Civil Conversation #7: Michael & Rod

Assuming the best intentions, and knowing the person before their beliefs

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.


Michael and Rod have known each other for decades, and have been in opposite political parties since Michael became a Democrat 14 years ago. More, Rod is fervently pro-life, and Michael is fervently pro-choice. But if you believe that abortion is murder, how does that impact the way you feel about those who hold the opposing view? How do you talk about the issue? As you might expect, our answer is: with civility; with the ability to separate the belief from the person. So much of the problem in our society today is that our beliefs have become our identity. But as Michael and Rod show, you can be on the complete opposing ends of the most difficult issues, yet still love the person. How? By beginning from the premise that the other also has the best intentions. We may disagree with another’s stance on an issue, but perhaps we can more often give grace to where the other person is starting from.

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