#1.“Voting is a right”
No, voting is not a right. This may shock some readers in a day and age where we hear that every thing is a right, down to wedding cakes and contraceptives, but they are not rights, and neither is voting.
Voting is more like unto a privilege or an entitlement. Consider the factors:
You must be at least a certain age to be eligibile to vote.
You must register to vote.
You must go to a certain place to vote (or in the case of absentee or advance voting, mail a specific ballot to a specific place by a specific date).
You must fill out that particular ballot.
You can only vote at certain times in certain years.
You can vote only on pre-selected issues, candidates, and races, for pre-defined areas of land.
Some ballots may allow you to write in a name, but the chances of a majority of voters writing in the same name are slim to none.
All these conditions on voting demonstrate that voting is not a right. But more important, voting cannot be a right because it involves force. After all, if a vote is to be meaningful or useful, it must carry force.
People do not often admit, or address, that voting involves force. But one acknowledges this aspect implicitly when he says, “I’m not going to vote because it makes no difference.” He does not vote, because he believes that vote will carry no weight, no force—and he finds no meaning or use in casting a vote.
If Candidates A and B are running for the same office, and Candidate A receives more votes than B, then Candidate A is the winner. All those who voted for Candidate B are forced to abide by the wishes of those who voted for Candidate A. In the jurisdiction where the candidates ran, the results of the vote will also force anyone who did not support either candidate, anyone who did not vote for either candidate, and anyone who could not vote for whatever reason, to abide by the wishes of those who voted for Candidate A.
Candidate B cannot say, “Well, I had this quantity of voters, so I should be in office over them, while the quantity of A’s voters can have him in office over them.”
A right can never be something that involves forcing others who made choices different from yours to abide by your choices. Because voting is not a right, it is therefore a highly conditional activity: the place, the time, the ballot, the races, the issues, the candidates, the age eligibility, the disenfranchisment of felons, et cetera.
#2. “Voting Is Sacred”
Voting is a procedure that can occur in sundry settings, carried out by a various persons, and for a slew of purposes and activities—often more profane than not. Voting is not sacred.
Religious congregations can vote on matters and offices in their assemblies, but profane congregations—lawyers, judges, gamblers, and so on—can also vote on matters in their organizations.
Second, voting presupposes that a majority (the required majority can vary, from a simple plurality to unanimity) of votes will carry the day. This implies that what is moral or right is relative to how many persons support it. This is democracy, and democracy is not sacred.
If seventy percent of a group of voters voted to steal money from twenty percent of the group, that majority of votes cannot make stealing moral.
If every one voting on a matter were perfect, perhaps one could call that voting sacred—but that will never happen. Voting always involves fallible humans, those voting and those being voted upon.
Voting is not inherently deserving of great respect, either, due to this. In U.S. politics, a person can register to vote, go to the polls, and cast a vote without knowing any thing about the candidates or the issues. (With electronic voting machines, he does not even have to know how to spell the the names of the candidates.) No one will quiz him on his knowledge or his wisdom about the candidates or issues, and if finding him deficient in knowledge, bar him from voting.
To think that voting is sacred is to make an idol of politics.
(A Christian who believes that everything he does should honor God, and that his actions, including his votes, should be holy, he could truly say that his votes are sanctified. But that is not the same as saying the process itself is “sacred.”)
#3. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” or, “If you don’t vote, you have no right to an opinion!”
The freedom of speech should never depend on whether you cast a vote. The First Amendment correctly protects the freedom of speech without qualifying that you must vote in order to have freedom of speech to complain.
Some persons are ineligible to vote because they are too young. Should they be gagged on political issues and identities? “Be quiet, Jim, you can’t complain or have an opinion, until you can vote.”
Second, what about the powers-that-be whom the general population does not, or can not, elect? Consider the judges on the Supreme Court. Consider Lois Lerner, Kathleen Sebelius with HHS, or Eric Holder. Are we really going to believe that only those who cast a vote or appointed such persons to their offices can complain or have an opinion about them?
To bring the point closer to home: Do you elect your local police officers to the office of policeman? If you don’t vote them into office, does that mean you can’t complain or have an opinion if the police department is corrupt, if policemen wrong you?
Third, not only CAN you complain even if you do not vote, you should complain if your rights are violated in any way. Do you pay any kind of taxes? Property taxes? Sales taxes? Gasoline taxes? Income taxes? Social Security? Capital gains? Death taxes? If you pay any kind of tax at all, it especially does not matter whether you vote, you SHOULD at least say something about how your money is being wasted.
Fourth, the Bible itself never taught that you cannot complain if you don’t vote. In Luke 18:1-5, we read:
And He [Jesus] spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Jesus did not say whether the widow voted in an election in which the judge ran. He did not say the widow should have waited for the next election and voted the judge out of office. He did not say she should not vote, either.
#4. “Voting is sufficient to protect my rights”
For a U.S. citizen to vote in an election, it requires little effort—especially with options for absentee or advanced voting—and it requires no knowledge nor wisdom. Voting is a drop in the bucket. Those who are voted into power do the most damage when they are wielding that power—not when they are seeking your vote. Voting is especially a drop in the bucket because many powerful officials are not voted on by the public. (Nor, given the personal irresponsibility rampant among many Americans, would EPA bureaucrat roles be filled by more moral folks if these un-elected officials were put up for election.)
Many U.S. citizens think that voting is enough: that it is the fullness of their necessary involvement in the play of power.
Politicians are happy when citizens, after voting in an election, think, “I’ve done my duty,” and go back to their daily lives and amusements: learning nothing, remembering nothing, and doing nothing about the wickedness the politicians and bureaucrats scheme and enforce. The more a person thinks that voting is all there is for him to do, the less likely he will impact the actions of those in power.
Voting does not create nor endow rights. It is not anywhere close to sufficient to protect them.
So, What Do You Suggest?
Monitor politicians and bureaucrats. Resist their schemes to rob and waste your money and property. Inform others of politicians’ deeds. Protest when innocent lives, born or unborn, at home or abroad, are snuffed out for the convenience of the selfish and powerful.
In this, you may weary the politicians until they, like the unjust judge, will do what is right.
The most important part involves the internal. A people must possess good character for rights to be respected. We need not good laws to protect us from bad men as much as we need good men to protect us from bad laws. You must seek virtue and excellence in your own life. You must equip yourself to defend your right, and the right of others, to life; bearing arms is an effective means for this end.
Endeavor to respect the rights of others. Ensure that you do not kill the innocent, you do not commit adultery, you do not steal, do not bear false witness against your neighbor, that you do not covet. Enlighten and rebuke your neighbor if he violates others’ rights. And tell him of the ulimate Power—God; and the ultimate Salvation—Christ; and the ultimate Kingdom—Heaven. Thereby, you love your neighbor as yourself.