Mariner appreciates the response of Readers to the last post. The idea that being loyal to one’s fellow citizens is a requirement of US citizenship has been forgotten but nevertheless remains a critical element since the founding discussions of how the United States would exist as a nation. One speculates whether the disappearance of loyalty along Main Street and the Town Square has led our citizenship to the point of civil disarray today.
As one might expect, capitalism has made an easy mark of loyalty. Every measure of self worth, success, winning and what falsely may be considered ‘virtue’ has been redefined as a dollar value; the human value of our nation fades away ever more quickly. As this occurs, the spirit of our nation weakens and feels the incursion of prejudice, greed, avarice, inequity, malfunction and unhappiness in a nation that was designed to manage itself – loyalty to all our citizens before asset statements and class.
In our desire to recover loyalty to fellow citizens as an important aspect of our citizenship, loyalty must be stronger and more entrenched than community rules, taxes and pension regulations. These acts are established as routines. A citizen understands these procedures and lives by their minimum commitment to loyalty. However, while a nice gesture, loyalty is not improving routine alone; loyalty is learning to care without provocation; loyalty doesn’t start and stop within the citizen as if the need is the provocation and loyalty is a learned response. Loyalty needs virtue to sustain commitment to our nation’s great experiment in self management.
The holiday season offers a quick window into the difference between loyalty as a provoked response and loyalty as a constant obligation: If one is motivated by holiday spirit to cough up a few extra bucks or buy a sample gift for a charitable cause, that is ritual, playing along, paying off some guilt. One incorporates virtue by believing that it is one’s obligation to be loyal; it is a pre-committed act as a meritorious part of who one is – not to separate procedures from core beliefs about moral obligations. It’s like believing in the Cubs – no matter what. You will always be there for the Cubs! You will take every opportunity to root for the wellbeing of fellow citizens.
You will be a real American Citizen.