Expediency – Convenience or Principle

As I lay in bed worrying about my missing cat last night, I admitted again that the reason I haven’t bonded deeply with my recent pets is that I am tired of loss.  In the end, they all leave.  Animals usually leave involuntarily, but people mostly leave of their own accord.  I am still trying to decide whether people leave because they get to know you too well or because you don’t let them know you well enough.

This question is why I don’t believe in a lifetime romantic relationship.  I subscribe to the time-honored cliché of “the only constant is change.”  People and circumstances change over time.  Unless the relationship changes with them, it will peter out and end.  My goal is to recognize the point before the relationship become caustic and to avoid passive-aggressive behavior (in myself and towards me by others).

Value in relationships is just as important as value in the marketplace.  Destroying that value is wasteful.  Self-awareness is the tool that maintains the value.  I know my own strengths and weaknesses.  Am I always able to apply the knowledge?  Of course not!  But I do try to live up to my values rather than down to expediency.  And expediency is my big fault.  (I even think expediency may be the fault of a whole generation and our current political situation in the US is just the most blatant example.)

So, what does expediency mean to me?  It means avoidance and evaluation.  For example, if I know certain energy sapping behaviors will occur in a relationship,  I either avoid the person or the circumstances that support those behaviors.  That’s avoidance.  When I’m involved in a discussion or disagreement, I ask myself if the end result is worth the amount of energy and aggravation entailed.  That’s evaluation.

This is nearly the dictionary definition of expediency:

noun: expediency; plural noun: expediencies

  1. the quality of being convenient and practical despite possibly being improper or immoral; convenience.
    “an act of political expediency”

I do have some principles which I refuse to subject to convenience.  One of the “discussions” that I had while on vacation in Hawaii, reminded me of this.  And the trigger was Colin Kaepernick.  He took a knee during the national anthem at one of the NFL games.  According to Wikipedia, “His actions prompted a wide variety of responses, including additional athletes in the NFL and other U.S. sports leagues protesting the anthem in various ways.”  This has led to the NFL owners leaving him unemployed despite fans continuing to buy his jersey and his obvious abilities.

I argued that his “punishment” was disgraceful, unjustified and unfair.  The opposing viewpoint was that the NFL owners were within their rights and he was responsible for the results of his actions – that he obviously cared more about politics than playing football.  If he wanted to play, he shouldn’t have done something so public.  Or, kept doing it.  Or, inspired others to do similar things.  The NFL owners want to ensure their control of their “employees” and that other players don’t continue acting or speaking out (as they might offend someone and adversely impact profits).  Keeping your head down, compromising your principles, and condoning bad acts is true expediency.  Inaction (i.e. failing to take action) is also an action.  You are remaining silent.  The more attention or effect your actions will have, the more responsible you are for both choices:  action or inaction.

Colin Kaepernick is one of my heroes.  I am not a sports fan, but I do admire courage and principled action.