Does Durkan get credit for changing her mind?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation Don and I had Monday about interim Police Chief Carmen Best and her new boss, Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Durkan got it wrong about not considering Best for the police chief job and changed her mind, but did it in the most classic politician way you can think of — the weekend press release without admitting you got it wrong.
I agree with Don that the way something is done is important. That’s what trust and integrity are all about. Don is 100 percent right in his belief that we should expect a process of integrity from public servants. The more I think about it, that would be the best way something gets accomplished. Do the right thing the right way.
But what about doing the right thing the wrong way? Should we give any credit there?
I say this as a person that has always had a very tough time admitting when I’m wrong. We’ve joked about it on the show as a running gag, but there’s a kernel of truth to it. I can be very stubborn that way.
It’s taken me many years to be able to say, “Yep, I was wrong. You make a good point.” It’s still very difficult for me to do and almost impossible to do in real time when I’m agitated or feel backed into a corner. But I’m working on it.
I can’t speak for the mayor, but when I admit I was wrong, and then change my mind, there’s part of me that wants an award or some kind of special recognition. I want the rest of the world to acknowledge how difficult that was for me. I realize how immature that instinct is, but in the back of my mind, it’s still there.
So in a perfect world, our politicians would just step up to a podium and do what Gandhi did when he flip flopped. “I am human and I make mistakes. Therefore my commitment must be to truth and not to consistency.”
Alas, the Mayor of Seattle is no Gandhi. It took her a while, and she really had to contort herself behind the scenes to save face, but in the end she got there and made a good choice.
I know it’s hard to admit it, so I’ll do it for you, Jenny. “I made a mistake on that one. I changed my mind and I think we are all back on track now. My apologies to Carmen Best for putting you through this embarrassing process. I’ll do my best to listen better going forward.”
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