I grew up in small town USA, where everyone showed up for the football games and rivalries with near-by towns ran deep. Loyalty was encouraged. Walking lockstep with the footsteps of your fathers and grandfathers was expected and anyone willing to step outside of that boundary was to one degree or another shunned. For sure they were not “cool”.
For many, high school gives way to college and allegiance remains a cherished ally. Fraternities and sororities make people prove their loyalty often in disrespectful and costly ways. And as one progresses through life and continues to choose allegiance as a way of life, the games of “us and them” continue, in politics, professional sports, work, faith and even in our families.
We have evolved into a nation of division based on our loyalties. Forget “One nation under God”. God has no say in this anymore. We have chucked our humanity for our allegiance to what we deem as “right”. We have forsaken ideals of decency and dignity for allegiances that now own us.
And apparently it has come as a serious blow to many when the cherished allegiances to football and to the flag are challenged by dissent. And I cannot help but wonder if our loyalties have now become excuses to forget our humanity. When taking a knee to the National Anthem can arouse more angst than the loss of Black, Brown and indigenous lives and the systemic oppression of poor people and the earth – we must ask ourselves if we have gone off course.
It is apparent to me that unless and until we place humanity, in its entirety, first, all else will not bear the fruit for which we hope, causing more harm than good.
Choose the allegiance that will encompass all and provide the best for all. Give loyalty where it is due. Be human first.
This piece aired on “Consider This”. WDRT FM. You can listen in to “Consider This” on Thursdays at 5:28pm CST
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