Dependent, Independent, and Interdependent


I’m going to give away a little campaign strategy here. Unlike the door knocking that Greg did as a child for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, we do not walk through neighborhoods and cold knock on every door. We are given a selected list, with a minimal amount of data. Registered party, previous voting frequency (not actual voting records, that is still thankfully private), and any answers to previous canvassing efforts. This data is crunched so we know if the voter is a strong democrat, a leaning republican, independent, or there is absolutely no data at all. And, the kind folks that answer their doors can be any combination of the above, as well as being new folks that have just moved in. It is not an exact science. Especially out knocking in the smaller communities of the county, there are a large number of people that identify as independent. I really started thinking about this word, it’s opposite, and the combination or expansion of the two.

Dependent is a person who relies on another, especially a family member, for financial support. As an adjective it means requiring someone or something for financial, emotional, or other support. Unable to do without. I now know for a fact that I could not be running this campaign without support. People have been incredibly generous with their funds, but even more importantly with their time, their talents, and their energy.  When I am tired and running low, someone offers emotional support in the form of just showing up for an event, or door knocking in the heat of the day. My friends meet me in the pool or out on the trail. They caffeinate me in the mornings. They listen and offer their opinions and experiences as I learn policy and procedures. I need them. I am simply unable to do without.

Independent is free from outside control; not depending on another's authority, not influenced or affected by others; impartial. It means not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence, not connected with another or with each other; separate. Prior to this campaign (and in reality, still so), I always considered myself an independent voter and an independent person. I was raised by a strong matriarch to take care of myself, to earn my own living, to manage my own finances, and to never rely on a man to do that which I could do for myself. Old lessons die hard. Even after my dad’s explanation for the divorce “Your mom never needed me, and I need to be needed,” I never really bought into the idea of relying on someone else. As far as my political background, I researched candidates and issues and made the best decision I felt I could with the information I had. I consider myself an independent voter and an impartial listener.

Interdependent means (of two or more people or things) dependent on each other. Fast forward to the last eight years of my life. My husband is diagnosed with and dies from brain cancer. I have one child just off to college, and another still in high school. Jim needs daily radiation, in Couer d’Alene. I have a job where if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Offers for rides to radiation and meals poured in. At first I resisted, then a wise friend told me, “Kathie, you have to let people do this, they need to be needed.” Dang, same lesson. Now, having years of being able to offer the same in return, I am starting to get it. Human beings are wired for connection and interdependence, it is in our DNA. The most difficult part of this campaign has been in trying to sell myself. I would much rather ask what I can do for you, what I can do for the people in this county. I depend on folks to tell me what they need. They will depend on me to listen to them, and do what I can to meet that need.

When we were on the river last week, my son, Jasper, offered to row the gear boat so I could play in a cataraft. After one longish day, we hit camp and he was parched. He had run out of water. I helped him untie the 6 gallon container from the front of the boat, and poured while he held his liter water bottle. Greg asked why he would have even asked me for help when he could have done it himself. I then realized, I raised my children to be interdependent. I truly believe it is the best way to be in this world.