Joe Miller: To Vote or Not to Vote, That Was the Question

That thing I wrote last week about voting for Mike Burke? Total lie.

It wasn’t a lie at the time I wrote it. But today, as I stepped out of my house and headed for the polling place, I realized that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Maybe it was the conversation I had this weekend with one of my neighbors. He said he was voting for Sly James because his wife, who used to work right in the middle of everything at City Hall, said Burke is exactly the same kind of leader we’ve always had. He’s always been part of the in-crowd, and the in-crowd is who has made this city the fucked up mess that it is.

Hard to come up with a good response to that one.

So as I strolled down to the old Catholic church where I do my voting, I thought about who I might vote for.

I couldn’t vote for James; I’d already decided against that.

So who could I write in?

My first thought was Lee Bohannon. He’s an old dude who’s been around and in the thick of it forever. He was right there on the scene when the city erupted in riots in 1968, and he was in the thick of a lot of the black-power-type reform and community revitalization stuff through the 70s and 80s.

He told me a few years back that he wanted to run for mayor. Said the town needed something with pizazz. That’s how I got to thinking about him today.

Last I knew him, he was working for LINC and hosting chess tournaments for inner-city kids.

He’s a good guy, got a great heart. And, unfortunately, that’s two strikes against him for this job.

I tried to come up with someone tougher and I immediately thought of my old editor at the Pitch, C.J. Janovy.

She’s got a good heart, too, and I think she genuinely cares about the city. But she’s also tough as hell and doesn’t suffer fools. Plus she’s definitely had to navigate politics, working for as long as she did as a buffer between her corporate bosses and her reporters, who she fought for and protected.

Still, she might be a little past her prime, in terms of KC politics.

There’s only so much you can take, and her recent exit from the Pitch into the world of PR for cancer-curers suggests she’d maybe had enough.

Then it occurred to me: Calvin Williford, right hand man to Mike Sanders in Jackson County.

Now there’s a guy who can bring calm to politically turbulent waters, and who can get things done. Plus I’ve had coffee with him a few times and I’ve hung out with him at his house, so I can assure you he’s a true mensch.

So I went in the precinct, got my ballot, and, of course, there’s no space for a write-in. I asked the poll workers, and they said I couldn’t do it. Judge declared that a primary precluded a need for write-in, because I already had a chance to write someone in the primary.

I thought about it and I said, “Oh hell, I’ll just exercise my right of protest.”

So officially, I voted for no one.

But for all you spirits out there who died for the right to vote, I want you to know I still went in there and did my job, if only in honor of you.

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