Thursday, October 02, 2008

Spin Zone

Yes, I'm ranting a bit lately. I am experiencing a little bit of reverse culture shock lately (though the positives far outweigh the negatives, mind you), so the cell phone thing, and especially the cell phone while driving thing (or worse yet, TEXTING while driving...unimagineable! I saw a woman doing this during morning traffic on the interstate this week, and she drove worse than any drunk driver I've ever seen) is something I'm just not used to.

But, this being an election year, and being out of U.S. politics for nine years (so I even missed the "hanging chad" election, and yes, I even voted though I was in a small rural town in a developing VOTE!) has caused me to realize I have not been a political observer in this country for a long time. Although, I am so glad most places have given up the little truck that drives around with the speaker on top, loudly proclaiming the virtues of their party. (Taiwan hasn't)

I am amazed at this point at the amount of spin that is out there. I used to teach a unit of study to my gifted students about elections, and the students were amazed to see how easy it is to sway others to a party's platform. They discovered that few people fact check. They could say just about anything to other classes, and if it was a popular idea, they got the vote. Once they had this experience, we back pedaled and looked at ads from local politicians (Florida was electing a governor at this point) to see if this was going on with them. They were shocked. If I had to do that lesson again, I would have them cast their votes on a candidate first, then cast them again to see if there was a change. But I digress.

Spinning the TRUTH is something that politicians were good at, but would never publicly acknowledge doing. Now, I'm seeing it as a point of pride, with interviews after debates with party "spin doctors" to talk about who did better, who swayed viewers the best.

The reason I take spinning to task, is that it goes against what we teach our children when they are younger and they only tell one side of a story, or only present elements of an event to paint themselves in a better light. They are telling the truth, but not the whole truth, for their personal benefit. They use elements of truth to present a facade and cause people think in one direction, when the opposite is actually true. There is deniability within the elements of truth rather than the whole truth. It can always be said, "Oh, you misunderstood...I never actually said...." I know people like this personally, and they are not to be trusted. Period. So why do we allow it with our candidates?

So tonight during the vice presidential debate, I'll be working to unspin the spin, and listening for real, honest truth. It's a tough job, but it's my responsibility as a citizen. I think I've got enough practice now to do a fairly decent job of it.


Craver Vii said...

So what did you think? (I missed it.)

Lifelong Learner said...

The spin continues! ha! Actually, I thought Sarah Palin heald her own against Joe Biden, even though his experience really showed through. Clearly he is more knowledgeable about how things work, but that also doesn't mean she would be less effective.

I didn't hear HOW they are going to do things. Biden gave a pitch about lowering the principal on mortgages. It's a new idea he and Obama want to try. My husband and I looked at each other and went, "Huh?" Not sure how that would work.

And I still don't know HOW the McCain/Palin ticket is going to reach across the "aisle" and reduce bipartisanship.

I will vote for McCain/Palin, as I really don't see Obama offering anything but rhetoric, and we have McCain's record that gives us an idea of what he's about.

Have you seen any clips? What did you think?