Opinion: Commonplace miracles, protests and sandcastles

Commentary by Terry Anker

Former President Ronald Reagan called it a “commonplace occurrence.”  Yet he took careful note that, “In the eyes of many in the world, this every four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.” Sure, we have contentious, long and expensive campaigns. We divide ourselves into all manner and sort of identity groups. If no real distinction exists, we scurry about eager to create new categories to be celebrated, protected, attacked and over-generalized. Ultimately, we vote. We don’t vote to stop the bickering and find unification. We vote to, at long last, break from it all, return to the mundane and sublime realities of our own lives. We relax a bit. We breath.

The pause gives us much-needed opportunity to gain perspective, even if the fervent protests of a few linger beyond the November end-point. Why did our point of view win? Why did it lose? Do we still support the notion of our original conviction? Do we believe, or simply hope, that our protagonists will boldly carry our aspirations now that we have imbued them with power? Or, do we regroup to organize resistance and plan for a replacement?

Regardless of our personal position on the current state of leadership, most of us find other things to do once an election has passed. But in the imperial city we call our nation’s capital, the courtesans scramble for standing in a new order. Filling luxury airport lounges and seated at the Round Robbin Bar in the famed Willard Hotel, the K Street consultants, lawyers, lawmakers, professional protestors, media and other elites scheme and cajole to find favor and seek advantage. Much is at stake. Yet, aren’t they building sandcastles at the shore, awaiting another tide to wash them away? Political theater is played in acts. As one ends, another begins.