Monday, August 3, 2009

"The Real Mayor"

There’s the job of the Mayor and then there’s “being” the Mayor.

Naturally there have been surprises since taking office, and also things I anticipated but are just different when you (I) actually experience them. Being “The Mayor” is one of those things.

It’s clear that people want more from the Mayor than to simply do a good job and represent the City in various formal occasions and community gatherings. It’s also more than being an ombudsman and a one person complaint bureau. There is a character in the play, “Ashland, the City”, called The Mayor and the play just isn’t the same if whom we see up on stage is Joe X in a Mayor’s costume.

So who is this character? I’d like to know your opinions.

Personally, I’m in the process of figuring it out, playing by ear, occasionally being fed lines from the prompter’s box. I believe the Mayor is in love with the city, is fascinated by it, proud and protective of it. He (or she) tells its story, not just the past but also where it’s going. He steals a lot of the story from others; wherever he goes he listens for fragments and then strings them together into a yarn.

I also think “the Mayor” feels for (on behalf of; symbolically?) the city. He expresses the city’s heart: its compassion, its optimism, its generosity, its reserve,

At his best “the Mayor” enunciates the communal wisdom and is a reassuring voice in uncertain times...

Now I’m freaking myself out. How can anyone do all that?

Oh, and the Mayor has to be real.