Loyalty is in short supply this day and age, as Americans are at each other’s throats as partisanship has spread from Washington into our daily lives
For the past several days, I have rifled through a number of episodes of Scandal , an ABC series. It features Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a “fixer” of political and personal problems in the nation’s capital. Admittedly, my attraction to the show is partially because of the star character’s beauty and charisma. However, the storyline contains another important theme that most viewers should appreciate: loyalty.
Every one of Pope’s employees has a very complex and dysfunctional history including insider trading, domestic violence, black ops, and murder. These people are loyal to Pope, who recruited each one of them during low points in their lives. She is the mastermind of her business, and when she speaks it is gospel.
Pope is loyal to her subordinates to an extreme, a trait that is certainly becoming less prevalent in our society. She loves her co-workers and protects them. Her firm is a well-oiled machine where each employee does his or her job with enthusiasm and great skill. But the most important thing that binds them is loyalty.
Scandal is sensational and unrealistic at times. But, the underlying importance of loyalty to the program is something worth dwelling upon in our lives. And so, here are eight aspects of life where loyalty is important.
Fidelity to one’s life partner is probably the most intimate form of loyalty. It’s what solidifies a relationship between lovers. How can two people share their most private thoughts in an environment devoid of trust? When one party steps over the line, the bond is broken and is forever lost. It is the beginning of a slippery slope that is impossible to reverse. Can a person in a relationship ever forget betrayal? I don’t believe so.
There are many among us who are unhappy with our government. Young people today believe they are unique in this regard. Discontent in American history is not a new phenomenon. Nevertheless, most protesters believe America continues to be the greatest place on earth. Loyalty comes into play when malcontents resort to violence to make their point. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never encouraged physical confrontation, and he was responsible for some of the most important social changes in America. When anyone crosses the line, from peaceful to violent protest, his relationship with this country is marred forever.
The bond that exists between a company and its employees is critical to the success of the enterprise. There are very few more important symbiotic relationships. In fact, every company proclaims its workers are its most important asset. Yet, the two have experienced many strained moments since the Industrial Revolution. At different times, the pendulum swings and one group dominates the other. But, when an advantage becomes abusive, unfair work rules or excessive compensation demands, loyalty and partnership are lost and both sides suffer.
Generally, if every American strove to be “fair” in their dealings with others, the country would be a better place. However, cheating on taxes, cheating on medical reimbursement, stealing from others, taking advantage of customers, and so on, erodes the loyalty and trust we have for each other. The resultant society is one that is more dysfunctional each year and far less efficient. If medical fraud vanished, the savings would likely be large enough to finance universal health care.
Americans must obey the law, if our society is going to persevere. Every misdemeanor and felony weakens our nation and must be dealt with aggressively by the courts. Those that abuse others, create havoc, commit crimes against humanity, etc. must be punished with little mercy. And those who threaten national security are among the worst offenders. They are in effect attacking our way of life and each American’s chances to be happy.
6. Ethics and morality
Behavior is also affected by our personal standards. Americans must be ethical and moral. We should make decisions that are righteous and fair, with empathy for others. Standing by and watching Americans starve for any reason is immoral. Not providing an education for all children in America is unconscionable.
7. Hard work
Americans must be able to work. It is the responsibility of the federal government to create jobs if the private sector cannot. Many of the political and social problems we face as a nation have evolved from a system that does not demand that every able-bodied person work. Giving people aid who are not handicapped is a form of enslavement. It is unfair, as the recipient’s dependence grows with each dollar of aid, and it is unfair to working Americans who are taxed to finance inappropriate financial benefits.
Every person has a constitutional and God-given right to be happy, so long as it is not at the expense of others. Gay marriage is a perfect example of this issue. There is no public policy benefit to prohibit two people of the same sex to formally express their love for each other.
Olivia Pope is loyal to her employees, and her employees are loyal to her. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Americans should be loyal and expect it from others in return.