New Rules of Engagement: Five Strangers From Kansas And Missouri Being Honest About Honesty

On March 11, 29 strangers from across Missouri and around Kansas City met on Zoom in an event hosted by Missouri Humanities and KCUR. They gathered to see if — in these dramatically polarized times — regular people can actually have a civil dialogue.

These conversations are some of nine different breakout groups recorded as part of an event hosted by Missouri Humanities and KCUR. We’ll listen in on a few of the participants.

Angela Caruso-Yahne is a US military veteran and a democrat. The LGBTQ community helped shape Angela’s political outlook.

Kristen Kessler of Johnson County works in communications. Kristen is a mother, a Democrat and wants to find common ground while challenging her own beliefs.

Cliff Guy describes himself as a mainline Protestant and Republican and hopes to bridge the political divide by seeking respectful conversations that honor differences and seek commonality.

Dustin Hawkins is a former Catholic with no party affiliation. Hawkins is also an electrician who is pro-union.

John Halloran of St. Louis works in the medical sphere. John, a Republican, tells KCUR that he’s not “seeking to change anyone’s mind about anything” and that “finding common ground” was his aim in these discussions.

These five people from seemingly different walks of life, but found they have more in common than previously imagined when asked, “Do you feel like you can be honest with others about your beliefs or values?”


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