Americans will mark Sept. 11 in many ways. Some will pray. Some will wear our nation's colors. Some will pay special tribute to firefighters or wear "I love New York" T-shirts. Flags will be pulled out of the attic and flown proudly. Patriotic music will be performed and speeches will extol this nation's greatness.
And when Tuesday's primary is conducted -- just one day before this momentous anniversary -- less than half of Crow Wing County's eligible voters will go to the polls. Crow Wing County Auditor Roy Luukkonen expects the turnout for Tuesday's primary to be about 40 percent, a normal figure for a primary. The sad part is that 40 percent figure compares favorably with other locations. Minnesota traditionally has one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation.
The right to vote, one of our most precious freedoms, is probably the most ignored privilege Americans possess. The excuses are legion: I'm too busy. I don't know any of the candidates. One vote doesn't really matter.
There are outward signs that America has discovered a renewed sense of patriotism, that a feeling of national solidarity was forged when our enemies claimed lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and at a jet crash site in rural Pennsylvania.
Still, Tuesday's election -- the first chance for many of us to vote since Sept. 11, 2001-- is likely to be ignored by most voters. The small effort required to follow public affairs and vote is too much trouble for the vast majority of eligible voters.
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