“I have no regrets” — Ana Marie Cox across the political divide

When Ana Marie Cox launched her podcast “With Friends Like These,” she promised her listeners “uncomfortable conversations” with people who have different points of view. Last week’s podcast delivered that fifty times over. Cox took her microphone to Trump’s campaign rally in Iowa and interviewed a range of people waiting to get inside. The episode’s title tells the sad, sad story. It’s a quote from one of the people who voted for him: “I have no regrets.”

Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox’s Instagram profile photo

Before I get into the content of the interviews, I need to state an incontrovertible truth:

Ana Marie Cox has the patience of a saint.

I mean, I know she’s a longtime journalist—just let go this week from MTV News—but she listened without comment to some of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard. Without comment. I mean, the woman has the “uh-huh” of a seasoned therapist.

“Some of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard.” And I’m not talking about the older man who thinks we should send gang members to the moon—literally. Or maybe Mars.

As I recall, more than one person cited the riots in Berkeley as a sign of just how out-of-control and intolerant the left is. “As I recall” because while everyone should listen to this episode, it would be cruel and unusual punishment to make anyone listen to it twice.

Ana Marie Cox: the patience of a saint, the microphone of a journalist

Intolerance runs rampant through these interviews, though there was far less racism and sexism on display than I’d expected. Perhaps the interviewees were on their best behavior. One businessman worried about “retaliation” from the left if his identity were revealed. Apparently conservatives are being targeted, boycotted even. Apparently it’s rude of us to inject politics into business. Those folks who refuse to bake wedding cakes for LGBT couples, or the landlord asking his tenants to show their citizenship papers—they’re not expressing political views through their business. Right? Ana Marie Cox just listened. A saint, I tell ya.

Cox asked several of her subjects which policy of Trump’s they supported most strongly. I nearly did a spit-take when one woman said, emphatically: “His agricultural policies.”

His what?

Seriously, listen to this podcast. It’s important to know who we’re dealing with. The world is calcifying into “us” and “them” with no apparent regard for objective truth.

Of course, I firmly believe the truth resides with “us.” The problem is, the other side believes they’re the “us.” And the more we push against them, the more they’ll cling to their position.

Who wants to be shown to be wrong?

Thanks to Ana Marie Cox for putting her patience to the test so we could hear people on the other side of this political Grand Canyon. Now all we need to do is figure out how to talk to them.


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