Monday, January 23, 2006

On loyalty, friendship and similar things

So, I was printing something at work and went to collect it from the printer. I noticed that a colleague had not collected an article in the Washington Post about Larry Wilkerson, former aide to General Colin Powell, which she had printed. I got a little curious and started reading it. The article is about Wilkerson's disillusionment (to put it mildly) with the Bush administration, his relationship with Colin Powell and about Wilkerson the person.

This article made me think about this thing called loyalty. Loyalty to human beings spring not because of their position or any potential benefit to you, but out of respect and love, something Wilkerson has for Powell. Though after Wilkerson went public with his criticism of the Bush administration, the relationship between him and Powell has soured, it is clear that Wilkerson has a great sense of admiration and loyalty for the man.

The past couple of months I have wondered about this thing called friendship. Friendships are purely circumstantial. We become friends because circumstances put us together, or conversly, friendship cannot grow when circumstances are not appropriate (I can count so many people whom I would loved to have known closer, but the situations in which we met were simply not appropriate). I also think the true test of friendship is this: when the right circumstances are not available, can we still continue to remain friends?

I digress, but only slightly. Wilkerson was willing to put his friendship with Powell on the line, for something else - his commitment to his country, to the idea of America (thanks Sunil Khilnani). It is fashionable in some left circles to disparage patriotism. Though I identify with several left causes, I don't agree with this. My caveat though is that patriotism has to be based on positive attributes, rather than negativity and hate.

In today's world, where we see so much greed, hate and fear, it sure was uplifting to read and reflect about two men, their relationship and their passion for their country.

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