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Is your Patriotism Full of Sound and Fury, or Year-Round?

Most of us spent July 4th draped in flags and fireworks. But when was the last time you truly participated in our democracy?

Who is your city council member? State representative? State senator?

Are you registered to vote? Do you vote in local elections or primaries?

What issues are facing your community? In my neighborhood, there is a long-term plan to take four lanes down to two, add bike lanes and roundabouts. In a word, it is controversial and some neighbors are mounting a public-awareness campaign. Other neighborhoods are facing rezoning to allow more luxury condos or see property values rise so high that long-term residents can no longer afford their neighborhood. These types of issues can make a big impact on your day-to-day.

Do you whine about jury duty and ask your friends how to get out of it successfully? As an attorney, this one particularly galls me. Jury trials are the bedrock of the American democracy. They are so important, that the right to a jury trial (by one’s peers) is in the Constitution. Serving on a jury is one of the most direct ways for a citizen to participate in our government. Juries protect from tyranny and help provide a strong judicial branch of government that is equal to the other two branches.

Now that the fireworks have faded away, see how you can practice your patriotism year-round.

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