I think it's only fitting that a new mural at Jackson County's executive offices will include portraits of both former county leader Harry S. Truman and current county leader Katheryn Shields. As my friend Brad says, Sooo Kansas City.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that a leader as significant as Truman would rise out of a place like this. Kansas City is America, I think; a nearly even blend of almost all its regional influences. We're the heart. The Every American. The average. And, whether or not you like his effect on history, it's hard to deny that Truman played the plain-old-schmoe role better than anyone. Came natural to him. And that, if nothing else, demands respect, I think.
Still, he's out of character for this place. An anomoly.
I would argue that Shields is a truer representation of Kansas City, and Jackson County, Missouri.
She's adept at playing the game of power, sort of basking in the entitlement of office, accomplishing a splashy accomplishment here and there, and wasting our money, while not actually doing the shit she's supposed to do. (And she's so vain that she ordered up special printings of that article, thinking it was a glowing profile rather than a sarcastic, backhanded slap.)
She's been in the KC political game since the mid-1970s -- really in it since the late 1980s, when she got elected to city council for the first time. In that time, the heart of Kansas City has basically rotted out while our dumbass leaders have floated one stupid big-ticket item after another in their attempts to abate the ruin (and keep their developer and attorney campaign contractors flush with tax dough). And they keep doing it -- like drunks at a bar at midday, thinking one more whiskey sour is gonna make the day ok.
Yep, Shields is as good a symbol for our sorry "public servents" as any other. Might well be the best.