I'm not much of a patriot, I suppose.
But then, I don't have full citizenship rights like some of my friends and the whole rest of my family. I suppose that means something.
I am up early today, though, preparing for a parade and for some political action.
A couple magician friends of mine have a show locally and the show will be participating in Bar Harbor's July 4 parade. There are two magicians (one can't make it) and a couple of belly dancers. One of the magicians has asked me to drive my truck in the parade to carry the sound system and one of the dancers. So I will be driving my big rusty truck through downtown with a dancing belly dancer in the back. How cool is that??
The other reason I am up so early is that the state-level Freedom to Marry people have asked the Hancock County people to start collecting signatures of supportive voters and identifying volunteers for the effort to preserve marriage equality. I am one of six people who will spread out with clipboards, canvassing people, asking for their support and their signatures.
This morning I am up at an unholy hour to prepare fresh bagels for these volunteers. Volunteers are much happier and more productive when they are well fed, preferably with good food.
After the parade and subsequent seafood festival, we'll all retire back to our house here for a cookout of the veggies and chicken and spicy noodle variety and to celebrate. When lesbians grill, I suppose I should be glad there is no tofu in the mix.
What better act of patriotism could there be, I suppose, than working to make our democracy a better and more equitable place for everyone to live? Laura and I have set a wedding date of September 19, but I expect the law allowing it to be stayed by a court injunction before we can do that. Opponents are out in force already, and telephone push-polling has begun in our area.
So today, in celebration of our democracy, we shall engage in democracy. We will work to educate our fellow citizens, we will do what we can to secure their support for our civil rights. We will do what democracy is about: participatory government. Rule of the people by the people. Not by violent overthrow, not by force of might, but by ourselves. Rule by democratic means and in the name of justice. Because it is just that if we pay taxes like everyone else that we enjoy the same rights and privileges as everyone else.
Only we've got some work to do to get there.
So this morning I will make bagels for our volunteers. I will marinate supper for grilling later. I will carry my share of clipboards and talk to my share of strangers and smile when I don't feel like it. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It is a living, breathing thing, and if I don't care for it, it won't care for me.
Music on Maine Public Radio this morning is all 18th-century stuff. What was being heard in salons in Europe and the colonies as rebellion was percolating through the streets. Later I will sit and listen to my favorite voices from National Public Radio read the Declaration of Independence, and you know what? I'll get goosebumps first, and then I will weep at the beauty and strength of the words, as read by my heroes of the free press. People can say what they will about the media, but really it comes down to this: the media is the first (and sometimes last) protection the people have against tyranny. The journalists of NPR read the Declaration every year - or at least it is broadcast every year - on this date, and every year I try to make a point to listen. Google it and listen on line if you can't catch the live broadcast. It is inspiring.
Now I am ready.
We are fired up.
We are ready to go.
Watch us change the world.