Loyalty (Colby)

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Loyalty
by Bainbridge Colby
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It is important that we should constantly keep before us the duty of inculcating in the minds of our citizens from overseas the true meaning and significance of America, and the high duty that rests upon every generation to sustain our blessed institutions, and to transmit them to posterity strengthened and unimpaired. The test of good citizenship is loyalty to country. And one cannot discharge the duty of loyalty without the patient and an open minded study of the institution that marked the country and defined its character. America stands for individual liberty, but that means an ordered liberty. A liberty subject to law and subordinate to the common welfare.

The social and industrial structure of America is founded upon an enlightened citizenship. This presupposes education. Americanism demands loyalty to the teacher and respect for his lesson. I am deeply concerned with the diminution of the teaching strength of the country as a result of the disproportionately low salaries that are paid to teachers throughout the country. We must look to this right promptly. It is a condition that must not be suffered to continue.

Loyalty to America means loyalty to her children's servants from president down. We must stifle the voice of hatred and faction. We must realize that there is not a man who holds office except as a result of the free choice of our citizens. It is a high patriotic duty that we support and sustain the men who have been placed in position of difficulty, burden, responsibility, and even danger as the result of our suffrages. That does not mean that we must forego just and fair criticism, or refrain from opposition to policies which are debatable or which do not command our approval. An intelligent and conscientious opposition is a part of loyalty to country. But we must not, if we are loyal, disperse our energies in a partisan warfare that is waged without regard to its consequences to the well being, security, or honor of the country.

We must be loyal to the forum of our government. Under it we have grown great in numbers, wealth, and national influence. We must be loyal to the words that have come down to us from the past, bequeathed by Americans who have lived great lives in the service of America. Loyalty to America requires that we should preserve a friendly and encouraging and sympathetic goodwill toward our day and generation. Like pictures, men should be judged by their merits and not by their defects. Loyalty will not permit envy, hate, and uncharitableness to creep into our public thinking. Thus, only in a hopeful and confident temper, in a proud and constructive spirit, will we rescue the present and safeguard the future of our beloved country. The times call loudly to each of us for loyalty -- loyalty of purpose, loyalty of thought, loyalty of effort, and the loyalty of patience.