Former congressman Barney Frank has never been one to mince words. He’s brash, bold, snarky, sarcastic, and speaks his mind. Which he recently did during an interview with Slate. The interviewer was asking Frank about Bernie Sanders’ success, even with a lack of delegates, and the former congressman said this:
I am disappointed by the voters who say, “OK I’m just going to show you how angry I am!” And I’m particularly unimpressed with people who sat out the Congressional elections of 2010 and 2014 and then are angry at Democrats because we haven’t been able to produce public policies they like. They contributed to the public policy problems and now they are blaming other people for their own failure to vote, and then it’s like, “Oh look at this terrible system,” but it was their voting behavior that brought it about.
Drop the mic, sir.
In 2010, the year the Tea Party slithered into Congress, young people didn’t vote. The same young people who are so passionate about the upcoming presidential election stayed home in droves, and we wound up with anti-choice, pro-war, rape deniers in Congress. In 2014, we had the lowest voter turnout since World War II, and we lost the Senate. But those apathetic twits still bitch and moan about everything THEY COULD HAVE CHANGED if they’d gotten off their asses and voted.
But hey, it’s all good, right? I mean, we can totally take the House back…oh, wait…all that gerrymandering and redistricting has made it impossible to even think about getting the fright wing out of the House until 2020, possibly 2021. Republicans have a “virtual lock” on the House, thanks in no small part to the asshats who decided 2010 and 2014 weren’t important.
Which is why Barney Frank is absolutely correct. If you didn’t vote in 2010 and/or 2014, and you now blame everyone else for the problems in DC, you’re part of the problem. You did contribute to the public policy problems. And now, you’ve suddenly realized Donald Trump, a xenophobic, racist, sexist bully is poised to become president, so you’re going to vote. Guess what? If the Tea Party hadn’t taken over the House, Donald Trump wouldn’t be the frontrunner. Can I prove that? No. but I have a gut feeling, as Jethro Gibbs likes to say. The country would be a very different place if we’d held on to the House.
So, yes, be passionate. Study, research, debate with facts, understand what’s at stake, and vote. But not just in presidential elections; vote in local elections, vote in midterms, use the power given to you to make this country a better place for everyone. And, not to be too blunt, but what the hell, why not-if you don’t vote, don’t complain, don’t throw hissy fits, and don’t post how dissatisfied you are with the government when you don’t care enough to walk into a voting booth.
All hail Barney Frank.