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Washington establishment increasingly trashes the principle of loyalty
Loyalty is not a commodity that is very popular in Washington these days. It seems disloyalty is rewarded while loyalty is held in disdain. Our nation is entering a very dangerous time.
There are monetary rewards for those who show disloyalty to President Donald J. Trump. The media loves turncoat "Never-Trump" Republicans and have rewarded them with large contracts to be cable TV talking heads, to write weekly opinions in established news outlets, and with book deals. The incentive structure in the media today is to reward the most outrageous, harshest critic of the president for ratings.
Look no further than the unhinged Obama-era Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, John Brennan, for somebody who has been rewarded for disloyalty to his former employer. The CIA is a government organization that must be free from and above politics in order to be trusted as a politically neutral intelligence agency. Brennan's partisanship has ruined the CIA's reputation; because of it, some now worry about partisanship within the U.S. intelligence apparatus. While Brennan was the toast of cocktail parties throughout the D.C. Swamp, the CIA suffered an injury; the institution that helped to put John Brennan into a place of public trust has been tossed under the bus by his self-serving, virtue-signaling actions - a classic example of disloyalty being rewarded.
Loyalty to President Trump is treated far differently than loyalty to President Barack Obama. When Obama administration insiders Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta leveled some soft criticism at President Obama's politicized military decisions and passive, disengaged style of governing, the Washington Post called it "stunning disloyalty." Funny how loyalty was treasured by media cheerleaders during the Obama years, yet tossed aside for Trump.
In today's D.C. Swamp, extreme disloyalty, dancing very close to sedition, is rewarded by the media and cheered by Democrats. The idea of loyalty to this country, the Constitution and the president has been lost on so many left-wingers in America. Merriam-Webster defines loyalty as "unswerving in allegiance: such as (a) faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government" and to people, a cause, an ideal, a custom, institution or product. Loyalty is a good thing - not a bad one. Yet, many legal scholars have been trying to fool the American people into believing that the definition of loyalty is fluid when it comes to President Trump.
Look at the recent controversy over Colin Kaepernick becoming the face of Nike as a great example of perverse incentives with regard to loyalty. In August 2016, during a preseason football game, Kaepernick sat on the bench during the National Anthem and refused to stand. When asked why, he said: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." This was during a time when Kaepernick had come off a bad season and was not looking like he would be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers that season.
Americans are forgiving people and likely would have understood an angry player sitting for the National Anthem and using the one moment to make a statement about something they want changed about America. Yet, Kaepernick didn't end his protest there. He became a hero to many on the left for showing disdain for our country by continuing to kneel at every game.
Kaepernick and many of his fellow kneelers fail to understand that kneeling every time the National Anthem is played is showing disloyalty to this great nation. The First Amendment protects all Americans' political statements and expressions, yet the Constitution can't protect people from public criticism if the political expression is offensive and over-the-top.
Again, a one-time protest to make a point is one thing but a continued, prolonged demonstration of disrespect for the National Anthem and the flag is a whole other thing. The NFL players' kneeling protests continuing into this year is a celebration of disloyalty to the country. Think of all the veterans who see the flag as a symbol of what they were fighting for overseas. What about all the Americans who have come back from wars with flags draped over their coffins? Every thinking American has a gripe with our government, yet most Americans love their nation like a big family. Respecting what the American flag stands for, and a degree of loyalty to a country that has survived a civil war and many turbulent times, is important. Consistently disrespecting our symbols of America should not be rewarded.
Recently, we have witnessed a few other high-profile examples of disloyalty to our president, our nation, or to the same norms that were applied to the Obama administration. We live in great times, yet it is sad to see some individuals undermining the greatness that is America and trashing the idea of loyalty.
Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) served as a campaign manager to Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States. He is co-author of "Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of his Rise to the Presidency," and senior adviser to the Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence's political action committee.