Last time on Thanks for Listening we examined divides – real and imagined – in Kentucky coal country. In this episode, we explore a project that connected folks from Letcher County, Kentucky, with residents of Leverett, Massachusetts. After the 2016 election, when Leverett voted 86 percent for Clinton and Letcher County went 80 percent for Trump, the partisan gulf between them seemed about as wide as the geographic gulf. So two groups of courageous folks from these distant parts of the country decided to bridge that distance by literally eliminating it and visiting each other’s communities for dialogues about life, family, and politics. Join us to hear how Paula Green, a liberal facilitator from Leverett, and Gwen Johnson, a self-described “Hillbilly woman,” used the power of dialogue to connect across differences and distances.
Thanks for Listening is a podcast tracking efforts to bridge the political divide in the U.S. through dialogue and collaborative processes and spotlighting the important and often courageous work of individuals and organizations who are helping citizens engage with one another on challenging topics. Episodes will dive deep into such issues as: managing difficult family dynamics and relationships affected by partisan differences; bridging the divides in Congress, the media, and in our social media spaces; training youth to move through conflict and toward civic responsibility; embracing dialogue in the face of extremism; engaging with others on highly emotional issues; and on working to restore divided communities. We hope that through the everyday examples of ordinary and extraordinary people all over the country, listeners will find optimism that we can—and are—moving beyond partisan divides, as well as inspiration to become part of the solution. This podcast is made possible with a grant from the American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation.