You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Puppetry Arts Institute (in Englewood) isn’t the only place where you can watch a show where someone behind the scenes is pulling the strings.

In just four short months, (give or take a few days), the election filings for the City Council begin, and in this marionette theater, there are political Pinocchios who are dreaming of becoming real live City Council members.

While your average fellow citizen may be unaware of the fast-approaching contest, the usual suspects, the Geppettos of Independence politics, are already stirring themselves into action, and they are seeking out fresh wood. (They know who they are – even if you don’t.)

And this is about the time in an election cycle when they awaken a couple of slumbering citizens, carve them into political Pinocchios and convince them to run against the incumbents.

The whittlers (and chiselers) emboldened their puppets with encouragement and hope based upon false promises of money and support. So, don’t blame the candidates. It’s unlikely they have experience in the business of elections.

How could they know they have very little chance of winning? Or that their political guides, creators and masters merely want them to stir the pot of discontent? That creating a controversy and directing negative attention toward political opponents is the definition of success?

The well-meaning marionette in this “scripted” fairy tale will play out their starring role as either a “mud slinger,” by heaping criticism upon the bad guys in office, or a “town crier of bad news” by fomenting an illusion that there exists an undercurrent of discontent in the general populace. (Unlike you, many of your neighbors don’t pay much attention to local matters, so discontent has to be nurtured or artificially induced.)

As usual, there will also be murmurings about being taxed too much and “The voice of the people will be heard!” But from what I am hearing this time around, our political marionettes will be fashioned from two “hot” topics – the woes and misery caused by a lack of funding for the public busses, and the woes and misery caused by inadequate resources to counter gangs and their graffiti.

And it’s not that these aren’t important issues, it’s that they are not sufficiently important to enough of the public to cause the “rabble to rise up” and take a moment and vote.

Regardless, the usual suspects will continue to offer their experience and ideas to these political novices. Providing encouragement that an on-line dialogue between two bloggers and having repetitive telephone discussions will convince the hoards of non-voters to show up and be counted on the day of the election.

Their real goal is to create political leverage, from which to negotiate deals, favors and contracts with their opponents, who are most likely to win anyway. “It’s just politics.”

And so, forget all that and reflect upon the fact that in the original fairy tale, Pinocchio’s dream came true. He became a real live boy, but that for a while, along the way, he became a donkey. 

The challenge for all political Pinocchios should be, if you awake one day to find you are a real live City Council member, try and avoid becoming a donkey along the way. 

Yee haw! Let the show begin!