I am a public lecturer on issues revolving around business, capitalism, national and world politics, the social-determinants of life outcomes and other related issues. One definitive morsel of knowledge I have learned is that our pervasive American belief that business acumen creates effective political leadership — who then build positive outcomes for families, communities, businesses and cities — is a tragic myth. On the contrary, the flourishment of any social unit —as small as a family or as great as a nation — depends on group-minded, collaborative and equitable efforts by either the whole group or a leadership who puts a premium on the needs, desires and hopes of the whole group.
This is achieved among those who have a dynamic approach to politics: familiarity with small and corporate business, the social-determinants to health, human psychology, how to approach homelessness, deep concern for veterans and troops, effective education policies, safety and policing, the integrity and humility to be an excellent team-member, an advocate for the dispirited and unheard and marginalized and more. In a nutshell, a place that is led by leaders who put a premium on democracy is a place that flourishes — democracy meaning a system in which the public holds equal participation and influence in a society’s sociopolitical processes.
As someone who focuses on the socioeconomic vitality of cities and countries, and who has personally worked with Federal Way City council candidate Jesse Johnson in several social projects, I can attest that he is one of the rare Renaissance people who has accomplished the above qualities, but who also possesses the humility to continue learning, both from the people and from the scholarship.
Voters would be wise to beware of any politician who primarily parades their business success and acumen for voter support. Personal success in business does not correlate to wisdom in politics and therefore wisdom for the betterment of all.
Business teaches individuals, first and foremost, to exponentially maximize profit for individual gain. CEOs, for example, are trained to put shareholders first, often leading to an unspoken culture of putting profits before children, families, and environment.
Since the neoliberal economic reforms—advocated and implemented by business “experts” since the 1970s — reigned all across America, we have seen growing inequality of many types, social unrest and decreasing quality-of-life. Ample evidence exists in the public and academic spheres emphasizing that business knowledge does not produce equitable, democracy-oriented political leadership. Instead, it produces political leadership that exacerbates the struggles of unemployed and working class individuals and families, while enriching their own class. But, Federal Way deserves someone who can equitably ignite the success of those who are struggling, as well as those who are not.
Federal Way needs a people-first approach in its political sphere to produce individual, familial, small and corporate business, societal and economic flourishment. This requires leadership whose expertise is not only in the realm of business, but in those that allow all of a city to thrive: someone who knows that it takes a village to raise a child, or a student, or a firefighter, or police officer, or a politician, or even a business person. It takes an intentional switch from profit-psychology towards people-psychology to make a city bloom for everyone.
By electing Jesse Johnson, Federal Way’s resultant evolution will become a model for the region. This begins by departing from the myth that business acumen equates to the political wisdom that produces inclusive prosperity. Instead, Federal Way deserves a leader who can connect with people, organizations and businesses from every walk of life and identity.
There is only one candidate for City Council Position No. 2 who is equipped with the experience, broad resources, ingenuity, wisdom and humility required to collaborate with the public and leaders to reform Federal Way in this way, and that is Jesse Johnson. Ranging from his orientation towards youth, especially so-called at-risk youth, towards his approach to policing, large and small-scale industry, education, and increasing quality-of-life for everyone, there is no candidate better fit for Federal Way City Council than Jesse Johnson.
Ariän Taher, Auburn