We have been raised to believe that loyalty is a virtue, particularly when it comes to politics. Yet this idea that we should be loyal to a party or a party leader at all costs, is a big reason for why Malta’s political scene has been turned into a bi-partisan battlefield in which we are all on the losing side.
See, one of the problems with being loyal is that you can sometimes be blinded by that very same noble sentiment. And this is what has truly come to the fore over this past week as Muscat (finally) resigned from Parliament and Delia lost the PN leadership election.
“Loyalty is not a virtue when you decide to remain hard-headed”
On the one hand, we had people write romantic eulogies to Muscat to thank him for his work, while completely disregarding the fact that his tenure was mired in scandals, corruption allegations and the assassination of a journalist in broad daylight. On the other, we had highly-publicised resignations by loyal Delia supporters who took Grech’s victory pretty badly. They claimed they didn’t recognise their party, but they also failed to notice that the voters in the PN’s leadership election were by and large the same ones who had placed their trust in Delia just three years before.
This sort of loyalty is often hailed as being righteous, but it is anything but. In fact, it continues to build on the belief that parties should stick to their guns whether they’re in the right or in the wrong, and that supporters should flock behind their political leaders whether they agree with their rhetoric and actions or not.
“We invest it in parties and people rather than in ideas, ideologies and meaningful values”
Loyalty is not a virtue when you decide to remain hard-headed even when the facts dispute what you believe in or what you want to be true. In that case, loyalty is what continues to push the idea that politicians can do as they please so long as they have the support of their people.
So what is the solution, you may ask? Well, we need to be loyal to what we believe is right, even if it hurts our egos. We also need to be more mindful and look at the bigger picture: Is a leader really a leader if people don’t trust them? Is progress in one area worth the regress in another? And if the party or the leader is excusing the inexcusable, can they really have the country’s best interest at heart?
This is the problem with loyalty: we invest it in parties and people rather than in ideas, ideologies and meaningful values, which we have thought about and placed our convictions in. Until that changes, we will remain in the same gutter, forever going round in circles that are destructive to us and those around us.