It’s a well-worn cliché that “If you don’t vote, then you don’t have a right to complain.” This means that everyone who hears it just nods and says, “Uh-huh,” without examining it.

If you vote for someone or something, and your candidate or proposition loses, what good does having “a right to complain” do you? Exactly where do you lodge your complaint? And exactly where is it written that you need to have a “right” in order to complain? Do people too young to vote have no right to complain? If in good conscience you can’t vote for any candidate in a presidential election, you have legitimate grounds for complaint.

As Jerry Garcia (probably a nonvoter) once said, “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil”—and that’s something to complain about (and you don’t need a right to do it).

ID: 626
updated: 08 Apr 2003