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Mind Your Mandates | Ciaran O’Connor, John Wood, Jr., Alma Cook, & Mónica Guzmán


Ready to take on the COVID-19 divide? In this special roundtable edition of our podcast, two red and two blue Braver Angels leaders tackle big questions about vaccines and vaccine mandates. How do the left and right help and hurt America’s struggle against the pandemic? Are President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates tough love or bad medicine? Featuring John Wood, Jr. (national ambassador), Alma Cook (music ambassador), Ciaran O’Connor (CMO), and Mónica Guzmán (director of digital and storytelling).

Also in this episode: John Wood, Jr. lays out his vision for the upcoming launch of the John Wood, Jr. Show, Alma explains the “Lindy Effect,” Mónica dishes on why her cooking no longer sucks, and Ciaran shares a message for Nikki Minaj. 

What tough topic should we tackle next month? Email to share your thoughts!

Ready for the launch of the John Wood Jr. Show? Subscribe on YouTube here:  

Twitter: @braverangels, @moniguzman, @ciaranjoconnor, @JohnRWoodJr, @HearAlma

Listen or watch the podcast below. You can also find it on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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8 thoughts on “Mind Your Mandates | Ciaran O’Connor, John Wood, Jr., Alma Cook, & Mónica Guzmán”

  1. Ciarin, please do not repeatedly move towards and away from your camera while speaking…it is very distracting. Also using the term “conspiracy theories” regarding certain thoughts and ideas is, in itself, pejorative.

  2. Disappointed that all four participants were pro-vaccine, and disappointed to hear vaccine resisters referred to disrespectfully and dismissed as “conspiracy theorists” and “utterly stubborn and close-minded.”
    Seems like in this case, Braver Angels is only committed to examining assumptions and listening to the “other” perspective when sitting in an echo chamber.
    I’d like to see BA do better.
    How about extending respect to those whom you dismiss as “conspiracy theorists,” and inviting them to the fishbowl…?

  3. Janice C. Mendel

    I feel the folks on this program are not being real. The people who are upset with those who are not vaccinated are afraid of the Virus. We need people to be vaccinated whether they are Red or Blue. The commentators completely ignore the fact that Trump supporters are almost all unvaccinated and that is a problem.
    Yes we need to talk to one another but let’s be real The virus is not going away without our getting 80% + of population vaccinated. The arguments were superficial and not really supported by the medical facts or the actual facts regarding the virus.
    Sorry but really a waste of time.

    1. Erica Etelson

      Janice, what I heard them saying is that vaccine proponents will be more effective in their efforts to get more of the population vaccinated if they show more empathy and less judgment toward the hold-outs. As of late August, half of the people who voted for Trump were vaccinated so, while it’s true that this is a lower % than the country as a whole, it’s also true that many of them are vaccinated and those that are not are not necessarily refusing out of loyalty to Trump. Some are, some aren’t, and I see it as my job to learn what an individual’s reasons are and then speak to them as best I can.

  4. Outstanding conversation! Thank you to all the panelists for their candor and willingness to listen to each other. Bravo!

  5. great until the comments on commenting on what the blue side says and does from Monica: Seems to contradict the entire premise of this discussion. Complains and criticizes blue communication or messages in a way that sounds just as divisive as that which you are trying to avoid. Easy to complain and point fingers. Harder to communicate in “I” statements.

  6. Leslie Yeargers

    Hearing John speak about the inability to know and metabolize all the information out there made me think that you should invite David Fuller from Rebel Widom on the show. Rebel Wisdom does an entire series on Sensemaking that addresses exactly what John is talking about regarding the volumes of information and how to make sense of it. Also, consider inviting Daniel Schmachtenberger on to discuss public trust. Also, invite Arnold and Amy Mindell on to talk about Deep Democracy and Worldwork. They offer wonderful, process oriented approaches to healing the divide. To me, you and the folks I’ve mentioned seem to have the same underlying missions and it would be great to see you all collaborate more.

  7. Erica Etelson

    I think Monica hit the nail on the end with one of the most important — and challenging– aspects of dialogue across lines of difference: Stop blaming the other side. I see a lot of Blues unwilling to stop blaming (or worse: grave-dancing) b/c they don’t know any other way of speaking their truth that doesn’t involve blame and revenge. And the blame/revenge narrative is constantly reinforced on media, social media, in casual conversations with fellow Blues, etc. It has reached a fevered pitch and is seen as the correct and righteous approach in the eyes of influence leaders.

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