Rank #1: Episode 2: Yolanda Aponte / Long Island, NY / Alt-right conspiracy theories and the nice people who believe in them
This episode features my conversation with Yolanda Aponte, a Puerto Rican woman from Long Island, NY. She's a kickass person with a happy marriage and five sons, who all seemed super well-adjusted and supported by their parents. Her home was warm and full of love. So...it was super weird for me to discover that she buys into some of the worst right-wing conspiracy theories. This conversation gets heated. The amazing part is that I came out of it freaking loving Yolanda. How is this possible, you ask? You have to hear it to believe it. If you want the hard facts on all the craziness we discuss, head to www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com and check out the Show Notes for this episode. And if you notice any info missing, shoot me an email through the Contact form and I'll fix it. This was easily my most challenging interview - I hope you enjoy it.
Rank #2: S2EP6 - Cindy & Diana - The Sister Show
Cindy and Diana Kyser are sisters who only a year ago found themselves screaming at each other over politics in front of their entire family. Cindy, a conservative, found the show through Better Angels, and she thought MARA would be a great place to work toward a better understanding of her liberal sister. This conversation is my favorite one I've ever recorded for the show. These two women found a way to take a breath and ask, "Why?" before jumping off the rails at a dissenting opinion - a lesson we could all benefit from. More at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #3: Episode 4: Ashley Rollo Part 2 / Freehold, NJ / The economy, Benghazi, and how conservatives really think
This episode features Part 2 of my conversation with the intelligent, passionate Ashley Rollo of Freehold, NJ. In Part 1, we discussed immigration and national security, but mostly focused on misogyny, sexual assault, and rape culture in America. In this episode, we talk about the economy and Benghazi - and share a laugh over how a conservative and a liberal can talk politics over coffee without throwing punches. We actually agreed on plenty of issues, and Ashley totally redefined what I think of as the conservative mindset. She gave me hope for the future of American politics, and I left the interview feeling inspired. I think you'll feel the same way after listening to this part of our conversation. Find fact checks and a transcript of the episode at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com, and feel free to email comments and questions to email@example.com.
Rank #4: S2EP3 - Kim & Nick - Capitalism vs. Welfare
On this season, I want to bring you a broad spectrum of relationships, so we can see how these conversations can work across the span of human interaction. So far, we've heard me and a dude I met in a bar - an acquaintance relationship - and a genuine pair of close friends. In this episode, I'm bringing you experts. Kim Iversen is a co-founder of the liberal news media organization, The Left, and Nick Hankoff is the Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Southern California. In this episode, they talk about capitalism versus welfare, and which system is truly more compassionate towards those in need. Transcript and more at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #5: S2EP1 - Doug & Samia - Feminism & White Privilege
For the first episode of Season 2, I'm challenging myself to have one of these conversations with a conservative man, something I was afraid I'd be incapable of when I was producing Season 1. This is the only episode in this season that will feature me as the liberal in the conversation. My conversation partner, Doug, is a researcher working with US Forces Korea, but originally from Jacksonville, Florida. In this episode, we discuss feminism (which Doug thinks is no longer necessary and I think is absolutely vital for society to move forward) and white privilege (which Doug thinks doesn't exist and I feel very strongly that it does). The result? You'll have to listen to find out, but let's just say Doug and I discovered we had more in common than we thought. More at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #6: S2EP7 - Randy & Keith - Morality & Immigration
Randy Lioz is a Better Angels workshop organizer and a liberal with some pretty strong opinions about morality as it pertains to immigration policy. Keith Holland is a conservative with an evangelical Christian background, for whom morality has been a major concern his whole life. The central question of this conversation is: do we, as the most prosperous country in the world, have a moral responsibility to maintain open borders? Or does morality demand we take care of our own first? More at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #7: Episode 5: Alley Mulrain Part 1 / New Rochelle, NY / Samia goes off about the Russia scandal
This episode was recorded on the same day as Episode 2: Yolanda. My guest is the fabulously talented, vivacious Alley Mulrain, born in Long Island and now living in New Rochelle, NY. Alley is my friend in real life, and we already had a great rapport. I was shaken from my conversation with Yolanda earlier that day. My brain was reeling at how different our perceptions of reality were. Because of that, I ended up going off on lots of rants about all sorts of issues, and Alley's so cool that she let me. She gets to speak up more in Part 2, which I'll release later in the season. For now, get ready to hear oodles of my opinions, including a long rant about the Russia investigation (as it stood back in February). For you liberals waiting for me to say my piece with no filters, this one's for you. Check the Show Notes for fact checks and updates on ongoing issues (like the Russia investigation) at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #8: Episode 8: Sarah Ito / Greenwich, CT / She's a radical lesbian feminist...and she voted for Trump
Sarah Ito is many things: an Army vet, a career Wall Streeter, a lesbian, a feminist, an actor, and a writer. She's worked alongside legendary feminist and gay rights icons like Jean O'Leary and Ginny Vida. She's the most unlikely Trump voter I could ever have imagined, but she sure knew her stuff and had really clear, well-formed opinions. Find a transcript of this episode and detailed fact checks at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #9: Episode 6: Melissa / San Jose, CA / The abortion episode
You knew it was coming, and here it is. The abortion episode. My guest, who we'll call Melissa, asked to remain anonymous because of the deeply personal nature of what she shared with me. Melissa is adamantly anti-abortion, but she's had three abortions herself - something she's kept a secret from almost everyone in her life. The conversation gets pretty heavy. As a strong feminist and women's rights advocate, this issue is hugely important to me. My fact-checker, David Sokol, and I worked extra hard on the Show Notes for this one. I strongly recommend you check them out. There are way too many myths about abortion that need to be busted, and we attempted to bust them all. The Show Notes are available on the Episode 6 page at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #10: Episode 9b: Alley Mulrain Update / North Korea, the Paris Climate Agreement, and LGBTQ rights under the Trump administration
This mini-episode features my phone call update with Alley Mulrain, recorded on August 10, 2017. We talk about how Alley thinks President Trump is doing so far, the situation with North Korea, the Paris Climate Agreement, and LGBTQ rights under the Trump administration. Show notes and transcript available at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.