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The Accidental Podcaster: Election Night
I've known Dave since I was six years old. Our families lived five doors apart from each other, my siblings and his brothers were always at one another's houses, and I've always looked at them like they were my own brothers. 95% of my interviewing and questioning skills come directly from mock newscasts done with Dave as a child. My first "anchor" position was behind a cardboard box on his mom's lawn while he shouted his on-location news report over from the sidewalk. His grandmother may have asked us to stop doing that, which is why ten minutes later I got my first editor job publishing the short lived "First Street News" (Dave was the reporter for that, too, and I'm pretty sure we still got yelled at for being loud).

This doesn't mean we always agreed on everything, and as adults, we still don't. Dave went into this election as a big Trump supporter; I was so horrified by both main choices that I cast a conscience vote for someone else (no, not Johnson or Stein, either, and yes, it was a real political candidate). But on the areas where we differed, Dave always did something that a lot of people don't: the issues he was most passionate about he backed up with solid reasoning, but he also actively sought out people with different viewpoints as a challenge to his own. Even when we were kids, playing schoolhouse in their play room or pretending to be news reporters on the sidewalk outside my house, he always asked questions, sought opinions, checked facts. He wasn't content with just having his own opinion; he was actively interested in yours. It was a trait that served him well later in life as a news reporter, and sets a strong example for the students in the media classes he teaches.

So when I sat down tonight, I had a different piece I'd intended to be finishing for this column (late, per usual. I think I'm more honest with these posts when deadlines are looming). But I've been utterly captivated by Dave's independent election night coverage through Facebook Live. Titled "Tough Talk," their group put together a diverse and entertaining panel representing both sides of the political spectrum and led probably the most balanced and engaging political discussion I've seen all year. Ray, Ivan, and Deismond were well spoken and highly entertaining, their chat was lively (always helpful with panels), and I enjoyed how everyone, both on panel and in chat, had some really good questions and comments.

The best part, though, was that it proved it IS in fact possible to have a discussion on issues that affect all of us, with people who hold widely different opinions, and have a civil, friendly, but honest conversation about it. These guys aren't politely biting their tongues about their own stances while the others grandstand; they're actually having intelligent discussion and challenging one another in a constructive way.

I really want to see them spin this off into a regular thing, because whatever your personal feelings on this election, shows like this give me hope. It means people are still talking, still thinking, and are still invested enough in our collective futures that maybe, just maybe, things are going to get better. Not because of who gets elected tonight (at the time of this writing, the presidency has not yet been decided), but because we the people elected to start talking with one another, debating our issues, and deciding to start the change.
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