Opinion

Southwest Nebraska is in for an exciting week

Monday, November 4, 2002

Be proud. Exercise your privilege as an American. Go to the polls Tuesday and cast your ballots for the candidates and issues of your choice.

That thought rings out across American in the days leading up the election. It is being heard especially often this year in light of predictions that the election turnout will fall to the lowest point in years ... if not ever. The outlook is especially poor in Nebraska, where Secretary of State Gale estimates that only 42 percent of the registered voters will go to the polls.

As editorial writers, we admit to being among those who plead with citizens before every election to exercise the right to vote. "It is your privilege. It is your duty," we say over and over again, challenging voters to shake out of their apathy and take the time and trouble to exercise their American right to vote.

But we're tired of begging. This year, instead, we're taking a different approach.

Our new viewpoint is simply this: If you don't care, stay home. The power and honor of casting votes should not be wasted on those who are too lazy and too uninvolved to share the responsibility of citizenship.

This year, instead, we want to pay tribute to those who do care enough to vote.

More than half of your fellow citizens will not go to the polls Tuesday. For them, it's a shame. But think of the power that gives you, the voter. Because so many of your neighbors are staying home, your vote has twice as much power as it otherwise would.

It's like the floral service says in its commercials "When you care enough to send the very best." That's what voters are: our very best. It is you, the voter, who keep the bells of freedom ringing loud and clear for all Americans.

Great Gridiron Season

High school football teams from the Golden Plains performed exceedingly well during the 2002 season, with 11 squads from Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas earning the right to compete in the state playoffs.

Now that the play-in games are completed, the playoffs are poised for an exciting start on Wednesday. Ten of the 11 playoffs teams from this area will be in action in games in the afternoon and early evening of the mid-day of the week.

Match-ups include top-ranked McCook hosting Hastings in Class B and Chase County at home in Imperial against Gothenburg in Class C-1. Cambridge in Class C-2 will also have the home field advantage in its playoff opener against Garden County of Oshkosh.

Two area teams are in the Class D-1 playoffs. Republican Valley will host Crawford in Indianola, and Eustis-Farnam will travel to Rushville for their first round games.

In Class D-2, Nebraska teams in action are Culbertson, traveling to Cody-Kilgore; Wallace, at home against Mullen; and Twin Valley of Bartley, which will travel to O'Neill St. Mary's.

In Class 2-A in Kansas, Atwood hosts Plainville and St. Francis travels to Stockton in first round action Wednesday. Playoff competition continues Thursday, when Herndon travels to Wheeler Central for the semi-finals of the Six-Man Playoffs.

All-in-all, it should be an exciting week: the election drama Tuesday, followed by the football playoffs on Wednesday and Thursday.

Vote, then cheer on your favorite team. What a great week it's going to be!

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