Elections can be and indeed are a sham in certain locales. They're a mockery of republican principles when the people are afraid to speak out or go to the polls. They're filled with pretense when the government insists upon a rubber stamp endorsement from the masses.
Anyone who's followed the vigorous debate on this Tuesday's Brainerd School District operating levy referendum could only conclude that this election should provide us with a genuine reflection of the people's will.
Brainerd area citizens have rarely shied away from a robust debate. The Brainerd Dispatch has printed hundreds of opinions and devoted a substantial number of news stories and photos to this issue. The only component in the debate that's left is for people to get out and vote.
An engaged and active electorate is a healthy sign that democracy is alive and well. People care deeply about this school district election and have worked very hard to make their views known. But it will all be to no avail if people don't vote.
The point has been made that the world is run by those who show up for election day. Walter H. Judd, a former U.S. congressman from Minnesota, made a similar point years ago.
"People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing," Judd said.
We urge everyone to vote on Tuesday and make sure their voice is heard.
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