An American Oath

We, the undersigned, accept:

That our country has never not been defined by hate, division, oppression, and greed.

That, here in America, individual feats over injustice are hailed as progress, although all such feats combined together don’t make up so much as a full step toward sustainable collective progress.

That we cannot speak of progress until we acknowledge and embrace what America has been historically, a place where the Dream has always been out of reach for far too many people for there to have ever been room for a credible claim on equality and justice.

That this country responded to eight years of one of the most dignified, scandal-less presidencies in our nation’s history by vomiting the kind of toxic bile into our nation’s Capital that threatens the very existence of the world as we know it.

That people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, women, the disabled, the poor and huddled masses have not only never mattered enough to those in positions of authority to change the power dynamics of our sociopolitical landscape, but they matter so little that our lives were consciously put into the perilous hands of an administration that seeks to dehumanize us further, more openly and boldly now than ever before.

That regardless of whether we had spoken up when they had come for each of us, we are now awake and roaring rage because we see that they are coming for all of us, and we know that there are more of us than there are places to hide.

That we should have seen this coming.

That we didn’t see this coming because the more information has become available to us, the less informed we have become.

That we are uninformed because we have come to worship pundits and commentators more than authors who bleed their lives onto volumes of pages from which we no longer learn.

That we are unable to decipher truth from among rubbles of debris because we are not educated.

That to claim to be educated is to recognize how much we don’t know, and to seek meaningful ways to learn from history, from the world, and from each other, with the aim of making the world bearable for as many people as possible.

That our oppression makes us brothers and sisters, and that we are each other’s keeper; that we must be, if there has ever been a call loud and clear enough to heed.

That we are rising now not to restore equality, justice, and American greatness, but to build an America that will be equal, just, and great, like a Phoenix rising out of a place that has always been on fire.

That unless we bring together into a quilt the banners of the outrage of our respective people, we will suffocate under the weight of blanket attacks we now know to expect from those in power who no longer hide that they want to see us crushed.

That bigotry and hate are a mighty wall, and that only by merging our paths to justice can we hope to bring it down, which we must do, if we are to survive.

That although American stories always have happy endings, the American story might not.

That it will not, unless we stand up, speak up, and write the ending of our choice.

That the time to begin writing was yesterday, so we must begin today.

That we must rise up.

That we will overcome.

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