Last night's Washington state primary results were surprising in many of the races. Some of the surprises, in my opinion, were good ones whereas others leave me wondering what's really going on. It takes me back to the presentation put on by Express Employment Professionals that I attended a few weeks ago. The presenter hit on another very relevant topic, interdependence (I talked about another one in my last blog post).
I first read about interdependence in Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The concept is that all of us are born as dependent beings. As we grow older many of us discover our independence and work really hard to define ourselves and declare what makes us unique. Highly effective people, Covey explains, move beyond independence to interdependence. Like dependence, the individual relies on others, but does so consciously, without losing sight of the things that make him unique. Interdependent folks retain their individual identity, but use it in a way to work together with other people and their communities.
I think that our political races bring a lot of surprises because our local community is made up of a large number of independent people. I applaud the Northwest's emphasis on independent thinking and forming your own opinion on issues (though not everyone is willing to express them). Where our region falls short is in interdependent thinking. When people have to come together to benefit the greater good, either the fierce thorns of independence surface, causing passionate friction and factionalism, or the dictates of "political correctness" coats over the real issues so that everyone can feel good about the uninformed decision that is being made. In interdependence, individuals have the ability to step outside of their own self-focused needs and look at how the decisions being made today affect our region as a whole, now and in the future. We're lacking that in a region where folks vote on everything, yet are making decisions based on their own commutes or religious preferences and are not thinking about the benefits or detriments that their choices will make on other people, the neighborhood, region, country, or global community in the long term. This unwillingness to work together and find common ground on disparate issues brings many surprises.
We have some great finalists in the upcoming races who have the ability to look beyond partisan issues and make tough, informed decisions based on long-term impact. On the flip side, we have some finalists who are finalists because of their hard-lined, myopic focus on popular hot-button issues. It's the difference between being a politician and being an effective, results-oriented politician. I look forward to the next two and a half months of campaigns and hope that our region will make the tough decisions and choose candidates who are committed to interdependent leadership instead of independent factionalism.
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