How do we earn loyalty? Or lose it?

Should I remain loyal to the men and women in the three branches of that government who have shown more loyalty to self and self-service than to the electorate?

Trump meets Comey at an Oval Office reception (Image Credit: Andrew Harrer / POOL / EPA)

The ousted director of the FBI sat in front of a Senate committee and told the panelists the president of the United States had demanded the director’s loyalty.

Meanwhile, Joseph Kennedy III, a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, spoke about loyalty for two minutes on the floor of the House of Representatives. Kennedy pondered President Donald’s loyalty to the nation’s citizenry, asking whether the president “put his own personal and political interests above the interests of the American people.”

“Americans,” Kennedy said, “should never have to doubt the loyalty of our commander-in-chief.”

Given that loyalty has again entered the national conversation, I’d like to remind S&R readers of one man’s perspective about assigning — and retracting — loyalty. Here’s the post from February 2014: “A contrarian’s disheartened view of loyalty.”

Continue reading

A contrarian’s disheartened view of loyalty

As I age, I increasingly ponder loyalty. Most of us, I suspect, have an understanding of it. Perhaps it’s a feeling that we’d crawl through burning oil and run across broken glass because the person to whom we are loyal needs it. And that person never asks; we merely give unreservedly.

Lately, however, loyalty I have awarded (given? allowed? presented? What is the word that best presents bestowal of loyalty?) has been strained. Is it because I have come to expect something in return? A little quid pro quo? If that attitude has emerged in me, I am saddened. But I fear it has. I am human: I have done for others without marked compensation or gratitude for so long … but now, am I finally seeking a little sugar for my faithful attention?

I used to advertise my loyalty and I don’t believe there is a single person I loved that I didn’t eventually betray.
― Albert Camus, The Fall

Loyalty for me has always been freely given with no expectation of reciprocity. Either in an instant, or over time, I have become loyal to you. You owe me naught. But 70 years old is no longer a distant horizon. Has the erosion of physical ability or the emergence of emotional and intellectual insecurity altered that equation? Do I now need something, somehow, from an individual or institution that has received unqualified, unquestioned loyalty from me?
Continue reading

An open letter to Scott McClellan on dealing with the world's Lamar Smiths

by JS O’Brien

Dear Mr. McClellan:

Let me just start by saying that I don’t like you.  You are part of a fraternity of yes-men, mouthpieces, and belly-crawling boot-lickers spawned by Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, the father of public relations, and author of the seminal work, Propaganda.  Like you, Bernays helped some of the most despicable organizations and people get their way by manipulating public opinion

So, now you’re repentant, are you?  I suppose that’s something.  It doesn’t absolve you any more than it absolved Lee Atwater when he apologized on his death bed for being one of you, but it probably drops you a notch below Joseph Goebbels in the Public Relations Society of America’s Hall of Heroes.  Maybe if you devote the rest of your life to good works, you’ll come back as E. coli.Â

It’s the most you can hope for. Continue reading