Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:05):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, ''Can a Conservative and Liberal Have an Honest Conversation?" with our special guest, Daniel.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:27):
Then we'll share a slice of life and the show will close with questions for reflection, where we will invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Beth Demme (00:34):
So today, our special guest is Daniel, and he actually was with us back on episode 47 talking with us about his lifelong illness, being a Type One diabetic. Steph, why don't you kind of introduce Daniel some more? Tell us, why is he back?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:50):
First of all, I want to see how long we can go without him speaking, which is pretty great. We're not going to give him any chance to speak because you heard our title, so no chance to speak. No, we'll give him plenty of chance.
Daniel Kuykendall (01:02):
I think I'm muted at this point.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:03):
Oh, no, we heard that. Darn it, I forgot to hit the mute button. But I just want to give a quick reminder. So Daniel is who I call my bro, he's basically like a brother that I get to choose. He's awesome, he's been really supportive in my life. And we've already had him on the podcast once and we invited him back because a, we had always planned to do this, and b, he just has so much to say and so many things, so many words. And so, we had to have him on for more words.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:29):
And I do want to say he's actually remote today. He was in the studio last time, but he's remotely in Orlando, Florida, in his loft office. Yeah. So that's my little background on Daniel.
Beth Demme (01:41):
And today's episode title is actually a question because we don't know if we can have this conversation. Can people of differing political views have civil conversations? We're not seeing it modeled well in other places. We're going to put our hat into the ring and see if we can do it today.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:57):
And we don't know how this is going to turn out. But I will tell you, Daniel loves to debate. That's one of his favorite hobbies I would say. Is that accurate, Daniel?
Daniel Kuykendall (02:06):
I absolutely love it. I love posing odd questions and getting responses from people that I may agree or disagree with and understanding their viewpoint and how they came to those conclusions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:19):
Well, then I think that's a good place to start. So we definitely have conversations a lot over text message. I don't stand down and he definitely doesn't stand down and we let our viewpoints be known. We never have changed each other's viewpoints but we let them be known in a respectful way. So, I think the first question Daniel is, do you have one or two tools that you use when talking to someone with an opposite viewpoint?
Daniel Kuykendall (02:44):
Before I dive into that, you said that we haven't changed each other's viewpoints. Now, I would say on an overarching scale, no. However, discussing things with you have forced me to do additional research on topics that I found that I didn't have as much knowledge as I thought I did, or you don't know what you don't know. So in talking with you Steph, I've been forced to do additional research, and some of those situations, it has changed a portion of my opinion and my conclusion. So, I just wanted to mention that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:22):
Well, and I'm assuming when you say all that, you're mostly talking about I have changed your perspective on greyhounds. Is that really what we're talking about here?
Daniel Kuykendall (03:30):
That would probably be the biggest area that you've changed my opinion on. And actually I have that in my notes for today's conversation, is mentioning the Greyhound amendment and how I voted on that and I was incorrect, even though I had done research, voted for the banning of greyhound racing on that ballot [crosstalk 00:03:51]. I was 100% completely wrong. Sometimes your votes is the wrong vote and I accept that. Sometimes voting for a particular candidate, you hope they're going to live up to the promises. And sometimes they don't, sometimes they do, sometimes they live up to a small portion of it. There's people I've voted for in the past that I regret voting for, and would have changed my vote if I were able to go back in time. So it's important to really question your values and your viewpoints as much as humanly possible because it's going to force you to do additional research, to come up with a better conclusion.
Daniel Kuykendall (04:27):
Now, as far as tools, I really feel that the biggest tool that I use is discussing ideas and policy versus discussing candidates. The second you get into a candidate discussion, it's now a sports team discussion. It becomes a team fights, and you'll never get anywhere with that. So, discarding candidates and focusing on ideas and concepts.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:58):
I think that's a good one that we can try to implement today.
Beth Demme (05:01):
No, I disagree.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:02):
No, no. Ooh.
Beth Demme (05:05):
I do. Because we are not voting for a party platform as much as we are voting for a person. And I think that we have some very recent experience with the downfall that a person's personal failings can bring to the office and can then have some pretty serious repercussions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:25):
We've already heard Daniels and you've already said that was not something that you agree with. But we heard his which I think there's some validity to it myself. I'm going to be neutral ground here. Beth, do you have any tools that you use when talking to someone with an opposite view?
Beth Demme (05:40):
Yeah. So one of my tools is to approach with wonder. So I try to say to myself, my internal dialogue is, I wonder why they think that, instead of just assuming, I wonder why they're okay with being wrong. I try to approach it with a more like open-minded sort of asking a question, I wonder what leads to that opinion. That's been really helpful to me in conversations about religion. And so I think that it could similarly be helpful in conversations about politics.
Beth Demme (06:08):
And the other one is actually something that Daniel has touched on. I know that I'm wrong about some things. I just don't know which ones. So, I do try to maintain some sense of humility when I'm in a conversation and not just, oh, it must be my way. You must agree that I'm right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:27):
I would say my biggest thing when talking to someone with opposite opinions is respect. I think the big thing is respecting each other and respecting that space because if I'm talking to somebody that has similar views to me, I'm going to talk in a different way than someone that has opposite views, because I can easily go to that person's beep beep beep. I can say whatever because they agree with the same stuff. But I'm not going to say that in disrespect someone else that really does believe in that candidate or that platform. I think those are all three, good, four, three, four, all of those things are good things to discuss today even though there is differing opinion on one of them. So we'll see how that goes.
Daniel Kuykendall (07:09):
I agree with both of you guys when it comes to the concepts of it. And Beth, we obviously disagreed when it came to the candidate position. Would you say that any candidate you vote for you would agree 100% with them on all things and would you also say that when it comes to a human being, if you put faith in that person, what is the likelihood of them letting you down?
Beth Demme (07:34):
So for sure, I've never agreed 100% with someone that I've voted for. I think that would actually indicate to me that I had probably moved too close to what I would call idolatry, to say, I'm 100% aligned with this person. So it's definitely weighing out candidates and saying who is most closely aligned with my views and who do I trust. There's that element to it. And for sure people that I have voted for have disappointed me for sure. I'm not an elected official, but that's part of humanity, right? I'm sure that I've disappointed people.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:11):
I can confirm that not talking about the actual politicians but talking about the parties in general is healthy because we've done that, Daniel and I have talked about that. I finally one day was like, I can't talk Trump anymore, I can't do it. And so we started talking and just more broad party things. And that was a more healthy conversation. So I will say it is possible. So I agree with kind of his statement on that.
Daniel Kuykendall (08:38):
I was going to bring that that example specifically because when we talked candidate and when we talked party, the conversation got heated and emotional verse when we discussed the more broader policy oriented and ideas, we aligned very closely to each other when it came to those issues. We had small differences here and there, but they were small differences, they weren't broad differences.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:08):
So I agree completely with that but I also agree with Beth's statement because in my mind, which we're not going to dig into right now, but I'm just going to say it and then no one else can answer.
Beth Demme (09:18):
Daniel Kuykendall (09:19):
She's cutting us off, she's cutting off our mic.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:25):
In my mind, Trump's not a republican so that's why it's hard for me to have that conversation, that's why I think it's important to have Trump as the statement and not republican as a statement because I think you're talking about two different things, and that is why I agree with your statement, but also I agree with Daniel's statement of talking the actual parties and talking the actual candidates.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:47):
So, with that said, I want to say that I'm not going to say much. I want to be kind of just the prompter in this statement because you both like to debate, that's one thing I know about you guys, and that's one thing I don't like to do. I will do it. We got a lawyer and we got a white man. I'll cut that out, I'll cut that out.
Daniel Kuykendall (10:06):
That was sexist and racist.
Beth Demme (10:09):
It wasn't racist.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:10):
I don't know that it was sexist either.
Daniel Kuykendall (10:13):
Identifying me based on my appearance in an ideological conversation is detrimental to a good conversation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:20):
We have a lawyer and a photographer. Okay. So here we go.
Daniel Kuykendall (10:24):
How do you feel about that, Beth, about identifying somebody based on their sex, gender when it comes to ideological conversations?
Beth Demme (10:30):
I think that not being identified by race and gender is a privilege that white men often have.
Daniel Kuykendall (10:39):
But what does it have to do with ideological conversations when it comes to-
Beth Demme (10:43):
Because your ideology is based on your life experiences, and a white person's experiences are going to be different. As a member of the majority, a majority experience is going to be different than a minority experience.
Daniel Kuykendall (10:56):
I agree with you 100%. Our conclusions on life is based off of our personal experiences. 100%. But discussing ideas, well, this is a conversation for a whole whole nother podcast, so we can move past this, I think we should because, otherwise, we'll be here for another three hour podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:18):
All right, we'll put that down on the list for a future conversation. So Daniel, I'd like to quickly kind of set the stage for kind of a succinct answer from you on what does it mean to be a conservative?
Beth Demme (11:31):
Well, do you identify with that label? Would you describe yourself as a conservative?
Daniel Kuykendall (11:35):
Republican, Democrat, that's a binary answer to a very complex thing. Same thing with conservative and liberal. And so there are various areas, think of it more of like a spectrum, I see it as a spectrum. There are things that I disagree with conservatives on and there are things I agree with liberals on. There's a broad spectrum. You can be very conservative, you can be very liberal, you can be somewhere in the middle, you can be center. Really all I have to go on is what my guiding principles are. When it comes to conservatism, I prefer fewer restrictions on living and more choices on how I want to live my life. I believe our Constitution is a beautiful document that is one of a kind in this world that has been dominated by ruling classes.
Daniel Kuykendall (12:17):
I find corporations easier to be held accountable to the people than the government which I view as more of a monopoly than a system of competing choices. Less taxes provide me and others with more life options. The more in taxes I pay, the more I have to work, the less money I have to give to charities and the less money I have to reinvest in my business. I love charities, I love giving money, I love giving my time. I've done that with Habitat for Humanity, I've done that for local homeless shelters. I've done that with the Big Bend Organization, which you guys have up there in Tallahassee. And I find that the more I pay in taxes, less time and less money I have to contribute my time and money to those organizations.
Daniel Kuykendall (12:57):
So really, it just comes down to small government, I want a slow small governments, which also leads me to voting for some Democrats in some situations. I don't want Republicans to run all three branches, I don't want Democrats to run all three branches, because when that happens, we've got a fast moving government that is harder to keep accountable, and they get more stuff through that people just aren't going to see and understand. That's kind of my my basic guiding principles of being a conservative. There's much more to it, obviously, but trying to keep it succinct.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:32):
You would find that you typically vote Republican because of your conservative views of ultimately of the government, of having a slow-moving less-involved government.
Daniel Kuykendall (13:43):
I don't necessarily like voting Republican in some situations, because again, that typically comes down to a binary option. I don't like binary options, I like multiple options. So either this person or that person, and I will not agree fully with some people, so it really just comes down, it's like a sliding scale of how much do I agree with this person versus how much do I agree with the opposing party. I voted democrat on many tickets and voted Republican as well. It just depends. I like balance, which is what our system is based off of.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:19):
So I think when we talk about politics, a lot of the time we go straight to presidential candidate. We have a lot of elections.
Daniel Kuykendall (14:26):
Why are you doing this, Steph?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:28):
I know a big part of change we can make is in our local government. And so it's really important to vote in local government elections. But since that's what people seem to talk about a lot, and especially during this time right now, is presidential, I did want to mention that I got a mail-in ballot in the mail, and I have actually already cast my vote for Joseph Biden/Kamala Harris. I took it to the elections office and I can see online, Florida has a way where you can log in and you can see that it's already been counted. So my ballot is in. And I was just curious, Daniel, how do you feel about that?
Daniel Kuykendall (15:03):
Yeah, I've got no problem with you voting for Biden?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:05):
Thank you. That's all I needed to hear. All right.
Daniel Kuykendall (15:08):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:09):
Beth, I have a question for you.
Beth Demme (15:12):
I also feel fine about you voting for Biden.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:14):
Thank you. And have you voted yet, Beth?
Beth Demme (15:16):
I haven't. And I was going to early vote today because the day we're recording this is the day that early voting actually opens. And the line is longer than I have ever seen it. So you're not in our same county, but you're in our same state. Are you planning to vote early?
Daniel Kuykendall (15:29):
Most likely. I actually didn't know until a couple days ago that in person early voting was available. Typically, I've always gone on election day to vote, but I'll probably be going early during this. I want to wait until after the next debate, I don't think it's going to change my opinion at all, just like the first debate, which was absolute garbage trash fire. So probably won't affect my vote but I definitely want to see what both candidates have to say during the next debate.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:00):
One of the things I want to ask you, Beth, and then we'll throw it to Daniel, is when we talk about politics and we talk about these two parties, I'm curious for you, what role does emotions play in how you vote? And do you vote with your heart or your mind?
Beth Demme (16:16):
I think I vote with both my heart and my mind. And I think there are ways in which, there are important ways in which those two are inseparable for me. So I definitely allow my emotions to influence my decisions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:32):
So Daniel, do you agree with that? Do you think emotions come into play when you vote?
Daniel Kuykendall (16:38):
I 100% agree they do come into play. And I like I like Beth's response to that. I think combining the two and finding a balance there is extremely important. Over the years, I've eliminated emotions from voting, primarily because the reason that I don't know these people personally and I don't have control over them other than my votes. And so, having some emotional, I've only got so much room for emotions. They can cause unneeded stress and so forth. For me personally, I've eliminated emotions from my voting because it's something that's I don't want to invest that much emotional space and time towards. I'd rather that be relegated to friends, family and things that I can control and things that I have influence over and things that are personal to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:39):
Well, I'm curious, Beth, what would you define as emotionally voting?
Beth Demme (17:43):
So some of the issues that have driven me left on the political spectrum. So I used to very much identify as a conservative and as a Republican, and I've moved pretty far to the left. A lot of that actually has been driven by emotion. So, I have an emotional reaction to children being taken from their parents at the border. That's an emotional issue for me and it's going to influence how I vote. I have an emotional reaction to over 200,000 people dying in a pandemic, that's going to influence my vote. So when I say that my heart and my mind come together, that's kind of what I mean.
Daniel Kuykendall (18:22):
Just to be devil's advocate here, with the children being separated from their parents at the border, what's the difference between that and parents being arrested for doing an illegal crime within the United States, that's still child parent separation?
Beth Demme (18:39):
When a parent commits a crime in the United States and their child is taken from them, they're actually tracked and they're put into the foster care system, or they're placed with a foster family. And so the government knows at all times, and is held responsible for the care that is given to that child, which is not what has happened at the border. And we make every effort in court, they make every effort to keep families of US citizens together so much so that there are children who are returned to neglectful parents because we're trying so hard to keep that family intact and giving the benefit of the doubt. And it's not illegal to come into the United States and request asylum. They haven't broken a law. So there are a lot of differences I think.
Daniel Kuykendall (19:26):
This is an area that I don't have a ton of knowledge on so I'm asking a lot of questions. If they request asylum, it's not necessarily illegal, but I'm sure there's still a legal process that goes through to make sure that claim is valid, for one. And then two, how long are they separated from their parents? If somebody comes in and claims asylum and they've entered illegally, obviously, the first step is that separation, they've done something illegal. And how long are they separated from their families before they're reunited?
Beth Demme (20:01):
They haven't entered illegally, they've entered "without inspection," which is actually not in the criminal code. It's not a violation of the law.
Daniel Kuykendall (20:12):
I don't mean to interrupt. But what's the difference between entered without inspection versus entering illegally?
Beth Demme (20:19):
There is no legal term called entering illegally. That just doesn't exist because it's not a crime. You can enter without inspection, which means you didn't stop and have somebody look at your passport. You didn't have somebody stamp your documentation to say that, yes, you have entered through an approved checkpoint. So it's called "entry without inspection." At that point, there doesn't need to be any separation of the family. And yet, that's what our government has chosen to do. And they've done it in such a way that the children, they don't always know where they are and they don't always know who they belong to.
Beth Demme (20:49):
And so, you read stories about, if you want to read about this, you can read the work of Hannah Adair, A-D-A-I-R, Bonner. She's a Methodist pastor who's written about it a lot. So there are children who are three years old, and they're saying to them, what's your name? What are your parent's names? I don't know. We have been neglectful in how we have done that. We have been abusive in how we have done that. And so that is just an example of an emotional issue that would influence my vote.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:18):
You both know this, but I'm just going to let everyone know, I actually have a conservative neighbor that I'm friends with. I am friends with a conservative beyond Daniel. And I talked to her recently about her major reason for being conservative and her major decision factor. She said she could only vote for a candidate that was pro-life. So if both candidates were pro-life, she would consider both of them. But if they aren't, that's why she votes Republican. That's one of her major reasons. I'm going to open it up to Daniel first, and succinctly he's going to tell us how do your views on abortion influence your votes?
Daniel Kuykendall (21:57):
It was never a consideration for me or many conservatives I know. We mostly oppose it. And if it had remained safe, legal and rare, like President Clinton had promoted, then I think it'd be less of an issue than it has become in recent years. I don't want to see anyone die, especially those who have no say in it. This extends from conception through someone committing a crime. Life is precious and should be preserved at all costs. I find abortions the most despicable form of death as it robs that life from any choices. I do support candidates that want to ban it or make it as rare as possible, though, it's not a big priority in my voting due to the contentious nature of the subject. I really don't care what women do with their bodies but killing an unborn baby is not some body modification and you're not removing a cancer. It's a separate entity in and of itself and I think that entity has its own personal rights.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:04):
So I mentioned that that was a big deciding factor for voting for my neighbor. So Daniel, I'm curious, what do you think about people that are single issue voters?
Daniel Kuykendall (23:13):
I think people have their own minds and their own motivations. I think we should let people make up their own minds on what's their priority and what is their primary motivation for voting. It doesn't bother me that some people are single subject voters.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:30):
All right. Well, Beth, I'm going to turn it over to you and trying to keep my opinions out of this because I'm hoping you will say all of my things. If not, I'll have to throw them in there because I-
Beth Demme (23:41):
We do want to hear from you. We don't want you just-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:43):
No, I think you'll say it. But you may not, you may surprise me. I have no idea. So Beth, same question for you. When it comes to abortion, is that a major factor in your voting for a candidate?
Beth Demme (24:00):
It is not a major factor in my voting and I think that your neighbor and I would probably define "pro-life" differently because I do consider myself extremely pro-life. It's why the number of coronavirus deaths are so troubling to me. I will say I have met people who truly are pro-birth and not pro-life. And I think that that is an unfortunate motivating factor in our elections because I think there's, I look at abortion as something that should be just exactly what you said when you quoted President Clinton. I agree with that, that it should be rare. There were three things, what are the three adjectives?
Daniel Kuykendall (24:39):
Safe, legal and rare?
Beth Demme (24:40):
It should be safe, legal and rare. I absolutely agree with that. I think that it is basically a medical decision between a woman and her doctor. And I don't know that the government, I don't think that the government has a lot of room in that conversation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:57):
Well, it's interesting to me because this hard and fast line of abortion, we want the government to say you can't have abortion because it's wrong, and yet, as Daniel defined, for him, he tends to be conservative in his views because he believes in smaller government and not having government controlling things. So to me, I just can't understand where this issue is such a big part of the conservative platform because you're saying we don't want government involved with our lives yet abortion is wrong and government needs to make sure they do something about it. It doesn't make sense to me.
Daniel Kuykendall (25:37):
Part of government's role is in creating laws and enforcing those laws. Murder is illegal, I see abortion as a form number, especially when it has to do with a life that hasn't had the opportunity to develop and have its own choices. So I see that as, not only that, also from a religious viewpoint, Thou shalt not murder. Did I get my verbiage correct on that?
Beth Demme (26:06):
That's right, it does say that.
Daniel Kuykendall (26:07):
Murder of any kind I think is wrong and should be prevented at all costs. That extends beyond birth. I don't agree with any death that's unnecessary.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:20):
So on the same lines of that, I'm curious, conservatives, Republicans say abortion wrong, pro-life, yes. But then we have something like the president getting COVID and taking a treatment that has been tested on stem cells.
Beth Demme (26:39):
It was a treatment that originates from stem cells from the 1970s that were from aborted fetuses.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:49):
How can we say this is wrong, yet, I got COVID, so I'm going to take this and that's okay. To me, there's crumbles all along the way and I don't see how you can have a foot in the ground and saying this is where we draw the line.
Beth Demme (27:04):
Right. Which would then lead to, I think, a viewpoint like what Daniel expressed that, this is why government that comes down to binary choices, that comes down to yes or no, that comes down to just a black or white question. That's where government doesn't do so well.
Daniel Kuykendall (27:20):
100%. 100% agree with that. So that's why I did really enjoy Bill Clinton's statement of safe, legal and rare. I think that's where our priority should be. Definitely not late term abortions, I think as that situation gets pushed more towards the late term abortion area, you're going to find a much bigger fight with the conservatives. If they kept it safe, legal, rare, I don't think it would be nearly as big of an issue. You'd have more of the outliers fighting against it and much smaller minority of conservatives fighting against it. But as you start to open up what is allowed in the realm of abortions, you're going to find a much bigger fight with conservatives, it's going to become a much bigger issue.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:13):
So Beth, do you actually have any stats? Do you know the percentage of abortions that happen in this country versus the amount of births in this country? Do we have stats on that?
Beth Demme (28:21):
I mean, I don't know them off the top of my head. I just know that it's a declining trend. That overall, the number of abortions have been on the decline since, in the last 12 years. So if you go back to the earliest days of the Obama administration, the number of abortions have decreased. And I think there are public policy reasons for that and I think that it is a good thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:46):
And that's why I was curious. I was like, we all agree with the statement from Clinton, safe, legal and rare. And so I'm curious, are they rare? Are we still fighting a fight that as actually, are we at that place that he stated? I don't know. And we actually have an episode coming up soon that we'll probably get some facts on that because we'll probably dig into this a little bit more on feminism. Quickly, what is your opinion on people that vote single issue?
Beth Demme (29:15):
Well, I think that the conversation that we've had really demonstrates why abortion in particular is not a great single issue to determine especially your vote in a presidential election because it is a complicated issue. It is a nuanced issue. And candidates in all parts of the spectrum pander to people on this particular issue. I don't think that that has served our overall political system very well. I have actually been like, I just don't have a lot of respect for single issue voters.Now having said that, I also think I have become a single issue voter. I just acknowledge that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:57):
So I feel like we've been talking broad spectrum so far, but I think we are now going to get into best part of having a civil conversation and talk candidates. I think we're going to go there. So Beth, I'm going to say a statement that I believe is true about you because you actually wrote the statement that I'm going to read. So I don't think I'm making this up. And the statement is that you actually switched parties in 2016 because you believe that Trump is a white supremacist.
Beth Demme (30:26):
So sadly, I did not change my party in 2016. But I sure wish I had. I hung on to being a Republican until, it might have just been last year, it might have been 2019 that I actually went from being a registered Republican to being no party affiliation. But is absolutely because I do think that Trump is a white supremacist and I don't want anything, I don't want to be affiliated with that in any way. I don't even like that I get mail from the GOP in my mailbox. I don't even like that because I think, and that's when I say, I've never had respect for single issue voters, and yet I find myself really being a single issue voter these days because that's my issue. That's like my bottom line issue. I will not vote for someone who I think is a white supremacist.
Daniel Kuykendall (31:09):
Why do you think he's a white supremacist?
Beth Demme (31:12):
And I'm using that term, I know that it's a somewhat politically charged term.
Daniel Kuykendall (31:17):
If you want to define the term, that'd be great.
Beth Demme (31:20):
I think that he is a racist who believes that white people are superior. And in that way, he is a white supremacist. And I believe that he thinks that based on the way that he handled the Central Park Five even when they were acquitted, I believe that based on the violations that he committed in terms of providing housing, that he was discriminatory in housing back in the 1970s.
Beth Demme (31:47):
I believe it based on the way that those in his very inner circle, as in Donald Trump Jr., courted the votes of people who took Pepe and made that a whole white supremacist thing. Based on how he responded after Charlottesville, based on him saying things like I'm going to ban all Muslims from coming into the United States, based on the way that he has referred to immigration issues around people of color. The fact that he has referred to certain countries as shithole countries. All of that feeds into my understanding of how he views the world. Even in the recent debate, "Will you condemn white supremacy?" and he just wouldn't do it. Stand back and stand by is not a condemnation. All of that taken together leads me to conclude that he thinks white people are better.
Daniel Kuykendall (32:37):
I'll just say right now in 2016, I voted for Trump but I felt dirty after doing so. I didn't like him, I didn't think he was Republican, I didn't think he was conservative. I really liked Ted Cruz. Both me and my wife's plan were to walk in there and write in Ted Cruz. That was our plan. We get in there and we look at the options and we both at the last second decided check off Trump. And we walked out and I looked at her I said, "Okay, I did something dirty. I voted for Trump." And she looked at me and she said, "I did the same thing." We both expected Hillary to win. So at the time, we thought that our votes were throw away votes, which would have been the same had I written in Ted Cruz. But I probably would have felt better about it.
Daniel Kuykendall (33:39):
If it wasn't for the media attacking him on the white supremacy stuff, then I never would have done research on it and I probably would have accepted it just as it was reported. I started really doing research into that topic. And anytime they'd say he said something racist, I'd look it up and I'd watch the original statements, and I found that it just wasn't there. The evidence was not there. He's denounced white supremacy, racism, hates groups over 20 times on various networks and in various speeches over the time. The evidence just is not there to support that he is a white supremacist in any form whatsoever.
Daniel Kuykendall (34:26):
With the Muslim ban, he banned several countries that happen to be Muslim but he didn't ban all the countries that were Muslim. It wasn't a Muslim ban, he didn't say it was a Muslim ban.
Beth Demme (34:35):
He absolutely said it. I can send you the clip of him saying it. In a rally, he said, "I'm going to ban all Muslims."
Daniel Kuykendall (34:43):
Let me look this up just so-
Beth Demme (34:44):
When the executive order came through, it was targeted at some specific countries, but that is not how he presented it in his own propaganda.
Daniel Kuykendall (34:52):
I can get back to that one in a minute. Pepe the Frog, that's a whole case study, by the way. It started off as a meme that was taken and run with by many, many different people.
Beth Demme (35:11):
The person who drew Pepe never intended it to be used as a symbol of white supremacy or to be used by those groups.
Daniel Kuykendall (35:19):
In regards to the Proud Boys, it's not a white supremacist group or movement by any means, by any definition. I don't think Trump-
Beth Demme (35:33):
If the President had chosen to say that, he could have chosen to say, I don't know anything about that specific group, but I would say to white supremacists, you have no place in my party. But he doesn't say that, right? He retweets Mussolini, he aligns himself with the Ku Klux Klan, he retweets other white supremacists. I have been on the record about this since 2016, I just pulled up my phone to search my own blog because I wrote about it back in May of 2016 with links to the articles since way before Muslim bans, since way before any of this. I have felt that he was too closely aligned with white supremacists. And in his presidency, he's done nothing to distance himself from them.
Daniel Kuykendall (36:14):
If you search on YouTube, you can look up a compilation of all the times that he denounces, going back to 2000. There's over 20 times he has specifically denounced white supremacy and those in those groups.
Beth Demme (36:33):
He's also said that he doesn't know David Duke and he's also said that he not going to distance himself from anybody. He said that in the primary for 2016. He said he wasn't going to distance himself from David Duke.
Daniel Kuykendall (36:46):
He's not the most articulate man.
Beth Demme (36:48):
Daniel Kuykendall (36:49):
I think we can all agree on that. He is not the most articulate man. But if you take all the evidence together, there's a certain pattern that arises. Whereas you can take individual circumstances where you can say he should have answered that a lot better. In the debates, when asked if he'd denounce white supremacy, he said, sure. Now, he could have had a much better answer like he did in many of his speeches where he had much better answers. That was 100% missed opportunity for him. He just said, sure. But he's already answered that question to the press many, many times. And the video evidence is very clear online when it comes to that situation.
Beth Demme (37:37):
I think that you're giving him the benefit of the doubt in ways that I'm not willing to and that you're willing to say, oh, he misspoke or he could have been more articulate. And I'm saying he's saying exactly what he really means. And when he says, oh, those are shithole countries, he's making a statement there that I attribute to racism.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:56):
Ultimately, we're just disagreeing on the subject. I think we can all look at news sources and we can all look at the same resources. I think we could both draw the opposite conclusions. I think that's what makes us Americans and we have our own brains, or humans, and we can just draw different conclusions, because I can read all the news sources, and I could still know the facts that I know in my whole being that he's a danger for our country, which we'll get into in just a second. I'll let you respond in just a second.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:30):
But what I wanted to say is something that Daniel highly relies on, and I think we all need to highly rely on is new sources, safe new sources, reliable new sources and various new sources. As we're talking about this, it's not really a heated back and forth because you both want to have the clear information without talking in ignorance without knowing what these sources say. I think that's a huge point, whether you're on one side or the other, I don't think that matters. It's how do we educate ourselves. So Daniel, I want to find out from you, what are the news sources you rely on and how do you get a balanced viewpoint?
Daniel Kuykendall (39:13):
So, a lot of times when I discover something new, it's usually from the news, it's from a headline and then I read into the article. A lot of a lot of articles I notice they have a sensational headline that gets you to click because they want the ad views. And then the first several paragraphs are just follow up on that sensational headline. And then at the bottom of the article is usually where you get closer to the original facts.
Daniel Kuykendall (39:40):
And so what I'll do is, I see that, I'm like, oh, that's interesting. And then if they quote, let's say, a Trump quote, they mention a Trump quote, then I'll go to the original Trump speech and watch the entire speech. This takes a lot of time to do this kind of research. And so I'll compare what the article has to say to what Trump said and how I interpret that. Beth understands this very clearly because of your background with religion and being a pastor. There is the original text of the Bible and then there are different sects of religion and different pastors that interprets that text. Some may share the same interpretation, others may differ. And so there's contention between different religious denominations.
Daniel Kuykendall (40:29):
So, really, I mean, all it is is just when you hear something and it affects you in an emotional way or on a logical plane, then I strongly encourage you to go to the source, read the source, make your own interpretation. I don't like much of what's available in the news based on them trying to tell you how to feel or how to think. And that goes for conservative and liberal news outlets. Always go to the source and make your own interpretation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:05):
All right. So Beth, same question for you. What news sources do you rely on and how do you get that balanced viewpoint?
Beth Demme (41:11):
I'm probably more willing to trust news sources than it sounds like Daniel is because I would never take the time to go back and watch an entire Trump speech or entire Trump rally. For one, I just wouldn't give him that much time. My mind is so made up that it's not a valuable use of my time. I rely on the New York Times and The Washington Post and the Guardian. Those are my go to news sources. I do use Apple News, so every once in a while there'll be something from another news source. But the ones that I really, I seek out, oh, and NPR. So I'm thinking really about the political podcasts that I listen to. And then I listen to 538, which is nonpartisan, which is really just reporting on polls and things.
Beth Demme (41:58):
But the reason that I'm willing to trust those reporters is because they have made a profession out of listening and investigating and asking good questions. I am troubled by this sort of, well, actually, I mean, President Trump has really said this, he has really devalued the Fourth Estate, he's really devalued what the press brings to us. And they have access to people I will never have access to. They're standing with Mark Meadows when the President is diagnosed with Coronavirus. They're the ones who Mark Meadows pulls to the side and says, by the way, this is really serious, his oxygen level dropped. Mark is never going to have that conversation with me. But he's going to have it with them because that's their profession. And so, I trust them to ask questions and I do read those articles and I take them seriously.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:52):
I'm going to say a statement and I'd like you to tell me whether you agree or disagree and why. So I'm going to propose it to Beth, and then I'm going to propose it to Daniel. Beth, Trump is dangerous for this country.
Beth Demme (43:03):
I agree. I think that President Trump has been dangerous for the country because he has devalued the media. And so I think that he's created a distrust of news sources in general, which has created room for more propaganda and for false news sites. And for those who would want to influence our election using clickbait type headlines to be more influential than actually reliable news sources. I think he's dangerous for our country because he's lowered our status internationally, which I think makes us weaker because we don't have the same kind of relationships with our allies that we did. I think he has made us weaker by not doing enough to manage coronavirus so that we are continuing to deal with unacceptable numbers of infections and deaths. I think it's dangerous for our country to have the amount of debt that we have.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:53):
So would you have said in the past that x candidate, whichever one you didn't vote for, was dangerous for our country? Is this a new statement that you think Trump is dangerous for our country but you hadn't previously?
Beth Demme (44:09):
Yeah. And I also think that he's dangerous because of the amount of self-dealing that he does and the way that he's really turned the government towards his own interests. And so, a popular campaign slogan in 2016 was to drain the swamp. And it's like, he hasn't drained the swamp, he just has molded it to his own advantages.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:26):
Well, you didn't vote for Obama, correct?
Beth Demme (44:29):
That is correct.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:29):
Did you think he was dangerous for our country?
Beth Demme (44:31):
I did not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:32):
Did you think at the time he was dangerous for a country, and then once he was president, did you think he was dangerous?
Beth Demme (44:36):
I never once thought that he was dangerous for our country.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:40):
And why didn't you vote for him?
Beth Demme (44:42):
Now when I vote, it's like I am voting against President Trump. I guess it would have been the election in 2008 and the election of 2012, I was not really voting against President Obama, I was really voting for John McCain, I was voting for Mitt Romney. They had policies that I agreed with. They were small government, they were low debt. Those were policies that I agreed. They had reasonable immigration policies. Those were things that I could support.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:05):
So Daniel, same question for you. Trump is dangerous for our country.
Daniel Kuykendall (45:09):
I disagree wholeheartedly. Now, I will amend that statement and say that he is the least presidential president that we have ever had. And that could go down to the drain the swamp statements. That is something that a lot of people don't like, is having career politicians that are using their position and influence. The distrust of the media, clickbait has become the primary source of revenue for these companies based on the ad revenue. And who is telling us that Trump is dangerous? It's primarily the media. Trump has done some absolutely amazing things. I've become a fan of Trump. He's some peace deals in the Middle East that hasn't been done. On a racial standpoint, I don't think he's dangerous. I think he's great. He's getting a lot of black support. On peace, he's bringing our troops home. He's making peace deals that none of us thought possible. And whether they work out or not, I have no idea. But the fact that he is even getting some of these countries to talk to each other is insane.
Daniel Kuykendall (46:26):
So no, I don't I don't think he's dangerous at all. I think he is doing a much better job than what I could have possibly imagined. And he's a much more moderate candidates for the conservative and Republican side. And he's doing things that I believe that both sides should be extremely happy about.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:44):
So Beth, we've come to the end here. I'm curious, do you think that, how do you feel after this conversation?
Beth Demme (46:53):
A little bit dirty?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:55):
Why is that?
Beth Demme (46:57):
I'm feeling less like there's something to be gained by these conversations than I would have thought at the beginning.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:04):
Can you elaborate on that?
Beth Demme (47:05):
Because I don't feel like I gained anything from it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:08):
So I guess the question we propose at the beginning is, can a conservative liberal had an honest conversation? Do you think we answered that? Did we have an honest conversation, number one?
Beth Demme (47:18):
Yes, I think that we had an honest conversation, I'm just not ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:22):
And then the next follow up, is there a reason for a conservative and liberal to have an honest conversation?
Beth Demme (47:29):
I'm not sure there is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:30):
I think that's kind of where you seem to be is, what's the point of having this conversation. And do you have that answer?
Beth Demme (47:38):
No, I don't think it has a point.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:40):
Okay. So Daniel, I will propose the same question to you. I actually will add something to this, so, I want to hear both of you guys first, and then I'll be third. So Daniel, question for you, do you think, number one, a liberal and conservative can have an honest conversation based on today?
Daniel Kuykendall (47:55):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:55):
Yes. Awesome. Great, succinct. Number two, do you think there's a reason for a liberal and a conservative to have an honest conversation?
Daniel Kuykendall (48:04):
100%. I feel like there were gains made today. For one, you brought up some points that I need to do additional research on, where I can evaluate my particular position on certain things, particularly in the border situation. Nobody's going to change anybody's mind with a direct conversation. So I don't feel either of our positions changed after this conversation, but it may have had an influence on the way we perceive things or the way we, after additional research, how we may stand on a particular subject. So I think it's very beneficial to have this kind of conversation because it gives us somewhere to go.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:49):
So I'm going to go ahead and answer the question, too. I think we obviously have answered the question, can a liberal and conservative have an honest conversation? Yes, we did it, we're civil. Do we feel great afterwards? Maybe not. But we had the conversation. Do I think there's a reason for conservatives and liberals to have a honest conversation? And I absolutely do, because the moment we say it's not, is the moment we continue to get divided and divided and divided.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:18):
I have conservative friends, and it's hard. It's hard to have conversations when people don't agree, because then you're just kind of like, we're not going to agree on this. That's how you end it is, you're right, we're not going to agree on this. And it's just like, I want people to agree with me, I want to have the same views as people. It feels good when you have something in common. When I find out somebody is a Lego fan, I'm like, yes, then we have something in common, like who doesn't love that? And I agree with Daniel that we're not, if we change your views in this conversation, you weren't very strong in your views to start with. I don't think you're going to change someone's views by just having an hour long conversation with them.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:58):
But by having these conversations, these tough conversations with Daniel and my conservative friends, I can see where they're coming from. It doesn't mean I agree with where they're coming from but I can see where they're coming from and it helps me understand the other side, not convert me to the other side, but it helps me see that. But for me, it's something that I know going in. I don't try to get into a conversation about politics unless I'm ready for that, if it's someone that has opposite views for me. And there's times where I've told Daniel, he'll start a political conversation, and I'll be like, nope, we're done. Here's a picture of my Greyhound. That's our relationship. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying, and also, if you have a friend like that, set that boundary, let them know, it's not always okay to have this conversation with me. I'll let you know the time and the place.
Daniel Kuykendall (50:52):
Conversations are extremely important, and if we deny ourselves the ability to talk with an opposing viewpoints and question our own conclusions and our own opinions, it's extremely detrimental and will only further the echo chambers that we exist in.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (51:17):
Man, that was good. But I feel like I really need a tea now. How about you, Beth?
Beth Demme (51:21):
Yeah, I could definitely go for a cup of coffee.
Daniel Kuykendall (51:25):
I still love you, Beth.
Beth Demme (51:26):
Thank you. Same, totally the same.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (51:30):
We announced this on the last podcast, but we have created a page called Buy Me a Coffee.
Beth Demme (51:34):
Well, it's because I love coffee, that's why we did it.
Daniel Kuykendall (51:36):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (51:41):
You can go to buymecoffee.com, we have a link below. And you can buy us a coffee or you can join our membership where you will get weekly emails from us with, weekly posts from us about some behind the scenes, the PDFs of our questions for reflection and more. So you can check that out and we'll have some behind the scenes. We'll show you how we have Daniel set up on our show today.
Beth Demme (52:07):
Yeah, we're gonna expand the podcast experience with buymeacoffee.com.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:15):
So Daniel, again, you are our first second time guest.
Beth Demme (52:21):
Right. Right. True.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:24):
So we're very excited to say that I think. I'll ask Beth later, I'm not sure she's excited about it.
Beth Demme (52:30):
I am, I am. It's all good.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:31):
That is not her fake face at all. I love it. So Daniel, we want to thank you so much for being on the show again. And we may have you again for a third episode. We'll see. We'll see how it goes.
Beth Demme (52:42):
Daniel Kuykendall (52:43):
Are you going to ask me about a book or TV series that I've been watching?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:48):
No, actually, because we asked you that, oh, maybe he's prepped.
Daniel Kuykendall (52:52):
I have a new one.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (52:53):
You prepped. Okay, then I'll ask you. Yes, so what is your favorite TV show, book or podcast right now?
Daniel Kuykendall (52:58):
The Expanse. It's a sci-fi. Does a really good job of handling human nature, which is why I absolutely love sci-fi. It's a book series first and now a TV series that is available on Amazon Prime. But the book series is fantastic. I think it got seven or eight books. So if you really want to dive deep into a book, it's the best series I can recommend. I absolutely love it, my wife loves it. Everybody that's read it, loves it. It's great.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (53:28):
That is a high recommendation if I ever heard one.
Beth Demme (53:31):
Excellent. So if you love sci-fi, have you been watching Lovecraft Country?
Daniel Kuykendall (53:35):
I haven't. It keeps popping up.
Beth Demme (53:38):
So good. I can't recommend it enough. I'm going to watch it again and I don't ever do that. I'm going to watch it a second time because I think there's a lot I didn't understand as I was just trying to figure out what's happening.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (53:48):
Is it a show?
Beth Demme (53:48):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (53:49):
Beth Demme (53:50):
it's on HBO, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (53:51):
Okay. HBO. Okay, there you go. All right, and Daniel, how can people find you on, just find you, not your address of your home, but online, or if they want to get some more conservative views from you, where would they find that?
Daniel Kuykendall (54:05):
So if you want to check out some of my photography and video work, Instagram @Kplus9, K-P-L-U-S-9. It's a great way to check that out. I do a lot of commercial work and modeling work there. And then on the Survival Summit side, which is all about self reliance and learning how to survive, is The Survival Summit. So it's the Survival Summit, the web page as well as Instagram, Twitter, all the other goodies out there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (54:37):
Awesome. Well, thank you again, Daniel.
Daniel Kuykendall (54:39):
I loved it. And I hope we can do this again.
Beth Demme (54:42):
Same, for sure. Exactly.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (54:47):
At the end of each episode we end with questions for reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between, and you can find a PDF version on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (54:58):
Number one, why do you it's difficult for people with different political views to have honest, healthy conversations? Number two, do you currently have tools to use when you're talking with someone who has an opposite viewpoint? Have you gotten any new ideas or tools today? Number three, do you tend to dismiss people who disagree with you? Why? Number four, are you open to having friends with opposite viewpoints? Why or why not? And number five, what does it mean to you to be an informed voter? How do you know if your news sources are trustworthy?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (55:39):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast. Thank you for joining us.