3 presidential terms). The appointment-for-life thing really adds too much uncertainty to who gets to replace them, and when... kind of like playing Russian roulette with supreme judicial positions. Scary.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 25th, 2006 07:20 am (UTC)
The electoral college works, if allowed to operate under the strictest interpretation of the constitution. But that would mean our government is very much an oligarchy. Afterall, the founders of this [my] nation were pretty smart guys who didn't want the Presidency to fall upon a dolt. I somehow doubt that Madison, Hamilton, et al, would have chosen many of the Presidents to have been elected. The system, as frayed by centuries of use, worked fine until five years ago, an unfortunate confluence of all-around stupidity. But thankfully the constitution has built in a term limit. In the meanwhile: All hail, Nero.

About the voting and consequent complaining, I must warn those individuals that not participating if given the liberty, to those the share of the responsibility of a bad government rises an infinitesimal increment. You can't rave about ignorance. But complain away, regardless, if it makes one feel better.

On a more personal note, I regret the circumstances of the falling out between us. You are like my sister, an incredibly thoughtful and caring person. But the fact remains we don't get along. History lends mistakes to both sides. You are an amazing woman. So given this compliment, I won't go into my own immense vanity. I hope you are well.

Raccoon714@livejournal.com
science_vixen
Jan. 23rd, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
Well... expats should vote...

Seriously though.
If the presidency of the US thinks they rule the world, perhaps we should get the vote. 8b
sapientmusings
Jan. 24th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)
Haha, fortunately for the rest of the world, perception is not always reality, eh? :-)

But yes, of course expats should vote (assuming they've retained their legal voting rights; but if they hadn't, I suppose they wouldn't be considered expats anymore).
chenpion
Jan. 23rd, 2006 06:52 am (UTC)
You carry around salad forks everywhere? o.O
I'd pay to see that =)
xinit
Jan. 24th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)
Re: You carry around salad forks everywhere? o.O
She does, and she keeps it in a very cute little tin case.
amarins
Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:19 am (UTC)
I work in this monkey business aka politics. When citizens call, to complain about 'our' policy and that they have to pay much more rent, or for health insurance it's tempting to tell them just that.
Instead, I tell them: well, you see, we're not in the government since a few years and this is what you get. We'll try everything we can to change the plans, but we're not in power.
And then they tell me they're sorry they voted for the other party... And oh, I wish I could tell some people that phrase of yours.
marnanel
Jan. 23rd, 2006 11:29 am (UTC)
Thank you. Everyone has the right to complain.
bride
Jan. 24th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
Their salary and funding is coming through my taxes. You better believe I have the right to complain.
kat_box
Jan. 23rd, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Then I guess you need to poke me with that fork. I've said that before and I'll continue saying it and I won't apologize for saying it either. But I am never referring to countries where one has no ABILITY to vote (e.g. a Canadian commenting on the state of U.S. politics).

HOWEVER, I feel very strongly that if you have the ability to vote and you CHOOSE NOT TO then you give up your right to complain about who ends up in power. Sure, complain away, but did you DO anything to make a difference? NO. Did you take a few minutes out of your day to make your voice known? NO. So am I going to listen to you bitch and moan afterwards if you don't like who is in office and what they do there? NO.

While I do not disagree with what you say in a general sense, I just really feel that it is a person's civic duty to go out and vote and have their say for who gets elected to their government. Even if you vote and the person you voted for doesn't ultimately get elected. But if you're not going to get off your ass and go vote then shut the hell up. Put up or shut up. Simple as that.
bride
Jan. 23rd, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
You can't tell who has and hasn't voted. You can't tell anyone to shut up.
kat_box
Jan. 24th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
No I can't, and yes I can.

Perhaps I'm not being clear. I do not deny anyone's right to speak their mind. We are fortunate enough to live in a country that affords us the freedom to speak our minds and to vote (or not vote) without fear of reprisal.

What I object to is the person who will complain about the state of government but when you ask them if they voted in the last election they say "no". So rather than taking maybe 30 minutes maximum of their own time to go and vote they allowed someone else to speak for them (whether "their" party was elected or not). By choosing *not* to vote they're choosing to let others decide who runs their country and how. And to then complain because you don't like what they're doing is just hypocritical. You didn't care to vote so why should I care to listen?

And ya, what nightshift said.
bride
Jan. 24th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
if they voted in the last election they say "no".

What are they saying "No" to though? Because by saying "No" to Asshole #1, they're saying "Yes" to Asshole #2 or Asshole #3.

I don't blame people at all for not wanting to vote. None of the parties represents them or their beliefs and they believe they're picking the lesser of all evils.

Citizenship and paying income tax is participation enough because that says they're contributing to the salaries of the ones in office. They have the right to complain.
kat_box
Jan. 24th, 2006 04:54 am (UTC)
So if citizenship and paying taxes is enough then why do you vote?
bride
Jan. 24th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
I never said _I_ don't vote. In fact, my post says "Yes, I vote. EVERY election..."

I said those who do not vote still have the right to complain.

This is their home, they pay taxes (and thus contribute to the salaries of those in office) and they are accorded the right to Free Speech which does not come with the condition of "only if you've voted".
(Anonymous)
Jan. 24th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
My "why do you vote" wasn't a "you" in the general sense. I'm asking why *you* specifically vote when you also have said citizenship and tax paying is enough. I'm not trying to be argumentative or confrontational, I'm just trying to understand your logic.

I understand what you're saying above and don't disagree with all of it. People have the right to say what they want. But to me being a citizen and paying taxes is NOT enough. It boils down to putting your money where your mouth is. If you don't like something then DO something about it. Don't just complain about it because those are just empty words.
kat_box
Jan. 24th, 2006 05:22 am (UTC)
Whoops, that last comment was supposed to be from me, not anonymous.
bride
Jan. 24th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
I'm asking why *you* specifically vote when you also have said citizenship and tax paying is enough.

I understood you exactly the way you meant it. I vote because I choose to. Others choose not to and I hate the attitude that they need to put up or shut up.
sapientmusings
Jan. 24th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC)
Fork us all.
bride
Jan. 24th, 2006 07:37 am (UTC)
Alright. Line up to my left.
nightshift
Jan. 23rd, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
Personally, I think you're missing the point. And you'll probably have to fork me too. :)

People who say that aren't disputing your qualified right to freedom of expression in a free and democratic society. The take away message is that decisions get made by those who show up. People who say "no right to complain" just can't express the message as well.

I'd also add that I believe the legitimacy of one's complaint is more valid had that individual voted (assuming that he or she was able to).

At the same time, I have no sympathy for those who complain and yet did not exercise their voting rights. I'm not saying that their complaints are invalid. My point is that by voluntarily choosing inaction, those people consciously allowed others to speak on their behalf. They have to live with the decision that the majority of voters have decided for them.

To those who would allow others to speak on their behalf while remaining silent, if you have a dim view of society as a whole, and if you allow society to prescribe how your country should be run without voicing your own opinion, well, all I can say is that you made your bed -- and now you must lie in it.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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