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Friday, March 30, 2007

Questioning Loyalty

The media and blogs are throwing the word "Treason" around now that Congress voted to impose a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. Here's a recent, amusingly over-the-top article from the New York Post:

U.S. HOUSE OF QUITTERS: CONGRESS CUTS AND RUNS

March 29, 2007 -- After the vote in the House of Representatives to pull the troops out of Iraq, can there be any doubt that the Democratic Party is the party of treason, surrender and retreat ("Nancy's Veto Bait," Editorial, March 24)?

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, betrayal of the troops is what the American people wanted.

People who voted Democratic wanted betrayal, and they got it. Now they have to live with it.

Read the full article
The rhetoric set me off to musing about treason, betrayal, and the meaning of loyalty.

First, I think it's important to remember that our country was actually founded through an act of treason -- in the eyes of Great Britain, we're a country of traitors. Take a look at some of the words that kick-started our revolution:

... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

(Read the Answers.com article on it for a lot more info)

The allegation of Treason and the questioning of loyalty is often made by those in power who have just lost some of it or are feeling their privileged position threatened.

Loyalty is a two-way street, and it should only be freely given to those who have earned our respect and proven they have our best interests at heart. To remain loyal to a government, religion, family member or friend who has lost your trust is self-defeating and foolish. It's the kind of blind allegiance one might expect of a dog, not a human being.

So, ask yourself what it is exactly you owe a goverment that has made a point to deny responsibility for your well being -- by cutting every social service put in place during the New Deal, by gutting environmental regulations, by undermining our Constitution and the protections against abuses of our liberties. Is that a government that has your "Safety and Happiness" at heart? It might not yet have met the standard of a "long train of abuses" to start a revolution, but it's certainly done enough to merit getting voted out.
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