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  • Last modified 29 days ago (Aug. 23, 2018)

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Lordy, lordy! Do we have a prayer of a chance?

Faces change but stories stay the same. If you can ignore whatever actual damage is done by silliness worthy of an episode of TV’s “Big Brother,” it’s actually part of what makes small- town life as addictively fulfilling as the TV show.

There’s always one public official who does things a bit differently, antagonizing others with do-it-yourself research that casts doubt on what others accept without challenge.

There’s always a bigger-than-life private citizen whose mission appears to be to provoke officials into doing stupid things by staging various situations seemingly designed to get under their skin.

And there’s always another public official who seems to want all issues swept conveniently beneath the rug of public view and who develops a penchant for trying to hurt the newspaper or anyone else who prefers government to be more open.

What’s interesting is when the three personas meet in harmonic convergence worthy of end-of-the-world prophecy from ancient soothsayers or Bronze Age tribes of indigenous people.

Welcome to Marion County 2018, where the private troublemaker is poised to challenge the public rabble-rouser for re-election and somehow has managed to get the would-be tinhorn autocrat to reveal latent pettiness.

Don’t worry that people considering moving here will be turned off by all this low-brow drama. They just need to understand that friendly feuds, like those that always seem to crop up between D List celebrities, are a time-honored local tradition that rarely cause actual problems but do give us something to read about during rerun season.

We actually like having an official who questions what others do not and who challenges the existing way of doing things. Whether it’s a county commissioner or, as it was previously, a city mayor makes no difference.

We also think the community would do well to embrace various stunts rather than fret about them. What other Kansas town has a Mt. Mike at its western approach? Maybe it could be sculpted into the shape of a rhino.

And so what if the would-be tinhorn blows a gasket by banning the mountain man from his home, his shed, and his place of business — even though the mountain man clearly hasn’t been going to any of those places because he didn’t know that one of the addresses was a shed, not a house.

We don’t fret when the same official tries to show us up by contributing a column to a competing “shopper” owned by out-of-county interests. Why should anyone else fret that he has banned the mountain man from walking into a place that houses bank accounts over which the mountain man still is the treasurer?

We don’t need to have a TV-style head-of-household competition leading to nominations for eviction. We have better drama here. We just have to embrace it.

It’s just one of those things we need to learn to expect, like how cash drawers almost never balance. If we forgive all trespasses, our daily bread goes down with a lot less indigestion. Such is the power and glory of life in Marion County, forever and ever.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified Aug. 23, 2018

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