16 August, 2007

Where Do You Place Your Loyalty?

He walks into my office and takes a seat. I have not seen him for months, many months I think. We chat about his grandchildren, my daughter, the work he is now doing for us

And then we move to politics.

Politics, for me, is a can of worms. It is something I rarely discuss unless there is something happening, a news story, or it is the true topic being discussed in a group of friends.

Politics - a touchy subject at best. I was raised to never discuss politics or religion at the table. I guess I take it a bit further in that I rarely discuss either outside of an academic context.

And here we are, discussing politics.

Having worked with him for years, we both know that our conversation will be unemotional and not taken personally. No one will have hurt feelings when the chat is over.

Eventually the conversation moves to Oliver North, Sandy Burger, and Scooter Libby....

"Does one give loyalty to President or country?" (Country being the welfare and security of the Constitution, government, American way of life etc)

Ideally, the two should be one in the same, but when they are not...

I do not hesitate in answering the question that I posed to him as a statement and offer here as a question. The answer seemed clear cut then. After contemplation, I would answer it in the same fashion.

I answer.

There is a brief, but notable pause in the conversation.

His eyes twinkle and we both start looking around the room - at the walls, ceiling, door

"Good thing the walls don't have ears..."

18 comments:

Wombat said...

Tricky part in all that is how to describe the American way of life.

Seems there are around 300 million ideas of what that should be.

JustRun said...

I'd venture to say that at no other time in our country's history has that question required such contemplation as it does now. It is a new challenge for U.S. citizens, that's for sure.

The Exception said...

Wombat - As a non-American, how would you describe it?

The Exception said...

Just Run - I think you are correct, but I wonder how many will consider it? I am not sure I had until that moment.

Michael C said...

We talk about anything and everything in my office. When you really stop to think about it, it's amazing we can all be so candid with one another...because we all have such different views on EVERYTHING!

The Exception said...

Michael C - I want a job in your office!! Although we are a great group of people, we don't often share our opinions as candidly as you describe.

I want your office!!

AaroN said...

I work with an interesting group. Those that are too old to hear any opinion but their own and those that are too young to care about anything but getting their paycheck and partying on the weekend.

cathouse teri said...

Scary!

The Exception said...

Amiamilfaron - Now, that sounds like my office, for the most part!

Teri - Scary?

Wombat said...

Boy, how long do I have to answer, EO?

The Exception said...

Wombat - Take all the time you need! :)

KennethSF said...

Alas, how I miss those water-cooler exchanges and lunchroom debates!

I grew up in a Southeast Asian country governed by a military regime (it still is). So I think it's critical that, when we see our government heading down the wrong path, we do our civic duty to redirect. In my view, the people are the only ones standing between Democracy and Autocracy.

The Exception said...

Kenneth - I appreciate your point of view. So often we get caught up in our everyday lives and do not fully acknowledge the lines drawn between the different forms of government.

It has been suggested that the president, continuously surrounded by those willing to take a bullet or give their lives to protect him, could forget for whom he works.

The statement/question posed has more nuances than I saw at first glance. (Which I love given that I am a student of comparative politics)

Teri - Scary to think that my walls might have ears? Who knows, they might - and if they do, they have heard some very interesting things!

cathouse teri said...

Politics! Veri veri scari!

brandy said...

It's a difficult question. As someone who doesn't live in the US, I still think it's important for people HERE to be talking about issues THERE (or in the US, if my 'heres' and 'there's are starting to get complicated). I had a globalization professor who always said 'when the US sneezes, the world gets a cold'. Although in terms of Scooter Libby etc, it's a bit different, but still important that people here know what is going on, or what isn't.

Steph said...

I'm only 26 but this is the first time ever that I can remember the American people being so pissed off with a president. Clinton came close, but Bush topped his arse by miles!

The Exception said...

Teri - Politics are scary - interesting, but scary.

Brandy - The world is too big and too interconnected for each country not to have an impact at some level.

Steph - GW is a character in his own right. I am a bit older than you and don't remember a president receiving approval ratings as low as his either. Some have been close, but he takes the cake.

Gunfighter said...

I've never been one to shy away from politics... I can brawl with the best of them, and I can beat most opponents, rhetorically, in a political debate/discussion/argument...

As to your question. Loyalty is given to the country... or at least, I believe it should be.