Don’t tune out elections

As the nation continues to grieve and we all try to recover from the terrible events of Sept. 11, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to focus on the more mundane aspects of our lives.

One of those ordinary aspects, however, is the general election, which rolls around — like clockwork — the first Tuesday of every November.

This year’s election is but five weeks away, a time at which local, county and legislative campaigns would normally be peaking.

This year, at least to date, those campaigns have been virtually nonexistent.

Out of respect for our nation’s tragedy and the terrible toll it took in Monmouth County, and, no doubt, out of their own personal grief, our local candidates have been mute.

Some are probably still even wondering when and how to go about restarting their pre-Sept. 11 campaign plans.

Clearly this year’s campaigns will be unlike anything most of us have ever experienced.

At the same time, we can’t let the events of Sept. 11 alter our democratic principles.

Ignoring the election would be tantamount to relinquishing one of our greatest freedoms of all, the power to elect our leaders. We can’t do that. As we have proudly waved our flags, we must also, come Election Day, display our devotion to democracy by going to the polls.

To help you learn about local candidates and where they stand on the issues they feel are important to their communities, we plan to present profiles of the candidates over the next several weeks, beginning next week.

It will be up to you to decide who will best represent you in the years to come.

While we sometimes view our local leaders as insignificant in the bright spotlight of national politics, their actions greatly affect our local communities.

For that reason, it’s doubly important that you mark your calendars and make a point of getting to know the candidates during the short time that is left in this election cycle.

Above all, it’s important that you plan to go to the polls Nov. 6.