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Civil Conversation #3: Shelly & Ray (Pt. 1)

Disagreement doesn’t have to be divisive, and sometimes it ends with a beer (or wine).

Every two weeks, we’ll bring you a new episode of Civil Conversations.  Here, we sit down with Americans from across the political spectrum to demonstrate that once you’re in the same room – once you’re having a conversation – no subject is too hard to find common understanding.

Our moderator is Civil cofounder, George Nofli.  George has been talking to people across political, ethnic, and party lines his entire life.  He studied political science at Princeton, Oxford, and UCLA, originally planning to go into policy and politics.  But his passion for storytelling almost accidentally led him to his second career in Hollywood where his writing credits include the Bourne Ultimatum and Oceans 12.  He also wrote, directed, and produced The Adjustment Bureau and The Banker.  Civil Conversations is result of George’s two lifelong passions: truly understanding people and their stories, and telling these stories in thematic, compelling, respectful ways.

In episode 3, we sat down with Shelley and Ray.  Shelley works in public relations and describes herself as a center-left Democrat.  Ray works in commercial banking and describes himself as a “Democrat but confused.”

Though Shelley and Ray are close in age and both Democrats, the conversation leads to some fundamental disagreements about policy. But it also leads to a core agreement that they’d both be happy to keep the conversation going over a beer (or wine – that part wasn’t resolved).

Compare this conversation to our first episode with Jack and Tyler – the former an 80-year-old White Trump supporter from rural Colorado, and the latter a 29-year-old Latino from Los Angeles who thinks Trump was “disgusting.” Jack and Tyler were much farther apart politically and demographically, but there was much they found in common.

This speaks to a foundational principle of Civil: people are not easily categorized into Red or Blue, Left or Right.  Humans hold a range of views, and both agreement and disagreement can be found in unexpected places. 

And if you’d like to see more of these, please consider becoming a paid subscriber:

Civil Conversations
Americans across the ideological spectrum meet to talk about politics and culture, without the screaming. New episodes twice per month.