DescriptionOne Small Step conversation partners Mary Beausoleil (78) and Ken Picard (55) talk about civil liberties, free speech and the press.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Mary Beausoleil
- Ken Picard
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00:00 38 years old today is October 7th, 2021 and I am in at my home in Lyndonville Vermont. In a conversation with Ken Picard who is no relationship to me outside of this partnership.
00:22 Mary, I'm just going to have you repeat your name cuz I think the very beginning of it, got clipped. My name is Mary beausoleil Soleil, French name.
00:38 Perfect. Thank you.
00:41 And my name is Ken Picard. Turn the 56 next week today. It's a sorry, October 7th, 2021 and we are speaking. I'm speaking for my home and Charlotte Vermont. I am speaking to Mary beausoleil and we have no prior relationship for this conversation.
01:07 Okay, excellent. Thank you. I'm going to put the 1st.
01:11 Question in the cat here and Ken. Why don't you ask Mary this question first?
01:22 Well, I've read about the concept of the whole thing. And I really liked the concept and
01:30 I hadn't thought of trying to do this and then the other situation. But I think it's certainly often wondered what anyone can do to Tamp down the climate that exists around us today, and that's my reason for wanting to do it.
02:00 Great. Thank you. Mary. Why don't you go ahead and ask him that same question. What made you want to do it? I would have to agree with a lot of. I feel like we live in a democracy that has become increasingly dysfunctional. We live in a society where most of us including myself, spend less and less time. Speaking to people, whose views. I don't necessarily drive with our own, and but I personally feel that if you actually sit down and get to know people, we have far more in common than the small number of things that we differ on. And I have wanted even before I heard about this project. I've really wanted to be
02:51 Define some way of reaching out to people, whose views May disagree with me on things, or I may disagree with them, but still recognizing their humanity and wanting to go to build a build, a better country, in a better community.
03:11 Excellent. Thank you.
03:15 Now, I'm going to go ahead and put your FiOS here.
03:22 And Mary, I'm going to put Ken's in here first and I want you to go ahead and read hens just as it's written and then ask him a question about it. Okay?
03:37 I was born and raised in a Jewish upper-middle-class household on Long Island, but I'm non-religious and science oriented the raised in New York by liberal Democrat parents. I've lived in eight different States, including traditional red one, Texas, Idaho and Montana before settling in Vermont as a professional journalist. I consider myself openminded, I'm less impressed by titles Fame and Fortune than I am by people who are honest sincere compassionate and committed to helping others.
04:10 Okay, the first thing that,
04:14 Jumped out of me, just a little bit was when you mentioned being born and raised in a Jewish upper-middle-class household. I immediately and mentally inserted on the upper west side because that is a place that I'm familiar with, but I am not the least bit familiar with Long Island, so I don't right away. I imagine, you know, what, a city there looks like except. I mean, I certainly know kind of what Suburbia looks like in general but especially in upper-middle-class when that means it's not really it's probably not tract housing and stuff like that. So I can't really quite imagine where you grew up. But anyway,
05:03 That's good to know. I'm glad to know that.
05:07 And then when you do what you do to Karen, do you want me to continue or yeah, that's fine. And and Ken, feel free. If you want to elaborate and set the stage for us a little bit about your, you know, you're growing up here is feel free to do so. And, and I'm absolutely. So, you know what? I grew up it, in some ways. It was a, it was traditional upbringing in the sense that my father work and my mom stayed at home the most part. And, you know, it would kind of very conventional Suburbia. Most of the people that I grew up with and went to school with it was like, like Vermont in one sense, was that it was predominantly white in those years. Most people. I knew where either Jewish or Catholic, and people were catholic for either Irish or Italian. Most people were probably second-generation American, maybe their grandparents were immigrant. Most of my friends parents were.
06:07 Professional doctors or lawyers or business. People who worked in New York City and maybe commuted. No. Got on the Long Island Rail Road into New York City to work. Today is a very different place and you couldn't pay me to live there.
06:29 Mary, anything else you want to ask him about his bio. Another thing that that I noticed was the
06:39 The second part is that first sentence where you said but I'm non-religious and science oriented. I assume that you are contrasting that with a traditional religious background when you're saying non-religious and science oriented. Do you consider science and religion kind of incompatible? No, not necessarily really strictly just describing that you know, I mentioned that I had a Jewish upbringing but I am not I would consider myself secular at this point. It's it's not the lens through which I look at the world. I know many many people, I have many friends and family members who are still religious.
07:27 But, and, and I feel like for many of them, religion provides a good ethical basis for looking at the world for me personally. And for my family, we choose to be good compassionate generous, people, regardless of whether or not we practice religion and so I don't see science and religion as necessarily incompatible with one another. Nor do I judge people who are religious religious, unless or, until they start telling me that, I must follow their religious views, and that's where I start to push back on it. So,
08:13 Is the science-oriented part 2. Do you have to do like major in a science or are you a science reporter?
08:23 No, I think it it's more. I think that I'm really interested in buying personally, and it's
08:35 I think science shows us how infinitely complex the university is. And so when I look at the wonders of the Universe, I look at it through a scientific Viewpoint. I don't think science has all the answers, certainly not yet. But it's it's simply a way of. It's one way of solving problems and finding solution.
09:03 And how did you happen to come to Vermont?
09:07 So, I was living in Montana for about five years, where I worked as the managing editor of the newspaper and I
09:18 Well, you're a couple of reasons. I took over as managing editor in June of two thousand two thousand, one shortly. My the editor. I was working for a left on short notice and my the publisher asked me if I would have been until I agreed to do it and then four months later, 9/11 hit and
09:44 I had spent two years going through the World Trade Center every single day for work. I lived in Hoboken, New Jersey. I used to work in lower Manhattan and 20, really? No kidding.
10:02 But not every day. But yeah, yeah, that was an easy trip in 12 minutes past train ride right at the end. So when 9/11 hit I was at the time, it was the biggest story of of my life and I was stuck behind a desk trying to get the local movie theaters to send it movie times in. And as a journalist. I felt really frustrated that I wasn't out able to be reporting this huge, huge story. That was obviously a life-changing for all of us.
10:38 And I'm around that time my dad off of his health was starting to decline. I lost them in 2004. But at that time, I really want to get back to the east coast. He and my mom were still living on Long Island and I started looking around for place. That was like, Missoula, Montana where I was living. And so I want you to find out somewhere on the East Coast. A college town where people were into the outdoors, which had a few Progressive politics. And people who like to do things outside, go hiking and skiing and snowboarding at that sort of thing. And obviously Burlington was a with a good fit and I happen to connect with 7 Days newspaper, right? About the time that they were looking to start a news apartment. And so I was their first staff writer and I've I've been there ever since.
11:36 Congratulations, you, I like 7 days coming from a fellow journalist. Make it means a lot coming from. Well, I know it's a very, very tough climate for newspapers. I think there is an awful lot of mistrust in journalism right now. There's a lot of partisanship in in journalism. And, and so that's become that, you know, I know that's, you know, my goal has always been to treat people, you know, honestly and fairly and report what they say, accurately, not just the word, but the context and in Vermont has been a wonderful play. It really has a is six hundred and thirty something thousand people here, and I've
12:36 20 years and I haven't run out of people to write about. So that's been a good thing.
12:45 Grateful, thank you. I'm going to
12:48 Mary's bio here in the chat and can I want you to read it as written and then ask her some questions about it and a former liberal. I was a newspaper reporter editor for many years and I also lived in other states for several years. Before returning home in two thousand, one of, if not, the most important issues to me is the ongoing assault on our civil liberties, by the left. I'm also he also deeply saddened by the corruption of the media. And the cowardice is so many people both right and left. I mostly stopped following politics and don't look to it for useful Solutions.
13:26 I guess my first question for you. Marry your native harmonica. Where whereabouts. Did you grow up?
13:34 Well, right near where I live right now. I was born in St. Johnsbury, and I grew up in this part of the state except for, I went to UVM and I lived in Burlington for a little while, but it's mostly been here and waited. You work at the work in journalism.
13:58 Well, I started and then they caledonian-record the local newspaper. Johnsbury and then, I went to the Valley News in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Is there as an editor?
14:15 Then I went to the Richmond Virginia Times-Dispatch, and I was kind of what I was wanting to get back into reporting. I felt as if I gone right into editing, maybe sooner than I really wanted to do is much to be learned from editing for sure, even to help reporting. But I felt like I wanted to go back to reporting 7 Richmond. I am I covered Banking and agriculture, mostly as a former liberal. How would you describe yourself now?
14:53 I would describe myself. Now is a mostly conservative.
15:01 Politically, but
15:06 I don't consider myself really Republic and now though, if people ask me, if I'm a republican in the contacts that usually meant I usually say yes because it feel like I was denying my
15:23 My Association if I didn't but I don't really consider myself much of a Republican and independent types made more politically, but that doesn't really mean very much and be usually if people ask you they want to know more than that, even if you don't want to tell him then that's a good good thing to tell him if you don't. But right now I would have to describe myself as an independent as well. And I voted for Bernie Sanders, but I also voted for Phil Scott. So and that's one of the things I like about the models that you people. People tend to do that. One thing that I would certainly like to know more about is you say, one of, if not, the most important issues to you is beyond, I'm doing a salt on our civil liberties, by the left, and I'm wondering specifically, what, what you mean by that? Like if Are there specific rights or Liberties that use the
16:23 Be taken away and a man out. So well, you might disagree with this.
16:35 I never thought I would see the day when people would be saying that.
16:42 Free speech is a bad thing. For example, and I have heard people say that. I don't know it, you know, I can always tell if I'm hearing a lot of people say that or just an occasional person say that, but it seems describe more than a few individuals who are actually saying that, you know, free speech speech is not useful, the rationale for it. I don't totally understand. I guess, I don't understand it at all. Usually, really, I mean, I grew up on, on the the answer to bad speech is, is more speech. I don't think there's a whole lot of space between your views on that and mine. I think.
17:37 That right. There is definitely an effort to
17:43 Silence people or to cancel culture I think? Is it really talk is really toxic and frankly. I think a lot of that. If not, all of that is a matter that is certainly coming from from the left. And I am as critical as that as I am of some of the more intolerant positions on the right, special in the far, right?
18:09 And you know, you mentioned you your saddened by the corruption of the media have felt like what it what is it that you see that that troubles you.
18:24 They during the last election, for example, the unabashed effort on the part of a lot of the media to make sure Trump didn't get elected.
18:41 And then, in another sense.
18:45 Just reading individual pieces. And in newspapers that I used to read a lot like the New York Times. For example, I mean,
18:57 It is a lot of our just would be a good textbook case in and buy us. And I've often thought of that because I used to be a teacher too, and I'll go that was before I was a journalist. So I didn't do much of the analysis of of journalistic writing, which I would do now, if I would teaching, right?
19:23 And I got, you know, I just got off and usually starts with a choice of topics to write about. I mean, that's that's certainly a beginning and then the choice of language and then the choice of of
19:41 Voices to sight in the article and things like that. I have to say one journalists that I greatly still admire and maybe you you would too is Glenn Greenwald from now, but used to
20:10 I have to admit. I don't really even know his work all day. All that. Well, for a long time that side of the Zone, I can't remember what it was called. And now he's he publishes on Subs substack. I think is the name of the platform. And so I pay a subscription to subscribe to him every year. I mean, I get some other stuff from other people there too, but it's a new way of going about it where you support the work of one person like it rather than, you know, buying the New York Times and supporting that as an institution model particularly.
21:00 But yeah.
21:03 Anyway, I'm trying it out right now for a while, other other civil liberties that you see the left.
21:16 Well, I guess it's kind of related to the same thing, but for example,
21:22 You know, objecting to speakers all over your on University campuses and and wanting people, you know, making them not a be able to come. I know this been quite successful because University administrations have been caving to that, right? And left. And I am actually surprised when I think about how long it's been going on. Because when Barbara Bush died, I don't know two or three years ago fairly recently in one of her obituaries. I read and I've been I remembered that this had happened while she was the first lady should been invited to speak at graduation at Wellesley.
22:04 And at that time which would have been. Let's see.
22:09 That would have been sometime between 88 and 92. So,
22:16 She was invited to be the graduation speaker and there was a big protest and no, no, we don't want Barbara Bush to come here, Bubba Bubba, but the administration in that case did not cave and of course, it was nowhere near as
22:32 Common is, it has become wet and it was not a huge, big deal. And there was a demonstration or something, but it wasn't.
22:41 It wasn't.
22:45 People going ballistic, you know, they could stand it. I think the what happened at Middlebury College a few years ago where protesters basically assaulted speaker out or a professor who was protecting a conservative speaker, and I thought that was offensive. The idea that that somebody simply coming to express their point of view.
23:25 Would not just feel unwelcome, but unsafe I have their physical being physically threatened. It's a terrible thing. And I have seen, you know, why? I know that there are comedians who will no longer perform on college campuses because people don't have a sense of humor about certain jokes anymore, and I know times change if there are things that we would joke about 10 or 20 or 30 years ago, that are off-limits. Now, I'm not, I understand that and I respect that. I'm in society move sword as our values change.
24:03 But I also think that people need to be in a humour can defuse a lot of those differences. And people need to be able to hear views that they disagree with and not have it seen as a microaggression or an assault on their safety. Because I think that those things that's a really dangerous thing because they're there are no safe spaces in the world, you know, people want it. They want to live in a protective bubble and never never be exposed to ideas that differ from their own frankly. I think that the best way to inoculate yourself against bad ideas being exposed to that just the way you would be exposed to a virus. And, and, and honestly, that's one of the reasons that I'm here is because I think it's, I think it's
25:03 Important to hear what other people have to say, even if I don't necessarily agree with them, or maybe especially if yes, yeah. Well, I guess we agree with quite a lot.
25:28 That their ways that the left regards, a lot of the right is just beyond despicable. I'm in the basket of deplorables. For example, I mean, I thought it was pretty bad. But one of the major presidential candidates use language like that about, you know, approximately half the country, but the man at the top of the ticket at year, what uses language?
26:02 That I won't say that his followers are deplorable. But I I found the way he spoke to Americans deplorable and I am 44 years at when he was president. I felt like he never even tried to speak to people who had my point of view and even worse. I guess what I found most problematic are most troubling for people who supported Donald Trump was that he never seemed to be a conservative, all the things that if I made a list of all the things that I would consider to be the values of traditional conservatives, whether it's traditional Family Values, whether it is treating people with respect, whether it's
26:55 You know, being a church-going respecting people in the military and their families, especially those who have lost family members, people who have sacrificed.
27:09 Somebody who upheld the sanctity of marriage. I mean, those are all with those were all values that I saw in the Republican party and in people who subscribe to conservative values. And look, I disagreed with Mitt Romney and I disagreed with John McCain, but I would never say that. John McCain. Wasn't a hero. I would never say that Mitt Romney didn't love his country. Sure Mitt Romney had beliefs, that are diametrically opposed to my own, but I never thought that he was an Enemy of the State and he certainly never called me as a journalist and an enemy of the people, the way Donald Trump did. And, and that was, I think why so many of us on the left,
27:57 Found him deplorable. And maybe by extension just look, Hillary should never have said that even if she thought that but I think that's where that I think. That's where those things were born. And I hope we can move past that kind of dialogue because I really feel like, I don't feel like that helps, you know what? I can disagree with a conservative, but I feel at the end of the day, we share a lot. When I pick up the phone and I dial 911, the 911 dispatcher doesn't ask me whether I'm a Democrat or Republican, the person who comes to put out a fire at my house is not asking me who I voted for in the last election. And I know, I know from personal experience and haven't talked to these people. A lot of them are Conservative, Republican, lot of the people who go off.
28:57 The military to go fight Wars and and die on behalf of this country are conservative. And I respect that. I can't respect people who don't respect the basic values that this country was built on. And until I really think we need to move past that that stuff.
29:22 Well, I can't.
29:26 Disagree, that Trump did plenty to hurt himself.
29:31 I don't disagree with that at all, but I'm not so sure that we're going to move past it. I don't really, I don't think we are. And in some ways. I don't think we should.
29:45 It was an interesting article by Frank Rich of pretty pretty much on the left that appeared in 2016 in New York Magazine. And it was, I think the title was something like Donald, Trump is saving our democracy. And what he, what the gist of the article was it Trump.
30:07 Was bringing a lot of the rot in our system.
30:14 Up for view, I guess. And then Rich went on actually to any went on to say plenty of bad things about Trump. He didn't, he wasn't, it wasn't then.
30:33 Favorable thing to Trump, but he just did say there. Look, there's some reasons that that he's made had an impact. This, this must have been before he won and and he said, in some of that is good. The system needs it.
30:50 So he did, he gave them that much and then the many really attacked his supporters as being basically, deplorables are worse. But of course as you know to the Republican party has been very divided over Trump's. It's got a pretty strong, never Trump faction, but I don't think all of this is over whatever happens to Trump. I agree with you on that. And I think I think one of the things that he has done which I think Frank Rich didn't couldn't, maybe didn't foresee, is that I feel like Trump validated certain behavior that should have been validated and and I and I think that he doesn't
31:36 Speak for a lot of Republicans in and I do hope one of the reasons that I voted for. Phil Scott. And I don't mind saying publicly is but it was mostly vote on this exclusively. Voted Democrat my whole life, but I voted for Phil Scott because I thought he did a great job. He's done a great job with a pandemic. So far perfect, but I think he's done his best. I think he didn't politicize it. But even more importantly, I feel like our country needs.
32:11 Republicans like him. We're not we're not going to lose a two-party system, anytime soon or nor should we I think it's, I think it's good, having you decide that, you know, that battle each other over ideas, but I don't think they do battle over ideas enough battles with over wins and losses, but I do think that if we're going to have a functional democracy, where is the two party system we need? I know, I want also Republican and I see someone like Phil sky as being the kind of present. Kind of governor who could be that and check the, the worst instincts on the left hand and vice-versa. I mean, I think
33:04 I think we need that you can eat people who are reasonable, who are willing to the compromise reach, across the aisle and, you know, living in Montana. They used to talk about George Aitken and Mike Mansfield who would have breakfast every morning in the in the Senate and the other Mike Mansfield. Very, you know, strong Democrat and Georgia. Can you know, traditional Republican and the two of them would sit down and have breakfast every morning. And I would love to have known what those conversations were like, because I, I can't imagine that those conversations, go on today. If there is anyone either in the house or the Senate who sits down with a member of the other party.
33:51 On a regular basis, let alone every every morning and just talk, it would be, it would make a great screenplay.
34:04 Well, that's that's nice. I remember that too. I just want to say one more thing about Trump and that is
34:16 When you mentioned something about being kind of the antithesis of what you imagine. Visualizes, good conservatism being in favor of and so on, and I have to agree with that to some degree to. But I think that was offset by something that is rarely acknowledged. I mean, liar, lot of people say, how can these religious conservatives for Trump? I mean, look at the way, he's lived his own life and messed up and and everything. How can they tell you about their families and going to church? And now that how can they possibly support someone like him? But I think that underestimates the importance of being left alone and I don't think Trump was out to get those people.
35:05 And I don't, and I think a lot of people on the left regard them as just one of the, I mean, I've heard people say it, maybe not powerful people, who wouldn't, who would really do it. If they could? Do, you know, all those people should die. They need to die before we can move forward in this country. And, you know, I I kind of feel like they're talking about me to when they say that, not that I see anyone about to do it, but I think the appeal of trump.
35:40 In that respect is often quite often just overlooked.
35:50 I want to move on to the next question, number one. So the next question. Mary. Why don't you ask Ken this question first? And he can answer. And then can you can ask Mariah?
36:13 Yes, who is been an influential person in your life? And what did they teach you?
36:20 I have to start with my father or both my parents, but it certainly my father.
36:27 You know, my my dad worked as an attorney if all life and I remember one of the things he said to me was.
36:36 That he knew that he had reached a good settlement if people.
36:43 If people thought it was, he was tough, but fair and and I think the whole idea of fairness and my dad, my dad was scrupulously honest. He was somebody who retreated people with dignity and respect even if he disagreed with them. Interesting way. He met Trump wants when Trump was very young, but that's another story.
37:15 You know, I would have to say it. Obviously, my parents would be the most influential in my life. And and I think they they really taught me never say, never called at the Golden Rule, but they taught me.
37:32 Be enough, just Justin to be able to that kind of honesty. It was another person that I just immediately Springs to mind was a social studies teacher that I had in. When I was in high school name was William collie and missed your call. I took a couple of classes and you know, American history and then a philosophy class.
38:00 He was a deeply religious man. Also, very conservative. Manny came to class with a no come off like a marine haircut.
38:11 Marines like the high and tight haircut of a US Marine and he is served. He was he was an Air Force, retired, Air Force, Airman Navigator. He flew the Berlin airlift and I think he is but I remember him talking to me about
38:37 Do do, you know, he didn't share his own politics very much. But, you know, he talked about like u.s. Involvement overseas and how sometimes you we had to do difficult things and make difficult decisions because I remember asking him once a week while you're I knew you were a religious man. And how do you, how do you reconcile that with sort of the death and destruction of war? And, you know, he and he was just very
39:04 You just very thoughtful and and philosophical about it and, you know, recognize that, you know, these are not things we do because we want to do them. But sometimes, because we have to sometimes we do we have to make these difficult choices, but sometimes they're that for the lesser of two evils and, and he was somebody who I felt at seeing really the horrors of War, you know, he had pulled wounded and dead soldiers off battlefields and, and, you know, he was a good man, and and he
39:43 He taught us, you know, what a time when it wasn't a whole lot of talk about how how you learn to think, but he taught us about Socrates the question and he asked us questions that got us to challenge our own beliefs and we read Plato and Aristotle in his classes and
40:06 And I I just always think that maybe I can't remember the specific lessons I learned from him, but he was somebody who focused on asking good questions than a challenging us to question our own beliefs and that always seemed really important. And it, I guess, until now I never really thought about it swollen in journalism, but it seems like such an important skill to learn how to add a question thing. To ask questions, has even questioned our own belief. Those would be some of the people. Sure can pick up many others.
40:45 I wonder how how you would answer that question, who, who's been an influential person in your life, Mary? And and what? What did they teach you?
40:55 Well, I would say my parents to that's you did, my father was a country doctor in Vermont and I used to.
41:09 Go with him on house calls. They made made lots of house, calls and notes. So it would be hard to say how many times during the week. But I would guess probably at least four nights a week. You would be called out in the middle of the night. What for what? Often seems so fantastic. So now, it wasn't somebody having a baby or somebody went off the road in their car and broke a leg or something, but they had the flu for a week and they couldn't take it anymore. So, in the middle of the night, they call him up and he goes out and
41:54 And makes a house call like that. So that happened quite a bit and I was his person to talk to on on those until I got old enough to not want to do it anymore and then my brothers and cousins took over. But
42:11 So, that was one and then, my grandfather, his father also was quite influential in different ways. He was a farmer and they the farms and his that day were small. He probably had 15 cows or something like that. They would dry up in the winter. So,
42:39 And my father did all his work with horses. He never owned a tractor, even though plenty of people did by the time he died, which is around 1958. You never even learned to drive a car. He made some efforts at it, but he didn't like it. And it was my grandmother, who drove the car, all the time. So I guess what I took from him was more of a very steady.
43:06 Holding onto your values. Even when everybody around you is going in different directions.
43:15 He loved his animals and is finally toward the end of his life. He got a nice team of horses. His when I most of the time when I knew him, he had three draft horses, except they weren't really draft horses. They were just old horses and well-matched. And finally, in the last few years is life. If it's alive, he had a team of matched percherons and he loved those horses so much. But his Devotion to animal was very, and also his ability to remain somewhat independent of a rather overbearing grandmother that I literally drove was in the driver's seat. And also pretty much figure Sibley too, but I would say he probably have more influence on me than she did, actually
44:16 Throw out when you were going out doing your
44:20 Going out with you, with your dad on house, calls. Did you ever deliver a baby? Do you have animals as well?
44:35 Well, it's actually at the moment. I don't because my dog died, 3 years ago and I am, I would love to get another one but I don't think I want to get a puppy at this age and I do have a pet chipmunk though and I play with him as often as he'll let me.
44:58 All right. I just put the next question in the chat and Ken. Why don't you go ahead and ask Mary this first? We describe in your own words. You are personal political values.
45:19 Strongest is the right to be left alone, I guess.
45:29 So I tend to be a minimalist on government. I'd like less government rather than more because
45:41 It's not enough that they can. They, I mean, they have huge amounts of power and I still believe that, you know, power corrupts, even when you think you're immune to it, so,
45:57 That's that's probably my strongest political value is, you know, 10 to say, leave me alone. But I have that does have its dangers to because sometimes things need to have attention paid to them. I think not as often as we seem to think they do but
46:17 There are times when that is true. And also I think one of the reasons things have got to the state, they are in this country is not only. I mean, I've been
46:29 Painting it in. My view is kind of a lot of these things that the left has been doing in.
46:36 I see that but also I'm not sure that that are values of being left alone. Minding our own business and staying out of the political Fray is serving us too well and not getting more doing. More pushing back on some of the things we see happening.
46:59 How about you?
47:02 Well, to really describe my own personal political values. First of all, I want I want government to be in the business of solving problems I think too often.
47:19 Government and politicians in particular, are in it for the wrong reasons. I think that we are a very wealthy nation in some respects, but another respect where not. I think we can solve a lot of problems.
47:41 I think we spend too much on our military and not enough on the Health and Welfare of our own population. I think we can protect our air and our water and we could reverse climate change and we could do it and we could still have a strong economy and we could still do it without infringing on people's property. Right? And that their civil liberties. I think too often politics gets in the way of problem solving. I think that there are many people in this country who have very good ideas on how to how to resolve the issues that we have, but they have no interest in going into politics because it is such an ugly process. It is if it comes name-calling and it's about asking big, don't big wealthy donors for donations.
48:41 You know, I fear, I describe myself as an independent, because if you're not independent, and somebody owns you and it's, I don't want to be owned. I respect the desire of people who, like, yourself, who want to be left alone. I don't want government telling me what to do. I think there are like all things, like all rights and Liberties. There are limits on. Like they are none of our rights in the, in the, in the Bill of Rights are unlimited. I, I can't walk into a crowded movie, theater and yell fire, you know, I believe in the 2nd Amendment as well, but I think like all other, right? I think it, it has limits as well. And I, I do believe that we can solve problem, but I don't know how we get politics out of
49:41 The way to get there. And, and that's a frustration. And I think
49:46 Too, often many American, look at the process and go. You know what? This is so ugly. I just want to check out and throw these, the people who are left behind. If I did out, are the ones who often are the most intolerant, most unwilling to the yield, or Define compromise. And I, I want to feel like if I vote for somebody that they are actually representing knee, they're not representing Amazon or Facebook or Exxon Mobil or some other. Big Corporation. I want people who work for us like we the people and
50:29 I did a Democrat to Republican. I don't really care. I just, I want people who are solving problems, people who know how to roll up their sleeves and get things done.
50:45 Great. Is there anything in there that either of you want to explore a little bit more about each other's personal views?
50:56 Well, I guess if I were to summarize our maybe or maybe these are greatest differences appear here. I think you are, you clearly are in favor of a far more activist government than I am. I agree with whatever it was. I don't know if this was Jefferson somebody else. You know, that government or maybe it was the role that government best is best that governs least and maybe one of them said that. And then the next one, said over the next year, that would have to be thorough and that government is best which governs not at all. Maybe that's the way it went anyway.
51:42 I know it's not very.
51:46 Realistic to hold that out of some kind of Ideal, but
51:59 You know what, I think.
52:02 Government can make can make can solve problems that. No one else is going to solve and unfortunately, too often, it does it efficiently and poorly, but I don't think that's necessarily that necessarily means that government must be dysfunctional. There are countries all around this world where people don't ever have to think about their health care. And they are very happy and productive and wealthy and live, Wonderful lives with as many of the freedom, as you described, but they are not, you know, there.
52:51 Bear money is not supporting large insurance companies. You know what? You're telling them. No, you can't. We're not going to approve that surgery. I don't want an insurance company that's telling me whether I need a weather. I can get a surgery to save my life or whether or not I should have medicine that that saved my child. You know, I do think that when you look at other countries that take a more activist role in regulating big business and large corporations, you know, those people have a higher quality of life than we do. You know, we have a, we have a system where our gross national product rewards. It goes up, if we have an oil spill, or a train wreck or, you know, any other kind of disaster. I think we could, we can measure wealth and
53:51 Happiness and success in different ways than we do.
53:59 Well, I guess.
54:02 I would.
54:07 I kind of reject the
54:10 Believe that.
54:14 That there's somebody that knows more about how you should live your life than then you do.
54:22 I don't think I wouldn't, I wouldn't be saying that anyone knows more about how you marry should be living your life. I would never say that. I do think that.
54:37 You should be left alone. And I, I would agree with that, but I do feel like when I look at at the Republican party, I see them making decision for me often. They're telling me what I could do with my body or what my wife or daughter and do with her body. And this is often based on religious principles, religious principles that I don't know. And so if someone tells me that when my wife gets pregnant and she is 25 weeks into that pregnancy and that pregnancy is threatening her life and somebody says no you can't you can't terminate that pregnancy because of my religious views that to me violates your idea of being left alone.
55:33 Well, I'm heartened to hear that. I'm not telling I don't really want to tell other people what to do. That's not my place. I don't think that's the place of government.
55:55 If I just put another question in the chat can do you want to start by asking Mary this? Next question? Is there something about my beliefs that you don't agree with but you still respect and but that was pretty clearly. One of the things you were talking about that but about them.
56:25 Adjust I guess in general looking to go to governments to for solutions to things. I mean, I guess I think that the amount of things that they can provide solutions for is she is and should be very limited into WAP and we've gotten used to looking to them to sell huge.
56:47 You know, very very broad problems that I mean, you know, remember the war while you were probably too young, the war on poverty, that was going to wipe out poverty. And it will say, yeah, we had a war on poverty and poverty won. But all that really means is that we didn't and poverty, and we probably are never going to end poverty, no matter what we do. Maybe you would not agree with that. But so,
57:17 I respect your beliefs in that I think you're sincere about them and well-intentioned but there's a lot about looking to government for activism and and solutions.
57:36 I and I have to say, especially in the day these days, when our religious institutions have got gotten into such.
57:48 Kind of useless.
57:51 Rolls, I mean, their declining, all over the place if I guess, maybe there's some except few exceptions here and there, but not too many. And I think it and I see it in a lot of my friends. They, they, they kind of politics is moved in and taken the position in their life that religion. Maybe once maybe didn't occupy in their lives, but maybe in their parents lives, for example, I would agree with that. And I, I do think that there are people who, who now see their political views, as a form of religion, in the sense that they don't ever question their beliefs. They don't question their leaders beliefs and if they're both their leader says it, it's true end of story and that's on the left and the right. I think that's a terrible trimmed and I think, you know what?
58:51 It's become their, there's a cult of personality out there or Cult of Personality out there. And, you know, we need to, we need to hold people. We need to be able to challenge that. Let me know if that's what we do is journalist, right?
59:13 Mary why don't you go ahead and ask him the same question. They're in the chat or something? About my beliefs that you don't agree with but still respect.
59:23 Yes, I I totally respect your position that you want a smaller minimalist government. I can totally understand that, because I think that there are numerous examples of government, overreach government, incompetent government, meddling in people's lives, where it doesn't belong. And I
59:52 At the risk of being contradicting myself, if I were to form one, the new Department, it would be one to figure out how do we make government more efficient and smaller and just doing its job with fewer people and so I could totally respect the your desire to be left alone. And and honestly, I want to be left alone as well. I would agree with that. I do think though that there are certain things that nobody is going to do. If Government doesn't it sort of like the end of the analogy of a lighthouse in a nobody, no ship is going to pay to have that light turned on at that Lighthouse. Not something that we as a society collectively do. I think that there are a lot of things that we need.
01:00:52 Either we call them fire companies that you could people used to pay for them. And if you didn't pay for your fire company and they let your house burned down. We don't do that anymore. We don't call it socialism, but eventually is socialism, you know, if we accept that, we have to all collectively for the come together and solve certain problems, and I think that,
01:01:19 There are things like food safety and in the air quality. And these are things that we can do. I think we saw be filling a form of autumn quotes socialized medicine in the way vaccine have been distributed. Then no one has to think about how can I afford the vaccine for covid? Don't have to think about it. Just walk in and get one and it could save your life. We don't have to weigh it into the vaccine politics, but I think, you know, we got it. We got a briefcase, the of what that is. I think, I think we can do that in, in other ways. Without encroaching on your beliefs of West, government. Leave me alone. I don't want you to tell me what to do.
01:02:15 Well, I respect your belief likewise.
01:02:23 Well, I have one final question for the, two of you to ask each other, as we wrap things up here. So Mary, why don't you ask Ken, the first? Okay, was I who you expected me to be?
01:02:41 Yes, or no, I wasn't sure. I thought that I might get somebody who was very strong pro-gun or anti-gun regulation person or someone who?
01:03:04 I don't know, maybe he was more antagonistic or wanted to challenge my beliefs more, and that's not that you didn't challenge them, but I felt like it, you were more Curious the band.
01:03:20 You know, aggressive in any kind of way, but in another sense, you're a vermonter. And when I knew that you were a native vermonter, I knew that it would be in safer territory because and the fact that I read that you were a journalist meant that even if we disagree politically you still have an open mind and that you have that, you are accustomed to speaking to people whose views might differ from you around. So, in that sense, you were, you were the person I expected to be expected to meet.
01:04:00 Was I was I who you expected me to be well, as you said suggested. Yes, and no, I think you're older than I expected. A most of the most of the journalists who I am, not, who I don't work with anymore. But who I, I see operating are quite a bit younger, but you're more middle-aged. I mean, I would probably have thought you were 35, except for your Gray beard. I knew you probably weren't 35 but, and
01:04:46 You know, I I guess I expect some of the same things that you're saying. I certainly, I don't know if I expected it, but I certainly allowed for the possibility that I might find somebody more.
01:05:00 Hostel 2.
01:05:02 My beliefs and stuff. One of the things, the great things that I learned as a reporter that is, I've tried to maintain is
01:05:17 The importance of listening and of course, it's not just reporters. It's all through life, but it's amazing. How
01:05:27 Fairly rare that is, and also, what you can accomplish with it. I mean, I learned as a reporter that if you just really listen to people, it's amazing. What some of them will say because they're not, they're not used to being listened to
01:05:45 That doesn't so much go for politicians. They're not used to being listened to accept, you know, in a kind of formal kind of way, but not for people to really pay much attention to them and take her to Siri about ordinary people. That truly amazing, what you can learn.
01:06:13 I have to forget that, I agree with you on that Mary.
01:06:25 Love to know how the experience has been for each of you.
01:06:31 This is great. I mean, I
01:06:34 I'd still do this all the time, but I it's nice to be able to do it in this kind of format. And and not feel as though it's it's going to get ugly and anyway, or you know, it's it's respectful. And, you know, once we started talking Mariah, I didn't expect you to be, you know, the ground rules were unnecessary at the beginning. I know that they have to be there, but I wasn't expecting you to be using vulgar language or calling me names or anything like that was never a concern on my part. But now it's great. I love I love doing this. This is really fun.
01:07:20 And even though I've known plenty of journalists, but as having been out of The Newsroom for 20 years, I, I don't, I don't talk to a lot of them very often anymore. Except a lot of complaining about what I'm going through now, I hear you. 7 Days seems to be doing quite well, I mean they
01:07:52 Beautiful fat in them.
01:07:56 You know, they've got good stuff in the bank. Thanks, and I also want to personally thank you because I know Karen said that you know in the several hundred people who signed up to do this, they are certainly had some challenges finding people on the on the right politically who are willing to participate and and I know, you know, having lived in deep red, Republican states. That I know what it feels like to be in that Minority and to still want to express your views. And I know it's tough in Vermont, which probably wasn't very, very liberal when you were growing up. No, not ignore. It really, wasn't. It turned in 1962. I think would fill Hawks selection.
01:08:53 That was a turning point. And then all the hippie started showing up in the seventies. All the back to the Landers, is there now there now, you know, kind of long in the tooth but I used an old Vermont expression, I guess. Right. Right. Well, it's funny because when I lived in Montana, I remember I remember talking to a very, conservative cattle rancher and down in the Bitterroot Valley, which is south of Missoula. And I remember, you know, asking him about the fact that you live close to Missoula, which was sort of a liberal Bastion and otherwise conservative state.
01:09:39 And I know, but you said something to the effect of because you know, I don't really care if my neighbors are hot, smoking lesbians as long as they keep their fence, you know men did on their side of the fence. That's fine with me. I seem like to be the definition of Montana libertarian, you know, you keep your body. If not, I'm fine with with you being there.