Those who vote have authority to critique


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not vote in the Nov. 8 election. Yes, the player who kneels during the national anthem in the name of justice and change.

Here’s why: “Because I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.”

That’s not exactly helpful. The way to change the system is by voting for candidates who share your values and who will be in the position to change what you want to see changed.

As nationwide protests erupted after the election of Donald Trump, preliminary voter turnout numbers began trickling in, and they showed turnout was down compared with 2008 and 2012. The Nov. 8 election was expected to have the worst turnout — about 55 percent to 57 percent of eligible voters — since 1996. Out of a total of about 235 million eligible voters, almost half abstained.

The Pew Research Center reported earlier this year that the United States’ turnout for elections is among the lowest in the developed and democratic world. Among the 35 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranks No. 31 — and that was before turnout dropped even lower this fall.

If you are upset that Hillary Clinton lost, tell a nonvoter who thinks like you. But if you are the nonvoter, the complaint rings hollow.

The protesters certainly have a right to protest. Most have done so peacefully. But their cause would have been better served if they’d gotten more likeminded people to the polls on Election Day.