I know someone from a small town in Ohio who describes the 4th like this: In the afternoon, he and his family left the house dressed head to toe in red, white and blue. His Mom carried a casserole, his sister a pie, and his Dad held two folding beach chairs. They greeted their neighbors in the street and began to walk together toward the pond. As they went families joined the progression until it seemed everyone in the little town had gathered at the pond. Adults sat in their folding chairs and enjoyed refreshments while the kids went swimming. Food and drink were plentiful. And if this were not enough, just after sunset, his Mom wrapped him in a huge towel and set him on his father's lap for the fireworks show exploding over the water. It was a day to love this country. And the country deserved it.

I want to feel that way. I want to love my country, and not just the uninhabited sections. And so this year I am going to the Rainbow Gathering! Perfect right?! It is being held in Washington about an hour from Portland. And on the final day, today, the entire festival of 20,000 people will join hands for a silent prayer for peace. Of course I am going for the people watching and frisbee tossing but I will also grasp the hand of my neighbor and silence my voice, my critique, my resistance to this American experience for one afternoon among the redwoods.

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