Loyalty – Word For The Week
Followership, friendship, fandom and loyalty have evolved over the years, and in the information and social media age, it has taken an unprecedented dimension.
Loyalty is defined as faithfulness or devotion to some person, cause or nation.
Loyalty is a fundamental part of followership, fandom, friendship and more importantly, family and society at large.
In recent times, institutions and commercial enterprises have found a way to get people to commit more to a relationship with them than use to be the norm, we are pledging unabashed loyalty to products, services, concepts, movements, and other abstracts in ways our forebears would never have imagined in their wildest imaginations.
I am a Nigerian who has never stepped out of the shores of my country but I pledge affinity to Liverpool FC and will easily like you for doing the same. In one day, I followed over five people for posting beautiful stuffs about Liverpool on twitter. Interestingly enough, I know people who do even more based on such loyalty.
Get on any social media, look at people’s bios, and you can tell where their loyalty lies. If you have any doubt, scroll through their last ten to twenty posts and all of such doubts are likely to be cleared.
With great power comes great responsibility; so also with great loyalty comes great prejudice. Look at the things, people and institutions you like the most, how often have you defended them and turned out to be wrong? How many times have you seen someone defend something that common sense tells you is absolute crap? How many times have you had to give up an argument with someone defending the seemingly indefensible? That is loyalty at work.
Where do we draw the line between loyalty and blind loyalty, loyalty and jingoism, loyalty and fanatism? Where does loyalty allow for honest criticism?
There are a number of people I have come to look up to, and over the years I have come to learn that “the best of men are humans at best”. Arsene Wenger gave the footballing world the Invincibles of 2005, and gave us the Arsenal we have witnessed in the last ten years. Hugo Chavez set the foundation for what we are currently witnessing in Venezuela. Kermit Roosevelt, a grandson of a former USA president played a front role in the CIA executing a coup in Iran in 1953, and we all know how USA-Iran relationship has fared since then.
There is only One Infallible Being, and He is responsible for creation. The rest of us are mere mortals and our mortality and morality is a reflection of our imperfections.
When you see those you look up to begin to show their human tendencies, firstly, remember that they are humans like you. If it is in your power to reach out to them and give a word of advice, do just that; if it isn’t, just stick to remembering them in your prayers.
Do not go out of your way to defend things or people, don’t make someone else unhappy or lose faith in humanity because of your choice to defend what is wrong. Listen fully to their perspective and stop treating all complaints and criticism as “hating”. You don’t want to look back at these conversations and squirm at how ridiculous you now sound to yourself.
Remember, the best of men at best are men. So also the worst of men do not end up as something else, they remain in human skin and have no marks identifying them out.
In the words of one time Governor of Lagos State, “may our loyalty never be tested”.
And may our loyalty never be taken for granted.