This American Life
3:43 pm
Sat November 3, 2012

478: Red State Blue State

Politics have divided our country to the extent that the two sides not only disagree on the solutions to the country’s problems, they represent two different realities. This week we hear from people who are intimately familiar with this rift. They’ve lost friends. They’ve become estranged from family. They've watched civility cede to skirmishes. Our political civil war and its consequences: a special pre-election episode.

Credit Design by Isaac H. on Customink.com

Prologue

Ira Glass rides around with a man in the man's hometown...a man who doesn't want us to say his name on the radio. Why? Because he's secretly a Democrat, in a small town dominated by Republicans.

Act One: I Know You Are, But What Am I?

By Lisa Pollak

 

We surveyed hundreds of people around the country, from every part of the of political spectrum, about the ways in which politics are interfering with their friendships and families. Producer Lisa Pollak reports. (20 minutes)

We collaborated with American Public Media’s Public Insight Network to find some of the interviewees for this story. Individual stories about how politics have affected personal relationships appear on their website.

Lisa also spoke with Phil Neisser and Jacob Hess, two political opposites and authors of You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong), about their advice for how liberals and conservatives can have more productive conversations.

Act Two: Nothing in Moderation

By Sarah Koenig

A portrait of what it looks like when politics gets polarized, and how hard it is for people in the middle to hang on. Producer Sarah Koenig explains what happened when a wave of Republican politicians swept to power with a three-to-one majority in 2010. New Hampshire’s a small state, and the shift to a more divisive in-your-face kind of politics happened very quickly, so it’s possible to see exactly what’s gained and lost when that happens.

Song: "This Land Is Your Land", Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

Related Program