Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

“Don’t Complain” Is Not A Winning Political Message

So, a thing happens where, if you complain about your chosen political leader/party, eventually someone comes out and says you shouldn’t do that, you’re depressing voter turnout, you’re encouraging people not to vote, you’re a bad democracy-hating monkey who is fueling fascism and blah blah blah.

Counterpoint: that’s bullshit.

Complaining about the Democrats and Biden is entirely fair game. It is, in fact, part and parcel of our democracy, to be able to complain about them, to demand that they do better — not just better, but the very best they can do. That’s literally the whole point. It is, in fact, one of the things you buy with your vote — the ability to say, “I voted for you because you said you were going to do XYZ, so get to it.” Consider that, when they’re not doing the best job, if you don’t complain — loudly! angrily! visibly! this is called protest! — then they have not received the message that they need to do different and do better. Why would you think anything would change if you don’t push them to change?

That’s not to say we can’t recognize the nuance of all situations or see the difficulties ahead, but also, y’know what? We don’t have to. It’s not required. There’s no law that says we can’t just be like HEY FUCK THAT GUY, I’M KINDA MAD. Or HEY WHAT THE SHIT, THAT IS A BAD IDEA, I HATE IT A LOT. You don’t have to have an answer, or a solution, or anything. You can just be upset. Because as it turns out, there is a whole lot to be upset about — and though nearly all of this was born from Republicans, it is happening on the watch of Democrats, and so far they are having a very hard time meeting this moment and these challenges, despite being the ones who promised that they could. Sorry you got stuck holding the hot potato, but you knew it was coming, so maybe do something?

Like, you get that this is for the whole enchilada, right? We’re at one of those moments in history. It is existential. People are going to get hurt and die — hell, people are already hurting and dying. From botched abortions, from rampant gun violence, from pollution, from climate change, from suicide. It’s already been happening and is going to get a whole lot worse.

“Don’t complain” is not a winning political strategy, nor is it a good political argument. Complaints like these are the bread and butter of our democracy, part of the conversation. Some people treat the complaints as if the complaints are the problem, as if the complainers are depressing voter turnout — they’re not. It’s the politicians depressing voter turnout. Our one angry Facebook post or tweet isn’t the thing that’s dismantling democracy or driving people from feeling engaged. That one angry Facebook post, that one pissed-off tweet, is reflecting the attitude, not creating it. Yes, we need to be aware of disinformation and misinformation that feeds that furnace, absolutely. But the anger at obvious, true things… is not only okay, is not only justified, but I dare say, encouraged.

And believe it or not, it’s actually a good thing. We’ve seen multiple times that the Democrats are actually responsive to approval ratings and anger — demand better from them, and turns out, they seem motivated by it. But they won’t be motivated by people saying, “Hey, guys, no, stop, they’re doing their best, it’s okay, we forgive them.” What the fuck. Fuck that. The boat is sinking, don’t let the captain tell you, “Not much more I can do here, folks, good luck.” That motherfucker needs to walk you to the lifeboats, or patch the holes, or do something. That’s how this all works! This isn’t fandom, this isn’t, “Wow, jeez, let people like things, I thought Obi-Wan was a good show.” This is rising sea levels, this is the loss of bodily autonomy, this isn’t about a Marvel movie.

Long as someone doesn’t say, “Don’t vote,” then most anything else is fair game. I mean, JFC, FFS, how are you not angry? Consider the privilege it takes to not be angry at all of this.


We need to go back to treating our politicians like Philadelphia sports fans treat their teams. When you’re winning for us, we will deafen God with our cheers. When you’re losing, we’re gonna whip batteries and ice chunks at your head.