Some Notes on Treason – what loyalty and betrayal mean
A very dark word is being spoken in my country a lot these days: “Treason.” It means a few different things, and none of them is good.
The word has been around since the thirteenth century, referring to betraying a trust. But it goes back to Latin – this is nothing new.
And of course, we’ve all heard stories of betrayal going back as far as stories go – Judas Iscariot, or the men Odysseus had to fight off to get his home and wife back (but note – always note – the one being in that home who was steadfastly loyal to him, and the only one who recognized him after all his time away, was his dog!).
But what we hear about it now mostly regards our nations, our governments. People in our governments doing acts against their own countries, their own people. For whatever reason.
Now look, I have to be honest – As a dog, I would be perfectly happy to see all national boundaries fall. Countries are human creations, and seem to create more trouble than good: wars, prejudices, even travel difficulties. But as long as they do exist, it really is a sign of bad character when someone betrays their own people (unless it’s for a truly-felt cause. I’ll never look down on those Germans who rebelled against the Nazis, for example, or Americans who sneaked slaves away from their persecutors!).
And we’ve been seeing a lot of this lately. Even leaders working against their own countries. I wonder why anyone stands for it.
(We have a situation here in the U.S. right now where our President got caught breaking the law, doing things against our country’s interests, but not only is he not admitting treason – he’s accusing the people investigating him of it!)
And this is my big concern. Not that sometimes people break laws or do bad things. That’s always happened. But I worry when I see people not caring about who their own people are – their family, their nation, even their romantic mates. And don’t even get me STARTED on those who betray or abandon their dogs!!
So what’s different today? Why is this happening now? I wonder if… maybe because you humans have become less attached to each other, due to social media? Hey, even my writings to you folks are non-national in their nature; I don’t care whether you’re in Nigeria or Pakistan – you’re all just wonderful humans to me! But while I believe that’s true, and the way the world should keep moving, that doesn’t mean I believe in betraying your own countrypeople, or your boyfriends or girlfriends either.
So as much as I avoid egotism, I’ve got to put this out here: No Dog Has Ever Committed Treason! We don’t even think that way! If a dog in a pack starts grabbing more power than they should have, the pack deals with it right away. It’s how our leadership changes. It’s not treason, it’s just our way.
Imagine a family dog turning on the family. It just doesn’t happen. Does that mean we’re better than you, or just have less imagination? I’ll leave that question up to you.
But just for now, I’d love for you to take a second to think – who are your ‘packs’ (besides this one I mean!)? Your relatives? Your school? Your city? Your place of worship?
Or how about some that get more morally difficult – would you say those of your religion? Your neighborhood? How about your race?
And just for argument’s sake, think of your current romantic relationship, or one you’d like to be in. What would you consider betrayal from them? Getting involved with someone else, probably. But what about lying to you? Lying about you? Keeping something from you? What about just losing some of their feelings for you for a time?
Where do you draw the line?
I don’t have easy answers for you. But I do know it’s important to know who you value, who you consider “your people.” And what you consider to be Treason.
Because until you know these, you won’t really know who you are.
And it’s only when you know who you are that you can truly act morally.
Or immorally. Whichever you happen to choose.