Letter to the Community: Summer break is time for Sworn to Refuse

May 7, 2019, 1:57 a.m.

SStanford students, faculty and staff are travelers, wouldn’t you agree? Come vacation, so many of us run off to all corners of the United States and the globe, for return home, R&R, work, travel, sport, research, romance, exploration and more.

Now, I believe that, at this particular point in America’s history, many of you would very much like to use some portion of your summer to contribute toward building and strengthening the national bulwark against government corruption, law-breaking and rights violation. “But how could I make an actual difference,” you rightly ask, “when the rule of law is so often being questioned, doubted, attacked and trampled under by government employees and certain media organizations at the highest levels?”

Sworn to Refuse, a nonpartisan organization founded two and a half years ago in Boulder, Colorado, has a simple, profound goal: that, as soon as possible, all oath-taking government employees and contract workers in federal, state, county, municipal and other governments (e.g. school districts) in the United States be informed, encouraged and supported that they have the right and responsibility to refuse any order or directive the fulfillment of which would cause them to violate their oath.

Imagine a veritable minefield of conscientious government workers, committed to following their oaths of office, spanning the whole country and populating our military and foreign service corps, their individual identities unknown, ready to refuse illegitimate orders and report such orders or witnessed improprieties to the proper authorities and/or news media. Imagine the pause this state of affairs would give to those in high places engaged in corruption or planning to violate people’s civil or human rights. Imagine the misrule that would be prevented or exposed and shut down.

The urgency of our country’s present moment is driving Sworn to Refuse to make every effort to spread our message nationally. This is where you, dear traveling readers, can have real impact. When you return home for vacation, when you voyage to distant places and meet fellow Americans, when you’re catching up on correspondence, you can use these opportunities to educate people about Sworn to Refuse’s project and how they can take part in it. You can also communicate directly with people you know personally who are in government, write to your representatives, contact city council members, and/or write to local news media.

Contact Sworn to Refuse via sworntorefuse.info ‘at’ gmail.com for ideas and materials to use in your outreach. Thank you.

— Matt Nicodemus ’82 (Philosophy), co-founder and co-coordinator of Sworn to Refuse.

Contact Matt Nicodemus at mattnico8 ‘at’ yahoo.com.

The Daily is committed to publishing a diversity of op-eds and letters to the editor. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Email letters to the editor to eic ‘at’ stanforddaily.com and op-ed submissions to opinions ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

Login or create an account