skip to main content
caption: The Civic Saturday Team, with Roberto Maestas, at El Centro de la Raza
Enlarge Icon
The Civic Saturday Team, with Roberto Maestas, at El Centro de la Raza
Credit: KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

What is the point of an oath?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services poses and answers these questions:

  • What is the supreme law of the land? The Constitution.
  • What does the Constitution do? Sets up the government. Defines the government. Protects basic rights of Americans.
  • The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words? We the People.

We, the People. What is our individual and collective responsibility for citizenship? What is our role in democracy? Is it to vote, pay taxes and obey laws? Or is it something more? How are we meant to dedicate ourselves to and come together in citizenship?

In the midst of a time of great division, in his Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln said:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us….that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

We live in a historically significant time, for our republic and the presidency. The Civic Saturday series speaks directly to our time. It asks us to engage in it, to consider the ideas that formed our union, to think clearly about our part in it and renew our commitment its continuation. The organizers invite us to participate, to listen, speak and sing about our American experience.

Civic Saturday is part of the work of Seattle’s Citizen University. Eric Liu and Jená Cane are the co-founders. Liu’s latest book is Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy. Poet Ebo Barton offered opening and closing works.

This Civic Saturday event took place on January 25 at El Centro de la Raza. The next gathering will take place at The Hillman City Collaboratory on March 28.