Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Dangers of Blind Allegiance

A couple of nights ago, my wife and I were sitting down semi-watching the news.  One segment particularly caught my attention as they were talking about how the Democratic Party hopeful, Hillary Clinton, had gone to Flint, MI to speak out about the recent water crisis.  They followed this report with a snippet of the commercial depicting black people in support of Hillary.  Now, I did not see the whole segment as it may have well included others in Flint because there are other ethnicities living there as well. So, I don't want to make this a black or white thing, but the story triggered a larger concern for me.

As we all know, it's presidential-race season and the political posturing is in full swing. That commercial made me question for a moment: “Why do people follow a group or entity without even questioning why they do it or the deeper implications of this action?” Then the phrase "blind allegiance" came to mind.  So, today that's what I want to discuss, but first, let's get a definition of each word separately and then work our way from there.

blind (adj) -  Unable or unwilling to perceive or understand; Not based on reason or evidence; unquestioning

allegiance (n) - Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, or cause.

From this, I would conclude that "blind allegiance" is when someone has loyalty (or the obligation of loyalty) not based on reason or evidence and no question as to why it is they are loyal.  In addition, they are not willing and do not have a desire to understand why it is they are loyal.

So just to level-set things, the issue of following blindly is not just in politics, but we see it in other common places such as work and even church. It just so happens that politics is an easy one right now because of the current "season". Circling back to the news segment, it made me realize how people are a part of political parties and do not have any idea why. Many are affiliated  through their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, aunts...well you get the point.  It is almost as if the majority of folks are born that way. As an African American, I can personally speak to this and a quote from the Washington Post sums, it up best:

"Black voters hold an unusual position in American politics. They vote heavily Democratic, as you know, and have for decades." - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/31/democrats-are-heavily-dependent-on-the-black-vote-thats-an-opportunity-for-the-gop/

This used to describe me as well, but one day I asked "Why?" I could not really answer anything other than, "I'm Black, of course I am a Democrat."  Yes, I know that was a real show of ignorance on my part, but that was how I used to think. It made me take a step back and ask questions and in part I had no reason to be affiliated as a Democrat other than I never sought the information for myself to make my own decisions.  Everyone has their own opinion, however, a look at the graphic on the Washington Post link above is very telling. In part, almost all African Americans vote Democratic. The question I would ask is why?  What has that party done to earn your loyalty? This is not a question for just Blacks and Democrats, but for anyone who has blindly positioned themselves behind one party, without even deeply reflecting on it’s true meaning as it measures up to yourself. The political side of this could carry on forever and the aim is not to bash anyone or a group, but rather to trigger thoughts, using something that is readily relevant.  

As such, I can take this same topic to the Christian church.  There are some people who have had generations of families attend the same church.  It's not right or wrong, but this type of thing can easily take on the look of "don't ask questions, just do because we've always done".  In addition to this, you have people who blindly follow the leaders of churches whether their character and fruit line up with the Word of God or not. As a Christian, we are called to "know them by their fruits", with “them” being false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing (see Matthew 7:16). We are constantly called to ensure that each member of the body of Christ is living by the Word and as such we cannot blindly ignore wrongdoing.

When you give someone, an entity, or ideal a free pass of loyalty without even questioning it, you essentially make yourself gullible. Standing behind something without really knowing why you stand behind it is as about as safe as a blindfolded person driving a car 60 mph down a crowded street. That's just not safe.  Even if you do not presently see the effects, blind allegiance is harmful. Don't allow yourself to be blind about anything or anyone you support. Opening your eyes may hurt and may cause you to part ways with your past convictions when you sit down and put everything on the table. But, to make informed decisions, this is necessary. On the other hand, if you know the WHY to your decisions and you are comfortable with the WHY then you are not blind. You have made a conscious decision to be loyal to someone or something. I am not saying that the decision is right or wrong, but it is about not being blind to what is happening around you.

We as people, tend to ignore a lot of things and continue on with life, making decisions for no other reason than “don’t ask questions, just do because we’ve always done…”. It is as though at times we are eyes-wide-open and at other times we have them tightly closed. I have to put myself under the microscope and in that same vain, I have to ask:  What or who are you blindly following? On that note, I will leave you with this quote.

"The eyes are useless when the mind is blind." -- author unknown

Be easy folks.


* Definitions are from TheFreeDictionary.com

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