The C word

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How many politicians go into politics, do you think, yearning to be the epitome of the oily, corrupt, elected representative their constituents eagerly line up to distrust? I’d posit a ratio of One in Ten thousand; if that.

Yet puzzlingly, it seems the ultimate fate of those who hold power. Why? What is it about power that corrupts: apart from the mountain of yes-minions, fat dinners, foreign trips and catering of all whims, what could possibly go wrong? The combination convinces the official theirs is the summum bonum of importance to their surroundings: without them, the world disintegrates. Who wouldn’t be seduced by all that?

I wonder if the answer isn’t rather simple? A word, in fact. It’s what I call The C Word. The word that begins with C and ends in Ompromise.

Now, I stabled my high horse before settling down to write so there’s no use mounting yours to decry this as arrant, myopic nonsense. Dialogue clearly requires diplomacy and generosity of spirit if agreement is to be reached between parties who start at opposite ends of a spectrum. But hold a moment. The C word requires relinquishing principles, values, ideals. Are they martyred for the greater good or mere expediency? Either way, this seems to me to corrode the spirit. Chipping away at foundations on which we stand eventually leads to sinking into the mire, all stability of balance lost.

Agreement within ourselves neither to inflict nor sustain harm – as sound a definition of Justice as any I know – [not mine, alas: Plato’s] has the happy consequence of a justly lived life. And by living justly, we treat others justly; such are the ripples in a sea of content.

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