In Neil Gaiman’s novel, “Fragile Things,” members of the Epicurean Club, who specialize in eating exotic foods, set out to Cairo, Egypt to capture the Sunbird, which they concluded is the only thing they haven’t tasted yet.
The Sunbird in this novel hews closely to the characteristics of the Phoenix in Greek mythology, a magical bird with scarlet and gold plumage that lives for hundreds of years and dies after being consumed by flames, but only to rise again.
This adventure, one of my favorite stories in this satisfying fiction novel, often reminds me of the Arizona Capitol, which is fittingly located in the city of Phoenix. Indeed, the allusion to the mythical bird is hard to miss.
For a few months each year, the Capitol burns bright with all kinds of legislative proposals, many of which die like feathers being tossed into the flames. A few make it out, but even proposals that fail never truly die. They rise again, until the right conditions give them flight to make it to the Governor’s Office.
I thought of this story going through the winners of this year’s Best of the Capitol. Everyone on the list is a connoisseur of this intriguing legislative process. Like members of the Epicurean Club setting out to capture the Sunbird, Best of the Capitol winners know that passing legislation entails delicate care, lots of preparation – and patience.
Indeed, our Founding Fathers designed the process precisely to stop the most radical of measures, while often permitting only water-downed versions of even the best ideas to go through. And the very best know that legislation must enter society not as a knife that wounds, but as nourishment to the body.
A short note to this year’s Best of the Capitol honorees and winners: Take pride in the fact that you were chosen by your peers.
And winners or not, keep tossing those bright-colored feathers into the legislative flames. Whatever happens, please be assured we at the Arizona Capitol Times are here to write about it.
– Luige del Puerto