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‘Spin Room’ in living rooms can reflect respect for relationships

This election season, I have become more aware of the Spin Room, or perhaps more accurately, the “spin process.”

Many of us enjoy hearing what the pundits think about debate performances or statements or events.  They have the ability to contextualize statements within history or broader realities in ways that provide a richer canvas for me to view the whole.  That is the role of the talking heads: pundits, journalists, newscasters, right?  So I am grateful for the likes of Michael Beschloss, David Brooks and Mark Shields, to name a few favorites, revealing as that may be. 

Voters look for information that will assist them, with some quite biased opinions, to find a degree of balance, objectivity.  It helps us to know what others think about the implications of events, proposals, policy statements.  We can be energized by respectful, open discussions of politics. 

I am a Democrat. My brother is a Republican.  I have learned so much from him because he thinks deeply about our country and its direction, as do I, and even though we favor different paths, strategies and goals, we converse with an openness that I treasure.   Neither of us feels compelled to change our views, and we are both careful of our respect for the other.  Occasionally we even find common ground.

The “spin process” often does not offer those enrichments so much as it defends one side against the other, often at the expense of objective truth.  Each side seems to be able to “spin” a story to the advantage of its side or candidate while questioning the credibility of the “other.” 

So Spin Rooms are filled with bright people who listen with a preparatory ear for sound bites that can be fed to the airwaves to the benefit of their candidate, and possible ways of turning any negatives into strengths, or even offering an explanatory interpretation of what the candidate meant. 

Then the news programs offer air time to members of the Spin Rooms on both sides, and fantastic as it may seem, it often sounds as if each of the candidates bested the other!  That is their role.   What if there were only one Spin Room, complete with fact checkers, and we could hear that lively discussion. 

The bottom line, for me, is this:  I am committed to being a Gospel woman.  I know my values.  I know what I hope for in my country. 

Many people of faith listen for statements of inclusion, justice, compassion, mercy, communities of concern, anti-war sentiments, collaboration for the common good of every citizen, not just in our country, but in our world.  Jesus articulated these values clearly in the Beatitudes.  So in my living room, my Spin Room, that is what we listen to hear and cheer. 

To keep alive the ideals of the Gospel, of our country and of our humanity is our role as people of faith.

Mary Ann Farley, SNJM

Contributing Editor

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