The spring election cycle in Missouri came and went this past Tuesday, and most of the results were predictably bad. The two local issues which I supported, the creation of a new high school and a measure to relieve Howl County of some of its sales tax, both went down in flames by better than 2-1 margins. Those results are widely regarded as being due of heavy numbers of old people making their way to the polls.
Springfield, Missouri, had a controversial issue on the ballot to repeal an LGBT anti-discrimination measure which their city council had passed last October. Springfield, a community where I received three college degrees and feel much familiarity, is a hotbed of evangelical intolerance. The city is home to both Baptist Bible College (where Jerry Falwell received his divinity degree) and Evangel College (which was headed by John Ashcroft's father for decades.) The godly citizens of Springfield were exhorted from the pulpits to get out and vote down all of those special protections for the homos because Obama's coming to take Christian guns. Even so, the repeal just barely passed 51-49 percent.
Ferguson, Missouri, had a bit of good news on election day. The majority black community had only one of six representatives on its city council who was black until this week. Now, after Tuesday's election, three black individuals will be serving on the council. Unfortunately, two other candidates who were strongly supported by reform forces were defeated in their bids to gain seats on the city council. Over thirty percent of eligible voters went to the polls in Ferguson, almost triple the number of people who usually vote in the city's municipal elections.
Even though Missouri's most recent election results were sad in some cases and lackluster in others, there are signs that even the show-me state is slowly edging its way into the modern world. The fact that Springfield almost didn't repeal its LGBT anti-discrimination statute is certainly worthy of note, and two additional black council members in Ferguson will make it that much harder for the slugs inhabiting their city hall to pass around racist emails on city time. And congratulations are certainly in order to the city of Ferguson for its increased voter turnout. Voting is the keystone of democracy, and groups who try to limit voter participation (like the Republican Party) work against the public good.
Register and vote in every election. It's important!