Take the George Washington Pledge

Harold Feld launches it:

“I pledge to give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. I pledge to work toward a world where everyone may sit under their own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid. A world that scatters light and not darkness in our paths, and makes us all in our several vocations useful here, and in due time and way everlastingly happy.”

Also 20 ideas on how to navigate the coming times from Yale History Prof. Timothy Synder. Here are just the first three:

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

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2 Responses to Take the George Washington Pledge

  1. CS says:

    My German grandmother, who lived through Hitler, called me in tears today after watching a video of Richard Spencer’s D.C. speech.

    Dark times indeed.

  2. Peter D. Lederer says:

    Do read the fitting bookend to this: Masha Gessen’s “Trump: The Choice We Face” in the NYR of Books https://goo.gl/PvyGTJ

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