We've heard so much about how divided the country had become during and after the presidential election and we wondered: Could Coloradans sit down and figure each other out? So, we pulled together a group of people from different walks of life and political viewpoints, served them dinner, and asked them listen and talk to each other. We also visited them where they live and produced a series of video portraits.
We spoke with Trump supporters Karina Gaylord, who lives in Arvada and is a small business consultant, Annette Gonzalez of Pueblo, who takes care of five grandchildren, and Sandy Russell of Palmer Lake, who's a retired teacher who now works as a counselor. Our Clinton supporters were Adam Brock, of Denver, who does nonprofit consulting, and Brian Pacini, also of Denver, who works in data operations. Mehdi Khan of Aurora is an engineer and a Green Party voter.
Cultural change and racism concerned all of our guests, as did the vitriolic tone in Washington and how politics has divided friends and families.
We were joined by mediator Mark Gerzon of Boulder, who helped the panel work through disagreements about climate change.
What happens when a person of one faith steps into another faith’s house of worship?
Annette Gonzalez thought she was late. But perhaps the important thing, to her, was that she had made the journey up from Pueblo at all.
Collinus Newsome was a Clinton supporter. Brian Yates couldn’t bring himself to vote for Trump, but describes himself as a small-government kind of voter. A photo on Brian’s wall brought them together.
Research shows the American public has grown more polarized along partisan lines in the last two decades. These are some efforts underway in Colorado and across the country that try to build bridges.