Raise Your Right Hand: The Oath of Office for Every American

the oath of office
Call of duty: See below for your personal oath of office as an American citizen.

by DANNY RUBIN

On January 21, nearly 1 million people filed onto the National Mall to witness Barack Obama take the oath of office and give his inaugural address.

Towards the end of the nearly 20-minute speech (watch the full speech here), the president asked us to take the oath with him:

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. 

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright.  With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 

As the president embarks on his second term, let’s raise our right hands along with him and commit to participating in democracy the next four years and beyond.

Here is each line from the oath up above and how we can apply it to our own lives.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. 

Yes, Congress creates the nation’s laws, but we’re the ones who put these men and women in office.

Consider signing up for the e-newsletter from your local representative or US senators. That way, you’ll know what your elected officials are working on, how you can get involved and whether you think they deserve re-election.

For the Senate, go here. For the House, go here. Don’t know the names of your elected officials? Go here.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 

Change.org: We live in a remarkable age when we can make a meaningful difference with just a few clicks of the mouse. If you’re passionate about a cause, go to Change.org, rally people together and make things happen.

We the People: The White House offers a Web site called ‘We the People’ to file petitions and encourage others to join your effort. You can also search — and sign your name to — open petitions like this one:

Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

 Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright.  With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 

America always gears up for presidential elections, but there are so many state/local races and referendums that happen in between. Bookmark Vote411.org, a service of the non-partisan League of Women Voters. Here, you can see upcoming elections in your state, find info on absentee ballots/early voting, check on polling hours, etc…

President Obama rightly said in his speech that he can’t lead this nation alone. It takes all of us engaged in the political process to dig out of our debt and create the country we want for us, our kids and grandkids.

As the president declared in his inaugural address:

We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

 

What was your favorite part of the president’s inauguration speech? What are some other resources to help us participate in our democracy?

Share below!

 

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© 2013, Danny Rubin

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