A radical feminist, a President Trump-supporting conservative, a liberal married to a Republican and an independent who leans to the left all walk into a South Bay bar and begin a conservation.
You would expect turmoil, but Hermosa Beach's Rose Medina hopes to change the vitriol that has divided the nation by bringing four diverse views to “An American Conversation Podcast.”
“We wanted to create something where we could be role models to anyone in the U.S., to show how people from different backgrounds and ideas and philosophies and religions can get along,” Medina said. “We can joke around, disagree, argue and basically—at the end of the day—just be friends like the four of us. We all think differently. We all come from different parts of the country.”
Medina enlisted the help of comedian/actress and fellow stay-at-home mom and Redondo Beach resident Leland Heflin, who was the only one who answered an ad to join a podcast.
Heflin, who is a Democrat married to a Republican, said when she met Medina, they respected and enjoyed each other's viewpoints. It helped that she is from Washington, D.C., where everyone talks politics.
"When I moved out here I thought it was so weird because people would say, 'Oh no, we don’t talk about politics, not at dinner, not at parties, not anytime," Heflin said. "I thought that was ridiculous because that’s how I grew up. It didn’t matter what you were you went to a party, that’s what you talked about.”
A number of Republicans have been on the podcast including Manhattan Beach's David Palombo, who Medina met at Ercoles and had a two hour conversation/interview with her about politics, culture and the world in general.
Palombo said he wanted to join the conversation because he bought into the concept that people can “disagree very strongly and not get bent out of shape.”
“Especially in society today, in the era of Trump, people are really angry and hateful of each other,” Palombo said, adding he's a strong Trump supporter and Medina is the opposite.
“We can agree to disagree, but we can get along and kind of see the humor in it," Palombo said.
There are so many examples of families being angry at each other because of politics, said Palombo, who joined the podcast as a regular because he wanted to be part something useful.
"People are hearing these different points of view, sometimes they are radical, sometimes they are conservative," Palombo said.
Hermosa Beach resident Jeff Capri is the new guy to the podcast and a traveling stand-up comic. He met Medina while teaching a comedy class in Redondo Beach.
Capri calls himself a “patriot, registered independent” who wanted to join the podcast to add a “positive voice.”
“I do a lot of shows oversees for our U.S. military, since 1999," said Capri. "I bring a perspective of that world. I definitely lean left, but I hope I'm informed.”
Born and raised in New York City, Medina is a first generation Puerto Rican and calls herself “very east coast” and a “radical feminist” and a socialist Democrat in the mold of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
“I've always been radical," said Medina. "I became a social worker so I advocated for women rights.”
As a certified social worker in New York and Los Angeles, Medina advocated for people who need a voice, such as rape survivors and victims of domestic violence. She left that stressful career to be a stay-at-home mom.
“I also like to laugh and I think laughter brings people together,” Medina said.
Medina added, “I’m the kind of person who likes to argue and debate politics, so I was noticing people were not getting along and they were getting angry at me and they weren’t listening to me. I felt I was listening to them.”
When Heflin showed interest in the podcast, Medina said it was “like winning the lottery.”
“She walked in, she was a ball of energy, a ball of beauty, knowledge, everything, she walked in and all we did was crack up laughter for about two hours. And we clicked. I thought this is my partner.”
Heflin has been in the entertainment industry for years as an actress and comedian. While Medina and Heflin have been the core of “An American Conversation Podcast,” said they have been through a “couple different Republicans.”
“They were very forceful, it’s this way or no way, which my husband’s the same way,” Heflin said.
Palombo, who describes himself as an average white male, late 50's, in his second marriage, is the latest Republican punching bag, but he takes it in stride.
“I refuse to become a liberal no matter how persuasive they are,” Palombo said.
“David is out of his mind, but that doesn't keep me from liking him,” Capri said.
Not surprisingly political topics become the most heated conversations on the podcast.
An episode on impeaching the president or “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” shows how split the four podcasters are on these topics. Topics such as gun control and the homelessness also have drawn heated exchanges.
“I believe politics should be personal but not volatile,” Medina said. “You can say one thing and I can say another, hopefully we can meet in the middle.”
But Heflin believes “you don't even have to meet in the middle.”
“You can have one view one way and one view the other and still go ahead and say your view and not be insulted and treat the other person like sh**,” Heflin said.
“We don't insult each other, we have completely different views and take shots at each other along the way.... but it comes full circle,” Palombo said. “We agree to disagree.”
Their beliefs also diverge when it comes to the future of the country and if those entrenched on the other side of the aisle will ever be able to see eye-to-eye.
“I think this whole madness will end when he goes to jail,” Medina, the radical liberal, said. “He's a criminal, in the public media they have proven it. The fighting is going to end, disenfranchised white males might be a little bit angry, but they'll know they will benefit from Warren, even a Biden or Bernie.”
Heflin, a Democrat, believes Trump will be re-elected next year.
“He's already the president, he has the foot in the door, it's going to happen again and we are going to have another four years," Heflin said. "It's going to be anger, disappointment, resentment and we're going to keep building up and more and more division between the masses.”
Palombo, the Republican, believes Democrats have “fabricated outrage” when it comes to “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and he feels the divisiveness will end when the Democrats agree Trump is a “legitimate” president.
“Whenever the haters decide it's going to end and just say, 'You know what? He isn't the devil, he isn't the most corrupt guy to walk the face of the Earth.' He's just a guy who does things differently and yeah you disagree with some things,” Palombo said.
Guests of "An American Conversation Podcast" have included California State Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, comedian Jimmy Shin, and homicide Det. Tim Miley, among others. Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand was a guest on their latest podcast that was taped on Nov. 26.
Medina said eventually the podcasters want to travel to different bars across the country to tape the broadcast, hopefully with the help of sponsors.
For more information, visit americanconversationpodcast.com.