Duty – Defined:
There are many definitions for the term duty. As a noun, duty is “a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility;” and “a task or action that someone is required to perform.” According to the Oxford Language tracker, the term duty has dropped precipitously since around 1850, but the decline has really picked up speed in decline since 1950, especially in America. Between using duty as a noun and an adjective, there are seven different definitions of duty.
A moral obligation as a duty refers to a duty which one owes, and which a person ought to perform, but which they are not legally bound to fulfill, a charity or charitable action which cannot be enforced by law. For example, I have a moral obligation to my spouse to be modest, morally upright, and considerate.
A legal obligation as a duty refers to a duty that is enforced by a court of law; it can be a debt or the legal responsibility to carry out what the law asks. For example, while driving, a person has the moral and legal obligation to adhere to the speed limits, not drive intoxicated, and not drive to abuse the social privilege of driving.
Hence, the duty can be a task, a job role, a legal obligation, a financial requirement, a moral action, but always there is a responsibility towards action. Action is an essential aspect of duty that provides impetus to action in a person.
Why are we discussing duty?
On the Matt Kennon album “Matt Kennon,” there is a song, “Some People Piss Me Off,” and the song speaks to the essence of duty and the consequences of refusing duty. When a person is witnessed to neglect their duties, the witnesses have an emotional choice to support that shirked duty through silence or other actions, or reject that shirked duty and hold the shirker responsible. I can understand Matt Kennon’s song’s meaning and agree there are situations where an angry emotional reaction clouds my mental abilities.
Watching a politician refuse to represent everyone in their geographic assignment for personal gain is one of those situations where duty being neglected tends to garner a highly emotional response, and my language tends to be very critical! When I witness nurses refusing care to a patient, I become very vocal and extremely agitated. When I observed a doctor reduce the quality of care due to the difference in political opinions between the patient and the doctor, I have become obtuse, vocal, and my tongue will etch steel to describe how horrible I detest the actions observed.
As a moral duty, I will fight bullies of all sexes, types, sizes, colors, creeds, and nationalities. I am unapologetic in my disdain and willingness to physically correct bullies. I have seen too many bullies in my time to know I cannot fight them all, I cannot stop all the bullying behaviors, but still, I fight, and I fight to win, be it fists, words, or other tools.
A sense of duty runs deep in my consciousness. I know how to fight fires; guess what; my sense of duty tells me to help. I know how to dress wounds and care for those who are physically, mentally, and emotionally wounded; guess what my sense of duty requires of me, full and unapologetic engagement.
Why talk of duty; because as an American, I have a duty to the future to see that the right’s I have enjoyed are still available for the next generation. As an American Citizen, I am the recipient of the heritage left me from my grandparents, great-grandparents, and multiple generations of predecessors. I had family in the 20th Maine as they stood on Little Roundtop at Gettysburg. These predecessors ran out of ammo, fixed bayonets, and charged the enemy so I could live a better life. How could I betray their sacrifices by not understanding the duty I owe, that they paid for in blood?
From the American Revolution, and before, to the current battles raging across the world where America sends her military, I have family who has shed blood, sweat, and tears for the ideal called “American Liberties.” How can I reject my duty; I cannot, and I am unapologetic! Understanding the duty I owe, my actions to the political mess created in America by outside and inside enemies, requires my full engagement, strength, talents, and skills, or the America I know will die an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
What is the duty required?
Duty requires that the enemies, foreign and domestic, be called the enemies they have chosen to be. In his writings, Tom Clancy reports on an incident that I have not been able to find in history but remains applicable. Aristotle was asked about a student who had left to run with the terrorists in society, and Aristotle said of the student, “There is nothing between him but the mind of a wolf.” For many countries throughout history, the wolf has stood as the enemy of the night. Raiding farms, killing without mercy, and the farmers and ranchers claimed it was their duty to kill the wolves. Without compunction, the enemies of America are the wolves, and it is our duty to address them.
How did those ancient farmers and ranchers drive off the wolves; they learned what the wolf did, how the wolf lived, how to track a wolf by the marks they left. All to protect themselves from the wolves. America is in the same situation right now; we have wolves who are preying on the weak, destroying our homes, wrecking our businesses, and we have a duty to learn about these wolves, not to join but to eradicate them. Some wolves we can protect against with words, other wolves we can defend ourselves against through law. Other wolves will require strategy and tactics to overcome and outmaneuver. But, before anything else, we must learn who the wolves are, where they reside, and how they move.
America’s enemies are scared of sunshine, so we begin to use sunshine disinfectant to spotlight the wolves, catching them in the act of treachery and learning their ways and methods. Our duty is clear; the wolves need to be defended against. It is said that democratic societies do not have an antidote against those who willfully use society’s generosity to attack and destroy that society. I beg to differ; the antidote is found in the hearts and minds of those who hunt the wolves, who stand with their neighbors, and who do not go quietly into the night; that is our duty!
© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.
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