Remember that expediency is all about making decisions that are self-serving. And, in a sense, that’s what democracy is all about. We elect representatives to serve us, and we expect them to want the office that we elect them to. And, if they make decisions that we like, we reward them with election victories.
If they do NOT make decisions that we like, we get rid of them.
That means that politicians are going to be under pressure to act expediently, and we WANT them to. It’s a win-win situation. The politician wins and his/her constituents win.
The problem is that there is no moral character to expediency. In fact, I maintain that the practice of expediency robs you of any moral character that you started out with.
It has become a cliche that politicians enter the political arena championingÂ a cause. In their early years, they seek to right wrongs and lift up the down-trodden. And then, they come right up against their first compromise.
They hafta choose the lesser of two weevils.
They must choose between economic growth and benefits to the poor. Between that new weapons system and hot lunches for poor inner-city kids. Between what’s good for the country and what’s good for their voters.
So, they choose.
They’ll spend a few sleepless nights wrestling with their wounded conscience, but after a while their conscience doesn’t bother them so much. After enough compromise,Â a politician willÂ even wind up betraying the very issue that gotÂ him into politics in the first place.
You lose your moral compass when expediency is your guide.