South Carolina is ranked as the most patriotic state on a blog posting this week.
But do we really deserve that star-spangled status?
As Dave Munday reported in Thursday's Post and Courier, Movoto Real Estate, which operates in more than 30 states, bestowed that No. 1 patriotic label on us, with Maine No. 2 and North Carolina No. 3. It based those rankings on the numbers (per capita) of national historic landmarks, military veterans, money spent to support veterans, residents who Google for American flag purchases and people who list America as an interest on Facebook.
And after all, one of South Carolina's landmarks, right here in our community, is called Patriots Point. Plus, there have been plenty of American flags on proud display during this Independence Day weekend.
Those "most patriotic" standings also factor in the percentage of state residents who voted in the 2012 presidential election. Though South Carolina's turnout rate of 57 percent in that election was slightly below the national 58 percent figure, that's still not bad. (Minnesota led the way at 76 percent.)
Sadly, however, the turnout for last month's primary elections in our state indicated a rampant lack of interest - and lack of patriotic pride? - in performing our self-governing roles.
The S.C. Democratic and Republican primaries on June 10 attracted a mere 16 percent of eligible voters. Then only 6 percent showed up for the June 24 runoff.
Yes, there were only two statewide nominations at stake on runoff day - and only one of those was up for grabs in both parties. Yet those were important races - the GOP contest for lieutenant governor and runoffs in both parties for state superintendent of education.
Polls consistently show Americans, including South Carolinians, correctly listing public education as a crucial issue.
So how could nearly 19 out of 20 eligible S.C. voters pass up their chance to have a runoff say in who will be the next person to run their state's Department of Education?
While we're on the educational subject, review this July Fourth history lesson:
South Carolinians Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward Jr., Thomas Lynch and Arthur Middleton were among the 56 men who bravely signed the visionary document that created our nation 238 years ago today.
Its final sentence: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
Too bad South Carolina voters didn't honor the founding fathers' hard-won gift of liberty to us in larger numbers last month at the primary and runoff polls.
But we can redeem ourselves by exercising our right to vote with a much larger turnout in November.
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