It’s been a contentious year so far, to say the least. Our political differences have never seemed more stark and common ground is hard to find. How do we work towards that common ground with our political opposites? Is the country hopelessly divided, or is there reason to hope? Dr. Jennifer K. Thompson is joined by Jordan Balshek this week, co-author of the new book Union: A Democrat, a Republican and a Search for Common Ground, to discuss his road trip across the country to find common ground. Jordan and his co-author Chris are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and they traveled together through 44 states, meeting people from all walks of life, to discover the state of our union.

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Show Notes:

Union: A Democrat, a Republican and a Search for Common Ground – By Jordan Blashek and Chris Haugh

Habits of a Free Mind – Civil Squared Podcast with Pamela Paresky

You can keep up with Jordan and Chris’s journeys and other events related to the book (including Zoom events with people they met on their travels) on their website.

About our guest:

Jordan Blashek is a businessman, military veteran, and writer from Los Angeles, California. After college, Jordan spent five years in the US Marine Corps as an infantry officer, serving two combat tours overseas. He holds degrees from Yale Law School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Princeton University. Jordan is based in New York, where he invests in entrepreneurial efforts to grow the American middle class as part of Schmidt Futures, a new philanthropic venture created by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.

In the year before Donald Trump was elected president, Jordan, a Republican Marine, and Chris Haugh, a Democrat from Berkeley, formed an unlikely friendship. Over the months, Jordan and Chris’s friendship blossomed not in spite of but because of their political differences. So they decided to hit the road in search of reasons to strengthen their bond in an era of strife and partisanship.

Union is a three-year adventure story that takes readers to forty-four states and along nearly twenty thousand miles of road to discover where the American experiment stands today. Jordan and Chris go from a Trump rally in Phoenix and the tear-gas-soaked streets outside; to the decks of a lobster trawler off the coast of Portland, Maine; to jazz clubs near the French Quarter of New Orleans; to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where former addicts painstakingly put their lives back together; to a state prison near Detroit, where inmates grapple with their imminent return to society.

A road narrative, a civics lesson, and an unforgettable window into one powerful friendship, Union will give readers an answer to one of the most pressing questions of our time: How far apart are we, really?