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. 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. Find a transcript and fact checks at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com
Rank #2: Episode 11: Niky Shea Part 2 / Antifa, the alt-right, LGBTQ rights, Russia, climate change, and how emotions mean more than facts when crafting political opinions
In Part 2 of my conversation with Niky Shea, we talk Antifa protestors, how extremism is making it hard for the rest of us to communicate with each other, how Trump legitimized the alt-right, LGBTQ rights under the Trump administration, the Russia investigation, climate change, and how life experiences can deeply affect your political decisions. A smorgasbord of topics to wrap up Season 1. Fact checks and transcript available at www.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. 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 redefined what I think of as the conservative mindset. She gave me hope for the future of American politics. Find fact checks and a transcript at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #4: Episode 5: Alley Mulrain Part 1 / New Rochelle, NY / Samia goes off about the Russia scandal
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, so we already had a great rapport. I was shaken from recording Episode 2 with Yolanda Aponte earlier that day, and I ended up going off on a rant about the Russia scandal. For you liberals waiting for me to say my piece with no filters, this one's for you. Find fact checks and a transcript at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #5: 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 #6: 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. Find a transcript and fact checks at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #7: 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. 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 use.
Rank #8: Episode 7: Anne / Seguin, TX / Guns, guns, and more guns
As a liberal who grew up in a country where civilians don't really have guns, I've never understood the fiery debate over gun control. We all value human life, guns threaten that, so get rid of them - that's always been my thinking. Thanks to Anne, I have a new perspective on this issue. It hasn't changed my opinions, but I'll never jump to judgement about people who are attached to their guns again. Find fact checks and a transcript of this episode at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #9: Bonus Episode: Anne & Marsha / Austin, TX / A black woman explains white privilege to a white woman
In this special bonus episode, my high school bestie Marsha explains white privilege to Anne, my guest from Episode 7. Marsha is a diversity teacher at a university, and she's black. The patient, passionate way Marsha unpacks white privilege is a lesson for all of us on how to transform uncomfortable conversations into teaching moments, and the way Anne absorbed the information shows that this way of communicating works. Show Notes & transcript available at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #10: S2EP3 - Kim & Nick - Capitalism vs. Welfare
So far on this season, we've heard me and a dude I met in a bar, 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 #11: S2EP2 - Greg & Kouhyar - How Red & Blue Became Best Friends
Greg & Kouhyar came to me through Better Angels (www.better-angels.org). They are the red and blue co-chairs of the Better Angels Southwest Ohio Alliance, and since meeting at a BA workshop last April, they've become the best of friends, in spite of their many, MANY differences. Greg is a conservative Christian, and Kouhyar is a liberal Muslim. How are these two dudes managing to not only be civil with each other, but to maintain a tight friendship? More at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #12: Episode 8b: Sarah Ito Update / Why one Trump voter has changed her mind
So much has happened in politics since Sarah and I last spoke in early March, so I gave her a call on July 30, 2017, to see if her opinions have evolved since then. I'm so glad I did - she had a lot to say. Find fact checks and a transcript of this mini-episode at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #13: 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.
Rank #14: Episode 9: Alley Mulrain Part 2 / New Rochelle, NY / Climate change, terrorism, social safety-net programs, scapegoating minority groups, and why the GOP is against marriage equality
This episode features Part 2 of my conversation with the wonderful Alley Mulrain, who sensed my need to rant at length on all sorts of issues important to liberals. was willing to listen with an open mind, and somehow didn't strangle me. We talked climate change, terrorism, social programs, why liberals see Trump as scapegoating minority groups, and why the GOP is against marriage equality. Fact checks and transcript available at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #15: S2EP7 - Randy & Keith - Morality & Immigration
Randy Lioz is a Better Angels workshop organizer and liberal with some 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: do we as Americans have a moral responsibility to maintain open borders? Or does morality demand we take care of our own first? More at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #16: S2EP4 - Karlie & Andrew - Abortion
Karlie & Andrew are both scientists working in the field of neuroscience, and they came together to discuss one of the most polarizing issues in politics today: abortion. Karlie believes strongly that the decision to obtain an abortion should be left up to women, and that abortions should be free and legal. Andrew feels the life of an unborn fetus is too valuable to allow a woman to end it - that it's akin to murdering another human being. More at makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #17: S2EP5 - John & Ciaran - The Supreme Court
John Wood Jr. is a Republican who once ran against Maxine Waters for Congress - and came closer to beating her than anyone else ever. He's now the Director of Media Development for Better Angels, and the man responsible for bringing MARA into their media family. Ciaran is a Democrat who serves as Better Angels' Director of Communications. I brought them together to talk about the Supreme Court, and the respect and humility both men brought is exactly what Better Angels and MARA are all about.
Rank #18: Episode 3: Ashley Rollo Part 1 / Freehold, NJ / Immigration, Bernie vs. Hillary, Pussygate, sexual assault and rape culture in America
This episode features the first half of my conversation with New Jersey native and lifelong conservative Ashley Rollo. In Part 1, we talk a bit about immigration and Bernie vs. Hillary, but the conversation is dominated by an intense discussion concerning Pussygate, sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, feminism and rape culture in America. It gets real personal. Find a transcript and fact checks at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #19: 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. My conversation partner, Doug, is a researcher working with US Forces Korea, but originally from Jacksonville, Florida. 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). More at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.
Rank #20: Episode 10: Niky Shea Part 1 / Why Trump is not like Hitler, Obamacare, late-term abortion, and whether or not conservatives are a persecuted group
Burlesque dancer and model Niky Shea describes herself as a moderate, and she wanted to come on the show to explain why comparisons between Trump and Hitler make no sense. We ended up talking for over three hours with no breaks about nearly every major issue surrounding the 2016 election and the Trump administration. This is the first half of that conversation. Fact checks and transcript available at www.makeamericarelatepodcast.com.