My husband and I had a friend who loved to complain about all that was wrong with the country. But he didn’t vote. It wasn’t just that he was too lazy—he absolutely refused, stating that he wouldn’t be part of the political machine and didn’t believe it made any difference, anyway.
While it can be hard at times to believe that our input matters, I don’t think that excuses you from your civic obligation to vote. And I do believe that, along with being a right and a privilege, it is an obligation. It’s the least we can do for our country and community. And by exercising this right, we’re paying tribute to it, honoring the fact that we have this freedom, this small ability to influence our government, while many people around the world do not. We can’t bring freedom and democracy to the entire planet (no matter how much some politicians might try) but we can show respect for our own democracy.
I think this is particularly true if someone wants to complain. The way I see it, if it’s within your power to fix a problem and you haven’t taken the most basic steps to do so, you don’t have a right to mouth off about it. If you haven’t voted against the politician or ballot measure that’s annoying you, then you’ve forfeited your right to rant at those of us who did make the effort.
It’s not hard to vote, particularly here in Oregon, where we have Vote by Mail and a very comprehensive and user-friendly Voters’ Pamphlet. In this complicated modern world we don’t have much power. But we do have the power to vote. A tiny drop of water, joined with others, has the capacity to wear away the hardest stone. Likewise, a single vote has the capacity to change the world.
Read more about Blog the Vote here.