ep1 | wagging fingers — get that sausage out of my face

Claire Coward hearingUS

This is the first episode of hearingUS. (Listen to episode 1.)

I’m your host, Bert Phillips. I’m not an expert on politics, and I don’t want to talk to experts on politics.

But I do want to talk.

In the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, I think everyone sort of… woke up. It doesn’t matter who you voted for. We can all agree on one thing: We stand not as brothers and sisters but as a nation divided.

We looked around and saw… there is no… US.

For my part: I want to start building an US. And that starts with listening. hearingUS is a place where we can set aside our polemics and persuasion for 50 minutes and listen. It’s a place to hear the human stories behind our divided nation. 

I’m excited for you to join me.

Claire’s Story

For the first episode of hearingUS, I’m starting with the most basic civil unit: family.

I’m talking to Claire Coward. Claire’s a writer and an English teacher at a private school in Atlanta.

She’s also my cousin.

Claire grew up in in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, where she was raised by a hardworking upper-middle class family in a conservative community.

I don’t want to go so far as to say indoctrination… but I do remember inventing the word Demoncraps and being really, really celebrated.

As a student at Clemson University, she was exposed to new ideas. Her beliefs about topics like sexuality, religion and politics were challenged by professors, classes and other students.

For Claire, politics carry weight, but they aren’t what’s important to her.

I think it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, but I think it’s also important to realize that we have real human beings right in front of us who matter so much more than what they believe, and who need other people to help them, and we can help them regardless of what kind of taxes we pay – and I can choose to help someone any day of the week.

When Claire was making her choice about who to vote for – a choice she kept secret for months – she based her decision on which candidate valued human life more.

To Claire, the most shocking thing on the morning after the 2016 presidential election was the hate. The night before, people were With Her and Making America Great Against – the next morning, there was no unity.  

I really think that we had an opportunity as a nation to put those feelings to the test. We want to help all people and we want to unify America – but the next day we can’t even be friends with people we were friends with.


listen to episode 1

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Production & Development for hearingUS by Podcast Masters

4 thoughts on “ep1 | wagging fingers — get that sausage out of my face”

  1. I love the depth of thinking that I heard in this podcast, even when your basic premises differed. Gives me hope that you two are a reflection of many other young people out there. With thoughtful deliberations, as opposed to a vitriolic gut reactions, maybe we can become US.

    1. Appreciate it Renee. I’ve been surprised and happy about how many people seem to be able to access this sort of listening. More to learn though!…

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