In KCMO the City Council ladies were dancing with delight upon the news that Mayor Funkhouser’s tenure was no more and so many other voters expressed the same sentiment.
But I’m more interested in casting blame for the way the elections came down. Politics can’t all be sunshine and hope. It’s no surprise that there are consequences and repercussions from last night’s primary in which almost nobody voted.
The final tally revealed a disheartening 15% of registered voters came to the polls yesterday.
It was the first time in 80 years an incumbent Kansas City Mayor failed to win re-election. But the more important trend is that the overwhelming majority of people simply don’t want to participate in the process. Let’s attempt to figure out why:
First of all, the most important person to blame is the Mayor. Because his term was so horrible, so inept and fraught with divisive fighting that his presence literally chased people away from the ballot box. When he was first elected into office the turnout was a bit better because people had some hope that he would turn Kansas City around. This time people knew better. The only sad part of this story is that he has spoiled so much hope for other newbie politicos.
The stench of Gloria Squitiro‘s bare feet will linger for a long time in City Hall.
Maybe it’s too dramatic to compare the guy to Former President Richard Nixon but Funkhouser tainted the highest political office in Kansas City in historic fasihion.
Then there are the other candidates. Everyone but Sly James simply used Mayor Funkhouser for a punching bag and while that’s really fun to watch, it’s not very inspiring. So the current crop of candidates didn’t really do Democracy a favor with their tactics.
Let’s not forget Kansas City history in this equation. The winter primary is mostly associated with the wicked genius of none other than Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast. Cold weather, shorter daylight hours and all around bad timing have historically kept Kansas City voters away from the polls. Pendergast just didn’t want people voting and politicos at the time kowtowed to his wishes. Sadly, so many decades after his influence no longer exists, this town must still deal with his legacy that not only include voting weirdnesses but also local control of the police. But that latter is a topic for another day.
Finally, so many people noted that African and Egypt are now fighting for Freedom and it’s lamentable the the love of Democracy just isn’t apparent in Kansas City.
My theory: As bad as things can get in KC. It’s still a lot better than some 3rd world hell hole. People in this town, including myself, tend to exaggerate about our hardships. But the fact is, things aren’t too bad in Kansas City. Even in the worst sections of town there are opportunities to make life better. So while the rest of the world wants American privilege and our life style these opportunities locally barely raise an eye and are mostly taken for granted because the reasons I listed and so many others.