Don't vote? Don't gripe

This item comes from Robert Reich, a former labor secretary in the (first?) Clinton administration.

He posted it on Facebook.

“I ran into someone this morning who said he wasn’t voting in the midterms because he was ‘disgusted’ with politics. I told him if he doesn’t vote he forfeits his right to complain. Election Day is a week from tomorrow, and in many places you can vote before then. Voting isn’t just a right. It’s a privilege. Yet the largest party in America isn’t the Republicans or the Democrats; it’s the party of non-voters.

“The biggest question on the midterm ballot isn’t whom you send to Washington or the state house. It’s who you are and what you stand for. The biggest problem for our democracy isn’t regressive Republicans or spendthrift Democrats; it’s apathetic citizens.

“Please vote.”

Back when I worked in daily journalism, I would craft the obligatory “get out and vote” editorials. I wrote so many of those editorials I began to bore myself, as I felt as though I was talking to my desk, or my chair … or the hat rack sitting in the corner of my office.

I tried every way I knew to try to get people to vote.

It was futile.

In Texas, the turnout — even during presidential election years — is among the lowest in the nation. It’s right down there with Mississippi and Alabama.

Media like to measure the turnout as a percentage of “registered voters.” To my way of thinking that’s a distorted view. The real turnout should be measured against the percentage of “eligible voters,” which includes all citizens who are eligible to register to vote, but who haven’t even bothered to do that.

The “eligible voter” barometer sends the percentage of turnout straight into the crapper.

The mid-term election will produce the usual abysmal vote-turnout total. The winners will declare victory and announce that “the people have spoken.” Well, what we’re going to be “celebrating” the next day will be that a majority of a minority of Americans will have voted.

In Texas, that number will represent a significant minority of citizens who even bothered to vote. Those are the folks whose gripes deserve to be heard.

The rest of y’all? Shut the hell up.