If You Do Not Vote, You Have No Right To Complain

If  You Do Not Vote, You Have No Right To Complain

By Lauren Wilson, Columnist

I grew up in a family that took voting very seriously. My father, a preacher, often used his sermons to stress the importance of going to the polls and exercising your power to pick leaders who care about your community. The truth is, however, I never really understood why it was so important and how empowering it is to vote until I had my first chance to cast a ballot.

The first election I was able to vote in was the 2008 presidential election. I was a freshman at Wilberforce University, an HBCU that is ironically located in an Ohio town where the Ku Klux Klan still exists. Though I was terrified out of my mind, I joined other young people who walked door to door every day canvasing for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential bid.

It was during those days that I began to understand that my vote was crucial—that I, along with other African Americans, I had the ability to help determine who would be this country’s next president. I began to grasp just how significant that power was when Greene County officials launched an investigation of our voter registration efforts because it seemed impossible that we could legally register 300 Black college students—most of them women—to vote in same day early voting. The moment I saw our story in the national news I knew our votes really did matter. We were passionate and involved; and when Obama won the presidency, we learned that our actions can make change.

I am hoping the same excitement that we had in 2008 and 2012 gets us to the polls Tuesday, November 8, 2016. We may not be voting for the first Black president this time, but the issues are just as crucial. In states like Ohio, where I first voted, elected officials are passing laws that make it harder for young people and black people to vote. The only way we can change that is by showing up at the polls and casting ballots for the candidate who will protect our rights and lead this country in a positive direction.

I am proud of the role that young Blacks—particularly young Black women—played in the last two presidential elections. It truly was our votes that put Obama over the top and allowed him to become the leader of the world’s most influential nation. But our work is not done. It’s crucial that we show up at the polls this upcoming election, because though I cannot tell you for whom to vote, I have a hard time coming to terms that Donald Trump can possibly become our next president. It’s terrifying to even think about it but this is our reality. We have the opportunity to let our voices be heard so let us not be blinded by those who say our vote does not count because it does.

Please join me in voting on November 8 because you will have no right to complain if your candidate did not win and you did not vote. We must take accountability for our actions or lack thereof and we have a chance to make a difference. So, let’s take advantage of it. If you do not vote, you have no right to complain!


Lauren A. Wilson (“Law”) is the Communications Associate for The New York Criminal Justice Agency where she is responsible for developing media strategies to increase public awareness for their research

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6 Comments

  1. Pretty much! If you’re over 18 and don’t have a record that prohibits you from voting, don’t boo, vote!

    While I am one who believes that complaining, or rather making noise to showcase injustices is key in making change, you gotta vote as a supplement!

    I can go on for about an hour but I shant.

    Good stuff Law.

  2. I could not imagine having to canvas in a Ku Klux Klan area back in 2008 and 2012. Like you said though that is one of the reasons why our vote is still so crucial in this year of our Lord 2016. If anything else the final debate from last night should proved this nation what a folk tale Trump really is.

  3. I have watched all three debates and followed up with my own research on both candidates to make a knowledgeable decision. I learned nothing new from my initial thoughts but further concluded my decision. The simple fact that Trump avoids every question that he is not knowledgeable on or is uncomfortable about perplexes me if he were to be elected. The office of Presidency is faced with nothing but uncomfortable and hard situations that unfortunately you won’t be able to talk over and avoid the issue at hand.
    Through my own research, I have found numerous reports, articles, and direct videos with him going back on his own quotes, demeaning women, ethnic nationalities, and using such abusive language to describe anyone that he feels is unfit or appealing to his eyes. A man’s word should be his bond, and if you can’t stand behind your own words then you develop a huge lack of trust which I have for Trump. All of the reports of him abusing or touching women inappropriately raised a big flag in my eyes that people would wake up and see this man for who he really is behind closed doors. I heard that one person can lie on you but when so many different people say the same thing then the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
    I’m not trying to pursuade anyone to vote either way, but I would encourage everyone to do your own research and make a decision based on how you feel this next president will represent you, and please pray first.

  4. Excellent job! As someone who has always been taught to really appreciate and value this privilege, it is awesome to read an article from someone of my generation who takes it seriously as well!

    Very proud of you Law, we need more like you in the world!

    Be encouraged! You are making your mark on the world!

  5. Amen!! Faith without works is dead and if we want to see change in our government we must first change ourselves and be proactive in what we want! Nothing will happen without you physically putting a plan in action. The “My vote Doesn’t matter ” mentality is so dead!! We must show that we are serious in who we want in leadership and what we want done in our country!

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