Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Citizen's Oath

As we all know there has been a great amount of hype and interest in President-Elect Obama's impending inauguration; possibly more so than any modern inaugural. Even more important (I think) has been the renewed interest and excitement in coming together as a nation and fostering a new culture of service.

John F. Kennedy famously said in his inaugural speech that Americans should "...ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Whether or not you agreed with his politics, I'm confident everyone can agree with that sentiment. I'm very hopeful that we will see this renewed attitude of citizen-engagement and national service stay for the long run, not be a short-lived A.D.D asterisk in American history.

For my part, I'm making a new year's resolution to be more active and involved in my communities (neighborhood, local, and national -- thanks, Charlie!), but I'm taking it a slight step further and also taking the Citizen's Oath. By doing so with friends and family on Inauguration Day I hope to accomplish two things:
  1. Coaxing them into joining me in taking the Oath
  2. Enlisting their help in keeping me true to my Oath.
The Citizen's Oath was created by the National Conference on Citizenship (a non-partisan non-profit that I've mentioned before, mainly focusing on civic engagement and "defining modern citizenship") and first administered by Senators Harris Wofford and Robert Byrd on Citizenship Day 2006.

I encourage everyone to take the Oath this year, either on Inauguration Day with the Prez-elect, today, tomorrow, whenever. I find this to be a much more meaningful expression of patriotism than the Pledge of Allegiance or any other affirmation I have seen yet.

Here it is:

As an American I embrace the responsibilities of self-government.

-I PLEDGE to learn and live the principles set forth in the charters that define our freedoms: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

-I PLEDGE to keep myself informed about the challenges that face our country and world, and to work with others to meet those challenges.

-I PLEDGE to assist persons in need, and thereby strengthen the bonds among us.

-I PLEDGE to register and vote when I am of age, in every election in which I am eligible.

-I PLEDGE to conduct myself according to the highest standards of civic decency, to foster those standards throughout my community and to expect them of all public officials.

Through these acts, I commit myself to building a more just, humane, and ethical nation, for my own and all future generations.

**For more on the Citizen's Oath or the history of the Presidential Oath of Office, visit NCoC's guide on their website here.

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