Archive for May, 2010

Is it really okay to sacrifice integrity?

May 18, 2010

Recently over dinner, the conversation turned to politics.  While I don’t want to get into that discussion here, I mentioned that our president had made promises during his campaign that he didn’t keep.   That our president tells lies.  I mentioned that there traits in U.S. politics are unfortunately not limited to just the president.   My dinner companiions were supporters — make that avid supporters — of the president — and admitted to the many broken promises and lies, but one man said, “Sometimes you have to sacrifice your integrity to do the right thing.”  There were nods of agreement (but not from me).

Since that conversation I’ve done some thinking about why the sacrificing of integrity has become acceptable to so many people.  I’ve concluded our heroes are partly responsible.   Sports figures have been the culprit.  A coach takes a job at a college, making a commitment to players and future players, and then for a more presigious position or more money, he goes to another school.  He’s rewarded monetarily.  The politicians have also been the culprit; those who lie and still get elected.  They’re rewarded with power and money.  The professional athlete who want to renegotiate a contract and holds out.  He’s rewarded with more money.  The film star, the singer, the businessman who’s unfaithful, rarely pays for sacrificing his or her integrity.   This happens over and opver again, and the media educates us on what it means to sacrifice integrity.  It is demonstrated time and time again that sacrificing integrity means very little in terms of consequences, and too often that sacrificing integrity pays. 

I’m fearful that someday people will be judged as being strong if they sacrifice integrity and be judged weak for demonstrating a firm adherence to a moral code  — Webster’s definitiion of integrity.

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