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Civic Rights

I noticed on an Fb post today (and I've heard it in the past as well) the notion that if one doesn't vote, one doesn't have the right to "bitch."  I have to take exception with that.  I think voting is probably the easiest and least costly civic duty we Americans have.  In fact, given our political class, I think too many of the wrong people are voting.  Too many demagogues and not enough statesmen.  I don't think you have much of a right to complain when all you did was show up at a school or a church and spend five to ten minutes filling out some form.  How does that entitle you to bitch?
If you really want to earn your "bitching" rights then perhaps you should start by serving some time on a committee or board in your community.  Maybe you could participate in a park or natural area clean-up once or ten times in a lifetime.  Volunteer at a school or nursing home nearby.  Get to know your neighbors beyond BBQ and beer.  Find a way to solve a problem in your town without a grant or the TV news or some self-congratulatory internet notice.
Voting is sort of important, after all it fosters the illusion of change for us.  But to really do something, attempt to change something, to build something in your locale, that's when you'll have earned the right to bitch about what's wrong with X.  Except, if you've tried, you should find you have a little bit less to complain about.

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