The gadfly sings
Jane Johnson voted. I cannot describe the song in my heart as I type those words. Shut out by a quirk of Kansas’ voter registration law, a call Friday from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office said the problem was near a solution, and Monday the county clerk’s office confirmed it. Jane’s precious right to vote was restored.
Shortly after our article about Jane’s predicament appeared, she received a phone call. On the line was the same person from the Secretary of State’s office she talked to at the Kansas State Fair in early September, who at the time did little more than apologize for her slipping through the cracks. Suddenly, he was calling to offer assistance. He told Jane someone in his office brought our article to his attention.
His motivation, whether genuine concern or politically motivated troubleshooting before an election, doesn’t matter. A situation that had languished for weeks suddenly became a priority to get fixed.
Jane’s determination to stand on principle led to this resolution, but we’re happy to claim an assist. It’s what we’re here for.
We’re the gadfly. Not the kind that bites livestock; no, we’re the type that hopes to provoke positive action by shining a critical light on issues that need to be addressed. It’s what good newspapers do. Some papers shirk that responsibility, but our newspaper embraces it.
Complacency, apathy, lack of focus and direction, legal and ethical lapses, and injustice are real threats to achieving the growth and quality of life people want for our community. We call those things out when we see them, and sometimes the way we do it stings, because that’s what it takes to generate enough buzz for change to happen. Some folks wish we wouldn’t do that, but we’re not ones to stick our heads in the sand and pretend utopia has arrived.
One person, one vote. It’s not much statistically, but it’s an ethos that defines the United States of America. As the gadfly that exposed problems in the system, we helped to preserve that right for one person. That’s just the sort of thing we’re here to do.
There’s a place for the gadfly that bites to germinate action for change. We relish telling the positive stories in our community in the here and now, and we want even more and better ones in the future. As part of that, this gadfly will shine the light and continue to bite on the things that hold us back — the solutions are up to you.
- David Colburn
Last modified Nov. 6, 2014