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tv   David Isay  CSPAN  December 3, 2020 6:22pm-7:20pm EST

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thank you so much and congrats on the book. it is fantastic. thanks to everyone at the atlanta council and a reminder that this was on record and we appreciate it and hope to see you again soon. thank you very much everyone. >> happy thanksgiving. >> weeknights this month, we are featuring american history tv programs to preview what's available every weekend on c-span three. tonight, two bestselling authors on how they use historical research in their work. watch beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span three. >> american history tv on c-span three, exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. coming up this weekend, saturday at 10 pm eastern on real america, as health officials prepare to rule out a vaccine against the coronavirus, we take you back in time with five archival films about
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vaccines and the fight against disease. on sunday at 6 pm eastern on american artifacts, during new york city's lower east side tenement museum, with reconstructed dwellings that show how immigrant families coped with poverty and crowded conditions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. at 6:30 pm, a look at presidential leadership during the cold war, with historian william hitchcock, also the author of the age of eisenhower, america and the world in the 19 fifties. then at 9 pm, a u.s. constitutional debate hosted by the colonial williamsburg foundation, featuring a reenactment from founding fathers james madison and george mason on issues from the bill of rights to slavery. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span 3. >> our guest is dave isay, president of the nonprofit story corps.
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dave isay, would is story core and what is one small step? >> happy holidays. it's great to be here. so story core has been around for a bit more than 17 years. it's a very simple idea. i was a radio documentary producer for a couple of decades before starting story court. always interested in public service, how to use audio to make people's lives a little bit better. and i have this idea to put this boot in grand central terminal. you bring anyone who you want to honor by listening to their story, apparent, a grandparent, you come with your grandmother to this booth in grand central. you are met by a facilitator who works for story core who brings you inside. you sit across from her grandmother. the doors shut. you are in complete silence. the lights are low. it's a sacred place. the facilitator is in the corner and for 40 minutes, you listen and ask questions. it's too microphones, you and your grandmother looking each other in the eyes. i know, as you know, a microphone gives a license to ask questions you don't normally get to ask.
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so from the very beginning, people thought of this as, if i had 40 minutes left to live, what would i say to this person who means so much to me. at the end of the 40 minutes, you get a copy. another one stays with us and goes to the american folk life center at the library of congress. so your great, great, great, great, grand kids could get to learn your grandmother from her story. essentially, because of the nature of what happens in these booths and it started in grand central and expanded across the country with these trailers that travel around, we are collecting the wisdom of humanity. we've had about 650,000 people across america participate so far, so it's the largest collection of human voices ever gathered. that's what we call signature story core. we are a public service and every, way a nonprofit. we are here to serve people. one of the things we are encouraging on thanksgiving, and if you go to google, there is a link to this on the home page. we are encouraging people back to not just signature story and interviewing a loved one, this is a year where we need to stay
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socially distanced from elders, loved ones, people with pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable to covid-19. and we are encouraging people to, if you cannot be face to face with a loved one to recorded interview with a loved one, we have a special platform. up until covid hit, every one of those 650,000 people who had participated had done so face to face. again, having a chance to ask important questions of a loved one and preserving it for american history to the library of congress. today, tomorrow, saturday, sunday, through the holidays, if you cannot be with a loved one, we are suggesting that you recorded interview over our special platform and preserve it at the library of congress. tell that loved one that they matter to you, that they will not be forgotten by listening to them and asking them the important questions. these are kind of the big life questions like how do you want to be remembered and who was kindest to in your life.
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it was the happiest moment in your life, the hardest time in your life, and always the question you have always wanted to ask but maybe not felt comfortable asking. so if you go to google, if you just go to the home page of google, at the bottom, under the search bar, you click and you can record an interview for story court today and have a meaningful 40 minutes with someone who really matters to you. so that is the history. and we've been thinking about this for years, since before, about five years. the question is how do we deal with the crisis of contempt in the country across political lives. is there a way to throw the storycorps ideology, which is really about connecting people and trying to make a little bit of a difference, and we came up with something called one small step. our hypocritical with is that
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we do no harm to people. we have been testing this intensely for years. we've worked in about 40 cities, and i know i am giving viewers who don't know about storycorps a lot of information. before one small step, every interview we had recorded had been between loved ones, grandmothers, kids, friends. one small step put strangers across the political divide into storycorps, people who have never met before, for accession not to talk about politics but just to get to know each other is human beings. and in the intro, you talked about healing the country, and i think that's probably an overstep. we call that one small step. it's really about building a bit of social capital, taking one small step away from the abyss that we are facing as a democracy, and we can survive in a swamp of mutual contempt. you and your viewers don't need to be told about what's happened in the past bunch of years. you know that we used to disagree with the people across
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the divide, with our neighbors, and now we hate them. there's studies that show we hate and fear our neighbors more than our traditional international adversaries, russia and so forth. so things have gone a little bit bonkers in the country. and this is just one small solution to try and help us see each other as human beings again. it's all about humanization. it's not about finding common ground. it's about remembering that the person you disagree with is a human being, because we know the kind of danger that dehumanizing others can do to a society. so we are in for cities now. but anyone across the country can do it. you can also go to our website to find out how to sign up and our dream is that it's a mood shot but our dream is to convince the country that it's our patriotic duty to within their may disagree. the hardest thing we've ever tried to do, but given the
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state of the country we are going to take a hard swing at it. a very long answer to your very quick question. >> finding common ground. the one small step model, a conversation we are going to have for the next 45 minutes this morning on the washington journal. let me give numbers for our used to call in. let me give viewers an example of one of these conversations that you created in one small step. this is a conversation between two participants who participated in birmingham alabama. >> an example of how i think my personal belief structure differs from the perception of my belief structure. my wife and i, four years, led a youth group in our church. every year we would participate
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in the march for life. and somehow, because i would be outward with this idea where i would like to see a world where abortion is no longer an option. because of that one stance, i'm now, like, somehow this radical, evangelical, rabbit trump supporter. >> i see. >> and it's like, the thing that drives him i believe there is also the same thing that drives my belief that we should take care of the abandoned refugee at the border. that we should take care of the poor and sick in our own neighborhoods. but, like, that's not the public persona of what somebody who goes to d.c. to march for that is. >> that's exactly what i wanted to do this. i will fully admit in this conversation to having had that bias before. it's also worth mentioning, full disclosure, please don't run out of the room, i work for planned parenthood. >> on no, i can't talk to you anymore. we have a policy against that. that gets my blood going a little bit. none of us are simple enough to be just thrown in a bucket. we are all too darn complicated for that. i think we could all do a
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better job of realizing the nuance in people there. >> nuance i want on a bumper sticker. [laughs] i think the end result of having these conversations and storytelling needs to be that. because people are so many things. talking earlier to, being disabled is a part of my identity. going to the march for life is a part of your identity, but it's not the whole thing. there's more to you than that. you are a father, you are a husband, you are all of these things. i think if we can remember that when we have those conversations with each other, i think we will get somewhere. >> that from a one small step interview from participants in birmingham alabama. dave, how do you find these participants and are these people, if they are willing to do this program, are they willing to find that kind of common ground? at least are they on a start on what you're trying to do? >> so, people find us. what happens is you sign up
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with story core. you can also go to one small step .org. you fill out a questionnaire. you talk about what your politics are and a little bit about yourself. we use this to match you with another participant. you also write a little paragraph about who you are. so you get your partners bio, just their first name so you can't let them up on google. when the interview starts, you read your bio to them and they read their bio to you. so are people primed already to listen to each other? i guess so, but i think there is this steady with more in common, which is an organization that studies political polarization, that says there is an exhausting majority of about 89% in the country who are tired of the divisions and are looking for a way out. i would say they are within that 89%. that's most of us.
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story court is built on probably the most steady theory in the history of techno -- psychology. it is called contact there. it was developed in the 19 fifties by a psychologist. it says under grace beset conditions, if you bring to people who are enemies together face to face for a meaningful conversation, of this real conversation, that feeling of hate can melt away and something can change. if you do it wrong, you could make things worse. but if you make things -- if you do it right, something extraordinary can happen. i think that is what we have in one small step. there's also a theory called write this theory that says there are two conditions for intractable conflict, which is what we are moving towards in this country. to conditions for it to melt away. one is that people are just completely exhausted and miserable. >> in a small way, we hope that
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one small step is a way that people can take a step, a courageous step towards each other. the people who've said it's hard to hate up close. i think what we've seen over and over again is the truth of that. we want as many people in the country to sign up. yes, i guess the people who do this are primed to want to listen to the other side, but i think that is the vast majority of the country. it's just the people kind of on the very hard edge. as we've seen as well, it is people who have absolutely no interest in listening and happy with the way things are going in this country. >> plenty of colors on this topic already. we will start in troy, michigan. natasha is in independent. you are on. with dave isay. >> good morning, a long time ago, i wish i had that book available now because i gave it to my grandson.
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i think it was george legos. his theory for talking to people is to talk to them about something that they like when you open a conversation. you find some sort of mutuality and then you can develop your discussion further. i've been trying to follow that. it's very important at this time because i'm absolutely amazed at how one person can alienate half of the country practically. it's a terrible thing that families can't get to meet and enjoy one another company.
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i mean, through the years we've talked about politics and religion and such, but i've never seen anything that has engendered such hate and animosity as i see now. it's a shame. i wonder if you might have some thoughts on how to correct that? thank, you i enjoy this topic very much. c-span, we all love you. thank you. >> thanks, natasha. love to you as well out in michigan. dave isay. >> natasha, the advice is absolutely right. that's exactly how it once the small step works. i just want to say that if you want to sign up for one small step, you go to take one small step toward. take one small step toward. we have just scaled nationally. the answer is not to argue about politics. we asked people not to talk about politics when they participate in one small step.
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that's why it's called one small step. if you don't have a bond with someone getting into the harder topics of politics, it can be extremely difficult. if you do talk about politics, we suggest you come at it in a slight way. questions like what is it you think the other side does not understand about your side? would you respect about people on the other side? those kinds of questions. your instincts, what you read, >> no one has changed their mind being called and name in the history of humankind. the only way we can begin to see and hear each other is by listening. it's an initiative that listening to each other. >> dave isay, as we hear from our next caller, we will show on the screen some of the primer questions that one small step participants are given in
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these interviews. we will put these up as we hear from joe from palm springs, arkansas. a democrat, good morning. >> good morning. i imagine probably half the people listening to this show today probably believe that this country was involved in some sort of an international conspiracy to fix our elections. judged by the colors we've had in the first hour. i want to make one simple point. if that was actually true, you would see the justice department, the fbi, the cia, a top level of this american government involved in trying to find out whether that step was real or not, but you don't see that. you see five private lawyers led by a man that hasn't been in the courtroom in decades. backed by a president --
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i think it's paranoia. i don't know what you call it. he believes he could not lose unless he was cheated. >> jay b, let me ask you. go ahead, you said your point is wet. >> the point is simply you would see all the top levels of the u.s. government looking into this. >> right. one of the questions that participants in the one small step program, one of the primary questions we put on our screen for viewers is -- do you feel misunderstood by people who have different beliefs then you? how so? >> i feel misunderstood. yes, i think they are misunderstood. havei mean, it doesn't make sen. the point of all of this international conspiracy business. there is nobody checking into it. first of all, bill barr. you've seen bill barr and the justice department? >> that is jv in arkansas. dave isay, what do you take from the?
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>> i think it's a little bit off topic for one small step. people are very angry. i think we don't understand each other. the question is can we just sit together and start to get to know each other as human beings? a person we just heard has a very interesting life story, we all do. if we could listen to someone who thought the election was stolen, his concerns are about how people could see things on the other side. if they could talk about their lives, when they care about, their kids and their grandkids, then maybe they could have a conversation about the election that was a little bit different than just kind of shouting at each other. maybe it would turn out that
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there would be a little bit of nuance to everyone's beliefs. who knows? the way it's going and the country right now is not working. this is another way of going at it. it's about having the courage to listen to people who are different than us. >> let's listen to barbara in north carolina. good morning, you are next. >> good morning. am i there? >> yes, ma'am. >> okay, good morning. thank you c-span for having me on. i love natasha, she broke down everything that is involved in communicating. i think education is really important. i think c-span needs to go to the mountains of north carolina and talk to these people. i know you mentioned that you do go around in buses, but i
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think it's the core of everything is the communication up in the mountains. we don't hear from you people. a lot of people in this area don't get internet. how can the even get tv or anything? so i think the bottom line is really education. we need to focus on that. thank you. >> that is barbara in banner elk, north carolina out in the western part of the state. i will pull a google maps oh people can see where it is as we hear from dave isay. go ahead. >> i think barbara is right. obviously not because of the virus, there is no getting into the mountains for face to face conversations, but we hope we will be able to reach people all across the country. i think part of the problem in the country is that people feel like they are not being listened to or being heard
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there. they are not being respected. i think listening to people and listening to one another is one of the most powerful ways that you can show respect. mountains, planes, you know our goal is to get as deep as we can into the country. again, in terms of education i think that this is more kind of social martial no learning sort of education. this is about helping us build those muscles of compassion and empathy for one another. you know, we live in a world where there is a multi billion dollar hate, contempt industrial complex with media and social media where it's incredibly profitable to divide us and so hate. so i think there has to be a counterbalance to that where there's a way that we can sort of come back and find the humanity in each other. >> do you think we would be better off without twitter or facebook? >> i am not on those social
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media platforms. i am not, but i don't know facebook that we'll. twitter seems to be a really dangerous tool, and obviously it just has huge effects on our brain chemistry. every time that you write something nasty about someone, the next year you are the more likes you get. you get dopamine hits from that and it is a little bit of a casino in our brain. so it seems like twitter is probably pretty harmful to the country. >> back to michigan. this is margaret, a democrat. good morning from detroit. go ahead. >> good morning. thank you for c-span. okay? i really appreciate you guys. you keep it real. now, my thing is this. we can learn from kids.
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kids, they learn to get along. they love each other, kids. they know animosity and anger, okay? but adults? where is the anger coming from, love? i don't tend to understand because someone doesn't agree with you. we have siblings, cousins, uncles and so forth. right? we don't always agree with everything. kids don't always agree. but they do so for the human race. i don't know how. but at the same time, we can learn from kids. that's all i have to say, and thank you for having me on the phone again. >> dave isay?
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>> that is a very storycorps call. as i say at the beginning, the big story is us listening to elders and collecting the wisdom of humanity. i think that's an example of just listening to wisdom. we do have a lot to learn from kids, from each other. but, yes, i think that one of the things that we want to do with one small step is remember that none of us are the worst thing we have ever done, to try and see the best and others, and that is something that i think kids have the ability to do up until a certain age. and we should be reminded that one of the lessons of story core, the big traveling around the country, collecting the stories of regular people in the mountains everywhere is that when we are recording these interviews between
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grandparents and grand kids, kids and our parents, that we have facilitators they're working for historic or who are in the booth and we call it bearing witness to these interviews. we've had hundreds of hundreds of them as we worked with hundreds of thousands of people across the country. and when they come back to story corpse after serving, after serving for a year or two chiefs, if you ask them what they, learn every one of them gives a version of the and frank quote that people are basically good. i obviously think there is truth to that. that is a piece that we need to remember. and again, seeing the good in others and remembering that there is a light and all of us, and trying to kind of help that flame burn as bright as possible. one way to do that is by treating one another with dignity always, with respect always. >> back to the mountain state, this is carl in west virginia. go ahead.
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>> good morning. the way i see it, democrats have gotten to be vicious when it comes to politics. if you don't agree with my philosophy, you are a racist. they throw that around so much that it's becoming mute. it doesn't mean anything anymore. and i blame the media for a lot of what's going on, because the majority of the mainstream media as one way, and our kids in school are being taught the socialist philosophy. and it's getting very difficult to even have a conversation with a democrat. the first words out of their mouth, if you don't agree with my philosophy, you are a racist. shut up. you are a racist.
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and it's really getting to be a bad situation, the way i see it. i am 82 years old. i was a democrat when i was a young person. their philosophy was pretty good back in those days. but now, man, if you don't agree with, me i will hurt you. i will go to your house. i will demonstrate in front of your house. i will create a commotion that your neighbors will want you out of the neighborhood. that's just what it's come to. and it is crazy. i and i just hope that, well, i agree with president trump. he did a lot for the blacks in this country. they don't know it because the mainstream media don't tell us. >> dave? >> again, i hope you will go to take one small step .org and
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sign up to participate so you can test your theory. we hear a lot from the media about what one side is like, what the other side as like. the problem is that we don't spend enough time having face to face conversations. go to take one small step .org, sign up, be a part of, this have a conversation with someone across the political divide, and maybe it will be what you think, but maybe it won't. one of the reasons we are alive is to be surprised. so obviously, both sides are convinced of certain things about the other side. the caller just articulated it beautifully. and a lot of this is fueled by the media. the question is, is it really true. and what we want to do is find that out by actually bypassing the messages that we are getting from the media about who the other side is and finding out whether it's really true and having face to face
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conversations. because it may not be exactly as you think. people are complicated. and again, that is the beauty of life. we cannot engage in those complications and be surprised. i did a one small step interview a couple weeks ago, and this was my first one after we tested for years. i will tell you. sitting with someone across the political abide that i would normally get the top to and being thoughtful and listening is just a thrilling experience. it's exhausting. but most of these interviews and the same way. and we've done a lot of testing and now we've done a lot of these. it ends with the two people, almost always, saying can i have your phone number? when are we going to have dinner? we need to do this again. we need to keep talking. i think one small step and storycorps our projects of
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hope. so don't give up hope. >> what surprised you about that person you sat across from? >> i think that i'd, i did it through video conference, because these are all video calls now. but i think just that ease of the conversation and how much i liked her and how much she liked me. she sent me an email afterwards. i gave her my email address and she said, you know, for that, our i felt respected. i felt recognized and i felt heard and it felt really good. and that's how i felt as well. so i think how good it feels at the end of having one of these conversations, it's not everyone, but it's a lot of them. to be pulled out of your silo, and to see life and a little bit of a new way, it's just thrilling. i think the elation and how
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draining it is also, this takes courage to listen in this way. but it is really worth it. >> let's listen to gary in fletcher north carolina. good morning. >> good morning. a famous prejudice caller here. i was listening to this program and one of the things i was trying to do back when i spoke was doing something like this. >> gary, for folks who don't remember that first caller, remind folks about that call and why he called in that day. >> i am. it began on television. the president of dinos was on. i wanted to express my views and i had prejudiced feelings about people. we and it was because of what i had seen and learned.
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we and i am afraid that what i experienced, people are experiencing it now, like that gentleman who just called you said people are yelling at me and doing this and acting this way. we are developing prejudices against these people right now. i think that your guest on television is one of the very few people that has really weak tried to bring up a remedy instead of trying to fortify these feelings. he is trying to break down some walls. and there needs to be more of this. i think this could really work. the thing i worry about is c-span, a lot of really thoughtful people call into c-span. i love listening to black collars. i love listening to people from points of views. but this doesn't reach some of the people that really need it. and i think the guests should explore all different avenues
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to get into some of the nooks and crannies of the areas that can use it, people that may not listen to c-span, or may not have the intellectual experience of the viewers. >> how do you suggest that they do that? where should one small step go? >> well, they should get people that dress and look like some of the people we don't agree with or are afraid of. we should have them sit across tables and talk to people instead of beating on cars or yelling in people's ears with bullhorns. that really isn't working. but to get a diverse group. i am intrigued with the demeanor of your guest. there is some people that would kind of blow it off that he is not their cup of tea. so i think we would have to diversify.
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all i would like to be in touch with them sometime me and offer what i've learned in the last four years. i am fixing to call hither and wish you a happy thanksgiving now. and anybody can look up that interview, i think, on the internet, if you want to tell your guests how to do that. >> gary, i am very familiar. that may be the most famous moment in c-span history. i don't know if you can talk to the producer, but if you can leave for your email address, i would love to be in touch with you and we can figure out something to do with you and heather. i agree. we are everywhere with all kinds of people trying to get the message out. we are a public service, we
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want to reach everyone across the country. we are doing everything we can. liberal radio, conservative radio, tv, print. we have an ad council campaign that did smoking cessation. and i think you will see those all over the place, encouraging people to listen. it's not a perfect analogy, but there are analogies with smoking. at one point, smoking was cool and sexy and then it wasn't, and right now treating each other with disrespect, being cruel to each other, not listening to each other, putting each other down, that's cool and sexy. at some point, treating each other, dehumanizing each other, at some point, hopefully it will not be cool. that's what we are trying to influence the most. that interview with heather was something we paid very close attention to four years ago. we appreciate your courage, and
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i think that's fantastic that you are calling her on thanksgiving to wish her a happy holiday. that is the essence of one small step. >> it was august 18th of 2016 that gary called in, that day with heather mcgee. if viewers want to go check that out. are you comfortable if i put you on hold with my producers or you can give your email address? is that ok? >> absolutely. you guys have been my thanksgiving. >> thank you. >> i was thinking about that interview right before he came on the air because it was such a dramatic and important moment and i am really honored to have had the chance to talk to you again. happy thanksgiving. >> steven is next out of maryland, a democrat. good morning. >> i was wondering whether or not gary voted for donald trump, because i think that that is really where this healing of the political divide is going
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to have to come. and i just want to say it sounds like in the conversation there may be a placing of burden on people who have to listen to racists all the time. to continue to listening to racists and empathize with their racism. black people are tired of listening to racists -- racists and being led by them and having them being their president. negotiating between who is less racist and who is more racist. i think this is where this healing needs to be done amongst white people, like, they need to heal themselves. they need to educate themselves. the books are out there. it's been 400 years. you can read about north carolina leasing slaves to their students. you can read about how fighting
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against taking down confederate statues, you can read about how the confederacy lost. this provocation is what causes a divide. the lack of healing by racists is what led to donald trump becoming president. it's a situation where you want the people who, for four years, the last four years you know, have to educate or listen to people who lost the popular vote, but took the electoral college because it's remnants of slavery. so now the structural divide is imposing a racist system on a population of people that you are saying needs to heal from a political divide. >> that is steven this morning. dave isay. >> i really appreciate that
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call. first of all, there are all kinds of guardrails up. i don't even want to say the word healing. it's just about having a conversation. it is not for everybody. no one is forced to do this. if there are people who want to do this and interested in getting to know people across the divides. if there are people who are not interested, there is no pressure on anybody having to do this. your point is completely well taken. one small step is not about racial reconciliation. we are not equipped to do that. the issues you bring up our deep and complicated and it's not a one small step, it's not a piece of one small step. but again, what one small step is looking at, again i do not want to overstate the problem, just listening to these calls, i think we all know we are getting their. this is about dehumanization and the dangers of a society dividing, where we divide into
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us and dams and we see the dems as less than human. in germany, the nazis used to call jews and other people less than human. slavery is an example of when a group of people is dehumanized. what's happened in rwanda. we are not there in the country yet, but it's a very dangerous road to go down. this is about people. it is not about healing. it's not about coming to common ground. it's about to human beings who have the courage to want to see the humanity in one another and find out who this person is. point well taken and one small step might not be for you. but if it is, i hope you will sign up and participate and take >> dave, i know we originally had you booked till 9:30 eastern this morning. there are still a lot of callers who want to chat with you. can you stick around for a
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while longer? >> happy to do so. i'm here for you. >> ahmed is annexed out of morgantown, west virginia. he's an independent. good morning, you are on with dave isay. >> good morning, thank you for taking my call. i want to ask you what you envision in terms of this approach of dialog, moving out of other spaces of society. whether it be in the workplace or at a shopping center and even online, what advice would you give to me and others who are interested in this approach of dialog? but, you know, not necessarily in the story corps space. >> yeah. i'm not a psychologist. i'm not an expert on resolving conflict. first of all, i really appreciate your question ahmed.
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i think my advice as a civilian to your question, you know, i live to some extent is story court and i know it very well. i think the lessons we can take from story court can be applied everywhere. i spoke about it earlier as well. i think one of the key, i think about one of the founding principles of story core were. some of those are just things to hold on to if you can. that includes to assume the best in others. if you look at the ground rules of what has to happen, and this goes back to the previous caller. in storycorps interviews, one small step interviews, there are ground rules. you do not shout, you don't curse, you don't talk over people. just making sure that you are being treated the way you would
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want to be treated. again, i have to say i keep coming back to the word courage. it's about courage, in workplaces or other places. take a deep breath and know what's your intention is in the conversation and dive in. i do believe, and again this is the lesson of storycorps. john, you are asking early on whether that was a selection bias for one small step. you can say the same thing about storycorps. at the beginning there was a sort of selection bias. this idea of the basic goodness of people. there has got to be a truth to it. i know it's not what we see when we look at most channels. i know we're not talking about c-span. most of the messages we get are not about the basic goodness that is inherent in all people. you know,. the lesson that we've learned in our little corner of storycorps is that it is true. i think we're just kind of
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telling truths that are true here. we will keep telling them until there is no breath left in our bodies. we can't give up hope. we can't give up hope in other people. we have to look forward and look towards each other and take one small step towards each other, or else this country -- you know, there was an article this week, i talk about this as a moon shot. how can we as a country ever accomplish anything that is big in any way if we are at each other's throats? it's just not going to work. so you have to find a way to find the humanity in each other and the best in each other in order to move forward. >> earlier, you talked about the dangers you see in social media. do you watch much cable news and do you think there are similar dangers there? >> so, i'm the one human being on the face of the earth who, since the pandemic hit, has not turned on the tv. i don't watch tv. it's only because, you know,
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the work is pretty intense for storycorps, and i have two little kids, one of which had covid. i don't watch tv and i don't tend to watch tv news at all. but from what i understand, people are obviously highly incentivized to -- you know, the more that you make your side feel like everything that they say is correct and that the other side is evil, the higher your ratings are going to be. so every incentive is towards this kind of deep polarization in the country and dividing us. i have no doubt that is what happens all the time on cable tv. we are human beings, it's understandable, but it's not necessarily healthy. it's not okay. we see one small step in some
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ways as a public health campaign because this kind of conflict and hate, it's extremely stressful. you can hear it in the voices of your callers. people are in real distress. we get paranoid and it's just not good. it's not good for us, it's not good for the country, and we have to figure out something to turn the tide. >> just a couple more of those voices in while we have you they've i say. frank in pennsylvania, a democrat, thanks for waiting. >> okay. hi, dave. >> hey. >> you know, i think that at the bottom of this, the big problem we have here is the very unhealthy divide between the haves and have not in our economy. that is what is making people angry and they don't even realize it. we need some real economic
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reform in the way of taxation. we need to stop shooting at one another here. we need to bring the people's attention to the simple fact that the economy is way out of whack. that the haves have too much and the have not don't have enough. we have not don't know what hit them. this needs to be corrected. d>> they buy say. -- dave isay. >> i think the stop shooting each other makes sense. if we're going to make progress as a country, we have to figure out a way. right now it is a zero sum game. there are all kinds of interesting studies about this. that is more important for people to -- it's less important when your party does then defeating the other party. it has become a shoot out.
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and again, that is not healthy and that will not move the country forward. i am not a political scientist or an expert on politics. again, i'm an expert on my small corner of the world on story core, which is about humans connecting. these are just sort of evident truths is what i think you are saying. again, if we are at each other's throats then there's not much that we can do as a country to move forward and create this more perfect union that we all hope for and that must happen. we have to figure this out. >> one last call for you. this is vicky and window, north carolina. thanks for waiting, they gave. >> thanks for taking my call. i'm curious. i love the i-d of what you're doing and at least someone is doing something. i have been completely devastated since the election.
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i'm glad that biden won, but i feel now prejudiced against people that voted for trump. my problem isn't really the political divide, it's i feel like that the people who voted for him do not care about the truth. they don't have morality. they don't live in reality having believed all the things that he said. i am trying to reconcile my feelings about all this because i'm finding myself very upset and feeling like i don't know my country anymore. >> yeah. that is a good reason to be upset. again, thank you for the kind words and i'm sorry you are in distress. i don't know the answer except that we have to do something and i hope that you will go to and sign up and talk to someone. again, i don't know if it's
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going to be satisfying. i hear that you are in a lot of pain, but it might be. it can't be any worse than what you are feeling inside right now. we have to figure out a way to reach out to each other. remember, we listen to that clip earlier and there's so many clips like that where you had a pro-life person and someone who worked at planned parenthood talking to each other who became friends afterwards. and i'm sure that both of them would have had that sort of distress that you are expressing before they had that conversation. again, it is not the answer to everything, but i hope you will join in and be a part of this and that it gives you some peace. maybe the people you meet through one small step aren't exactly what you think and maybe you will learn something new and maybe it will bring just a little glimmer of hope back. our democracy still can't
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verify -- our democracy also cannot survive without hope. we need help to move forward, so don't give up hope. >> they, before you go, for people who want to participate in storycorps, explain again how they can do it via google. >> okay, so now it's getting really complicated. again, we have two things we are talking about. one is storycorps, which is the broad effort that i founded many years ago. if you go to google today underneath the search bar, on your desktop it will say recording elder a record a loved one. that will upload to the library of congress so your great great great grandchildren can get to know their grandmother through her voice and story. all of this is about listening, it's about respect, it's about dignity. it's about recognizing the poetry, the grace and the stories hiding in plain sight all around us if we take the time to listen. that is if you want to interview a loved one.
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if you want to be part of the political piece of this, one small step, people, strangers across the divide getting to know each other. that is not on the home page of google. you have to go to and sign up to be a part of this. we will match you with someone from across the political divide. everything is done virtually now to be safe because of covid. once we have the vaccines, we will go back to doing it in person. however, the virtual will stay as well. both of these are incredible leap meaningful on interviewing a loved one. i will say that whoever it is that you are going to call, and so many people feel lonely and isolated today, a very weird and difficult thanksgiving for so many. by interviewing them, asking them about their life, it reminds them that they matter and that they won't be forgotten. i promise two things. one, you will learn things about whoever it is you interview, no matter how well you know them, in the context of story core, in the context of recording american history.
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you will discover something. the second thing is you will not regret. i have people coming up to me, before the pandemic, when we were living in a different kind of, world every day people would come up and say i wish i had interviewed my grandmother, my grandfather. but i waited too long. i wish i had interviewed my brother, i waited too long. our hope is that at some point, story cork will be around and people will know about it enough that no one has that kind of regret. on the one small steps, peace the last caller was crying about how painful it is for her in this country right now. we've heard a lot of pain in these phone calls. and this is not okay. we've got to figure out some way to see each other again. and i hope that this methodology that we have developed helps us take one small step, again, towards each other and away from this abyss of hopelessness and despair and dysfunction that this country has fallen into. so i really appreciate you
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taking the time to talk about all of this stuff on thanksgiving, john. thank you. >> and we think you, dave isay, founder and president of storycorps. >> happy thanksgiving to you and all your viewers. thanks for a really thoughtful conversation. >> weeknights this month, we are featuring american history tv programs to preview what's available every weekend on c-span three. tonight, two best-selling offers on how they use historical research in their work. watch beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. >> american history tv on c-span 3. exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend. coming up this weekend, saturday at 10 pm eastern, on real america, as health officials prepare to roll out a vaccine against the coronavirus, we take you back in time with
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five or cable films about vaccines and the fight against disease. on sunday, at 6 pm eastern, on american artifacts. tour new york city's lower east side tenement museum with reconstructed dwellings that show how immigrant families coped with poverty and crowded conditions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. at 6:30 pm, a look at presidential leadership during the cold war with historian william hitchcock, also the author of the age of eisenhower, america and the world in the 19 fifties. at 9 pm, a u.s. constitutional debate hosted by the colonial williamsburg foundation featuring a reenactment from founding fathers james madison and george mason on issues from the bill of rights to slavery. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span three. >> with a peaceful presidential transition of power in question following the 2020 election,
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sunday night on q&a, historian susan shelton and eric talk about two of the most contentious presidential transitions in u.s. history. in 1861 between james buchanan and abraham lincoln and in 1933 between herbert hoover and franklin roosevelt. >> several southern states did not recognize the election of abraham lincoln as legitimate. they considered him a sectional president for the fact that, by and large, his support came from non slave states. no sooner had he been elected that south carolina makes good on its promise to proceed towards succeeding from the union. >> hoover conceded the election. on election day he had no choice, giving the resounding nature of the vote in the way it was reported in the press. it was clear he lost the election. but he never conceded the substance of the argument. he continued to believe that the new deal, as


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