Everyone loves the Fourth of July parade, especially everyone running for office as an incumbent. Flags are flying, bands are playing, and you get a free ride in the parade. You get to ride on the back of a shiny convertible, the back of a rustic hay wagon, or the back of whatever the local custom (and the clout of your political office) dictates. The crowds cheer and wave at you, and you get to cheer and wave back.

Newspaper editors and television news producers love the Fourth of July parades, too. "Go get me some ‘Americana’ that we can run," they tell their reporters, photographers, and video crews, and out they go for pictures of the crowds and interviews with "ordinary Americans."

Ah, the Fourth of July.

I can already hear the bands, smell the food on the grill, taste the beverages being poured . . . and see the politicians being greeted.

Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold succeeded in giving us a gift: no FISA votes in the Senate until July 8th — after the Fourth of July recess. That means that when all the Senators go home for the holidays, to ride in those parades, you have a chance to be seen and heard. Not by the intern who downloads and counts the emails, not by the staffer who answers the phones and logs the calls, but by the Honorable Senator.

In person, face to face.

In public, where they can’t turn away.

In front of the cameras, everywhere they look. 

Let me ask you this: are you ready for those reporters and photo journalists? Are you ready to see your Senator, should your parade be one in which the Senator will appear? 

If you have a place reserved for a float in your town’s parade, maybe you need an idea for your decorations. If you have a place reserved for your lawn chair or the curb, maybe you need an idea for the sign you’ll hold up when the Senator or Representative comes by.

"Hey Senator, can I have some immunity, too? — Vote NO on FISA!"

"I like the WHOLE Bill of Rights — Vote NO on FISA!"

You’ve come to the right place.

Floats have to be visual, signs have to be succinct, and chats with reporters have to be direct and to the point. I know from the comments around here that a lot of people hang out at the Lake who are good with images and with catchy phrases — now’s your chance.

"No warrant = no search — Vote NO on FISA!"

"Accountability NOW — No telecom immunity!"

"Dodd and Feingold are right — Vote NO on FISA!"

The floor is open for additional sign suggestions, conversation-starters with the folks sitting next to you, and float ideas as well. What will you tell your Senator, if you should see them next week? (You can, of course, continue to let your views be heard in their offices . . . )

After all, what could be a more patriotic way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to stand up for the Constitution?



I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.