From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘ via Mediaite: Attendees at a Hillary Clinton campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio, were asked to sign a pledge promising to vote for the candidate before they were allowed into the venue.
Yes, this is basically a loyalty oath. Loyalty is the most confounding of ethical values, because it so frequently leads to unethical resolutions of ethics conflicts, when loyalty requires the rejection of other ethical values that should be given priority. Many unethical organizations and leaders insist on loyalty even if they will disdain honesty, integrity, responsibility, accountability, fairness and decency. Used like this, loyalty becomes a virtue that enables unethical conduct. A mother refuses to report her murderous son. A wife abets her raping husband (Hello, Camille Cosby!) Another wife supports her husbands lies about his adultery. (Now who could this be?) Blind loyalty directs Southerners to insist that their forebears weren’t rebelling in support of slavery, African-Americans to insist that a black President is a great President, and patriots to spit “Disloyal!” at principled protesters of national policies abroad.
Obviously, loyalty is very useful to leaders who are untrustworthy or corrupt. They seek support out of quid quo pro transactions that insist, “You owe me! I was there for you, so you must be there for me, no matter what happens,” “no matter what happens” meaning “no matter what awful things I do and what unsavory things you learn about me.” It isn’t patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, as Samuel Johnson famously said, but loyalty. Loyalty was the main bulwark of power and survival for Don Corleone, Colonel Jessup (“A Few Good Men”), Auric Goldfinger, Darth Vader…and in the real world, Richard Nixon, Mao, Jesse James, Bill Clinton…and obviously, Hillary.
How desperate and how undemocratic to the core to make attendees to an event sign a pledge to vote for her more than a year before the election! This is how dictators and gang leaders behave, not those who believe in fair competition, election to office on the merits, and a functional democracy. A confident, deserving, ethical candidate for office doesn’t use loyalty oaths and pledges, and doesn’t need them. Hillary does need them, though.
Vote for me, not because I’ve done anything to suggest I’ll be good at the job, but because you’re loyal to the party…your gender…my husband. Pledge now, and know that if you don’t vote for me when the time comes, it’s you who are untrustworthy!
And this comes from a woman who signed a pledge that her foundation wouldn’t solicit contributions from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State…..and did anyway.