I grew up with four younger siblings. You can imagine the constant turmoil and conflicts. Really, what we experienced was trivial, but at the time, it seemed extreme. Despite the changing levels of love, we were a family. We could have our problems, but they stayed our private business. Any threats or harm from neighborhood kids were an attack on all of us. We took care of each other, and never disparaged a family member in public. That is loyalty.
Loyalty can be a problematic virtue; it is a persistent, sometimes painful promise, and devoted commitment. We possess our loyalties; we call them my friends, my family, my profession, my church, my team, our party, our country. We are ashamed or proud of them. We take risks or bear burdens for them.
Families expect it; organizations demand it; countries foster it. We expect loyalty in return.
People may forfeit our loyalty by asking us to set aside good judgment, “justifying” unethical conduct, or persistently violating our trust or shared values.
“When an organization wants you to do right, it asks for your integrity; when it wants you to do wrong, it demands your loyalty.”
Public disloyalty is a terrible betrayal; it says the worst about the betrayer. Private quarrels, confidential problems are not disloyalty, they are getting along with people who share your values.
President Trump’s public criticism of Attorney General Sessions is embarrassing to our country and to his administration. The crass nature of his publicized complaints violates and weakens the loyalty of his followers when loyalty is at a premium. This was not a slip, no stealth recording; it was a New York Times interview, tweets, and press statements. I am aghast at the whole spectacle.
Jeff Sessions was one of the most vocal supporters for Donald Trump during the campaign. Why would Trump stab this powerful ally in the back over an act of integrity in recusing himself in the Russia/Clinton controversies? Why this sad, rude, self-sabotage when so many important promises are waiting to be fulfilled? I cringe when I think of how this will stain his presidency, and cripple the trust of his supporters.