One thing 2016 made abundantly clear is how polarized U.S. politics has become. Social media has made it easier to mute the voices we disagree with and boost those who share our opinions. For a fascinating look at this, check out the Wall Street Journal‘s “Blue Feed, Red Feed,” which shows the stories that are most liked and shared by those who self-identify as “very liberal” and “very conservative” side by side. And when one person engages someone with a different opinion on social media, so often it devolves to trolling or personal attacks. It’s easy to look at your news feed and think everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, dangerous, uninformed (or, worse, misinformed), etc.
Enter NPR’s new podcast, 1A. This show draws its name from the first amendment, and discusses timely issues from policy to politics to pop culture. What I like most about this show is that host Joshua Johnson invites people with differing opinions on the day’s topic, and asks questions from listeners in addition to his own questions. Already this show has helped me to understand the arguments made by those whose politics I disagree with. While they’ve yet to change my mind, they’ve helped me see important issues from new angles, and provided insights that simply listening to others who share my views would not have given me. If, like me, you’re craving intelligent, civil discourse that respects differing opinions, I highly recommend this podcast.