So I've been accused of spinning, by an unnamed person, possibly a troll, in the comments to the post below this one. It's not the first time the S-word has come up, so I thought it might be good to lay out my perspective on things. I dislike spin, and so I take the accusation pretty seriously.
I promote my candidate. That's without question. I point out to other people why I believe in him, and why I think he's the best potential president, and why I think he's got the best chance to beat Bush. If you really want to see me getting in there and making my hopeful predictions, you should check me out on the Daily Kos.
But I don't like to call what I do "spinning." Spinning is playing games with reality. It's manipulation. It's distortion. It's the politicization of the truth, and I don't think that's what I do.
Is it spin to try and figure out why my candidate failed in Iowa? To work to get the person I see as best qualified elected? To point out the failings of the newsmedia? To communicate my honest perspective to other people?
If that's spin, then there's no such thing as just talking about politics. I choose not to live in a world where honest political communication is impossible. You can call what I do whatever you want, but I'm just calling the situation as I see it. I understand this is quite a foreign concept in the world of politics, but you know maybe it's honesty's turn on to make a comeback. I sure think we could use it.
I've also been labelled a pawn. I'll freely admit I'm probably among the least politically powerful people in the country, and as such the pawn is a pretty apt description of my value in this contest. However, I resent the implication that I'm being manipulated. There's no one moving me around. I'm clever enough to read Dean's campaign strategy, and on occation I try to support and promote it. Sometimes I send them my ideas. Sometimes I promote my ideas on my own. I'm happy to play the role of citizen-participant. Democracy isn't chess.
I've also been told I'm now an insider. While its true I've been to Burlington, that was four months ago. If taking voluntary action to create technology and promoting the candidate you think is most qualified to be president makes you an insider, then I suppose I'm guilty.
But the term "insider" connotes the idea that I'm on the inside of something that others can't be a part of. That's not the case. It's really cheap and easy to think for yourself, and expressing your point of view in conversation with others is an opportunity that exists for anyone who wants to take it. Anyone can do what I do, and I honestly wish more people would. This whole deliberative processess thing only works if we have a lot of participants.
It's also true that I now work in politics professionally. To be honest, I'm slightly uncomfortable with this. My desire to participate in the political process springs from my desire to improve the state of the world, and the sense that I can be a positive asset in the universe. I'm a little wary of drawing a paycheck off that kind of thing, but I took the job because it's an opportunity for me to try and do more good work than I could as a lone agent.
Dig it; I do what I do to promote Howard Dean because I believe in him. I believe he represents progress. I believe he represents more opportunity for more people in the world. I believe his campaign is the beginning of meaningful structural reform of our political process, a necessary first step towards integrating the globe and improving the lot of humanity. Because I believe all these things, I'm fairly steadfast in my support.
That's my story. Sound like spin to you?