And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also all my brothers, and the women
****my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love
Five minutes before I stepped to the lectern to read those lines, my computer chimed with an email notification from the office of the university president, warning that one of the dorms had been vandalized with racist “hate speech.” The same message vibrated across the phones of all 150 students gathered in the lecture hall. It did not feel like we were living in Whitman’s America, and as I started reading his lines, the word love caught in my throat.