And this isn’t just about figuring out why some dude in Michigan voted for Trump. Though that’s part of it. We should figure that out. It’s about actually exploring division instead of putting it in side-by-side boxes on television, whether it’s a conversation about politics or religion, race or gender, or belief itself. Ana has accrued a bunch of unlikely friends in politics, and she has strong disagreements with those friends. So why not have a civilized, thoughtful conversation (with some jokes and maybe the occasional “oh come on” because these are important issues and people feel strongly) and see what happens?
Segment 1: Bob Inglis (of RepublicEN.org) is a conservative climate change denier turned conservative climate change activist. We talk about what he’s learned about how to approach those who disagree with him — there are some concrete tips! Lots of Greek and Roman references! Segment 2: We dive into the power and powerlessness of prayer with Washington Post writer and editor Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig. (TRIGGER WARNING: CONTAINS JESUS.)
This episode wound up being about the limits and costs of empathy. First up: Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh), creator and star of the hilarious social justice (really, all of that!) series, “Decoded.” We discuss what she still feels uncomfortable talking about and who she feels uncomfortable talking to. Second segment: National correspondent for The Atlantic Graeme Wood (@gcaw), whose profile of honest-to-god Nazi and high school classmate Richard Spencer wound up being closer to his usual beat — ISIS — than Wood ever thought it would be.
Red State contributor and Never Trump stalwart (who made the Trump doc “The Sociopath”) Ben Howe (@benhowe) comes on to talk about what the Left can learn from the Tea Party’s successes and mistakes. We also dive into how leaving the conservative movement has changed how he thinks about social issues such as abortion. In the second segment, Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) helps us dispose of the question, “Is Ivanka a feminist?” Instead, we wonder if neoliberal feminism is itself the problem.
HuffPost’s Jason Linkins (@dceiver) guests on a special non-awkward, non-boundary-challenging episode in which we play some serious inside-DC media-criticism baseball! If that is the kind of thing you like, you will love this. Consider it a kind of ironic palate cleanser from last week’s intense earnestness. We’ll be back next week with your regularly scheduled discomfort.
John Moe, of “The Hilarious World of Depression” and @johnmoe, joins for a special crossover pod about depression, suicide, and stigma. This is an intense episode and those who might be sensitive to this discussion, take care of yourselves. If you are struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK. Be well. You are loved.