William Thien

Redressing your Grievances and Voting

Posted on: November 20, 2010

Recently after election day I heard someone say, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the government!” I thought about that for a moment, about how absolute that statement is, and I said to myself, perhaps the lady is right.

Later during the week while waiting in line at the grocery store something occurred to me about what that lady said. Most of the items in my cart were tax-free, such as food items, but some other items were not free of sales tax. I was paying for something and had no choice in the matter.

Now, if I were one of those citizens completely turned off by politics and our government and completely apathetic about voting, I may reach the same conclusion as the lady who thinks you have to vote if you want to complain or seek a redress of your grievances with the government. But that sentiment is wrong, You do not have to vote to redress your grievances.

If you purchase anything today, you have a right to redress your grievances to the government because chances are you had to pay a sales tax, something which you probably had no choice in doing. So, you are paying for a service or government services indirectly by paying the sales tax. If you pay for a service, you have a right to complain about that service. It would be ridiculous to think that after paying $1,500 sales tax on a new car that you could not complain about something serviced by the government entity to which the $1,500 eventually ends up.

Furthermore, if you are a citizen of The United States, you have by law the right to “redress your grievances” with your elected officials and the rest of the government.

But it always helps to vote. It’s part of the weight of democracy, a weight that everyone who benefits from a democracy should share. Because even though so many do not vote, they use government resources, resources for which you and I pay. Frequently those who do not vote are the most flagrant abusers of those government services because they are so out of touch with political matters and they have no idea from where the money comes to pay for the services they use. And if there are so many people not voting, then perhaps we should not have to pay their share, should not have to carry their weight.

We must not confuse laziness and sloth with apathy.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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