As the march for gun reform in downtown Colorado Springs was winding down this weekend, 91.5 KRCC noticed something a little bit unexpected. Seated at a table in Acacia Park on the periphery of the rally were a man and woman wearing hats that immediately betrayed their political differences.
Zach Rose, a Trump supporter, was wearing a red, "Make America Great Again" hat. Deirdre Greevy was wearing a pink knit "nasty woman pussy hat," as she called it, in the style worn by women protesting the Trump administration at marches across the country in recent years.
Nevertheless, there they were, calmly discussing the root causes of gun violence in America, and challenging each other respectfully when they disagreed. It was a display of bipartisan collegiality that seemed to defy the intense polarization of our political climate.
"Four women over there said to me, 'I see your hat, there's a guy over there with a 'Make America Great Again' hat. I go, 'I'm going to go talk to him!'" Greevy explained. "I said, 'I'm not going over there to fight him or anything, I want to see his point of view, we're going to get along!' And we're fine. I can appreciate, especially because he's young, his perspective, and I think he appreciates my wisdom."
The two estimated they had been speaking for nearly an hour. For Rose, it was exactly this type of exchange that he had been seeking when he decided to attend the rally in the first place.
"I wanted to come out here, and I wanted to have positive, good conversations that brought up a lot of topics that hopefully people weren't thinking about," he said, "and we can come to a better conclusion on both sides, instead of one side feeling this way and one side feeling another."
On the issue of gun violence and what should be done to address it, the two emphasized different approaches to the problem. For Rose, the biggest concern is not guns, but our society's failure to teach young people, "how to deal with different emotions, how to deal with adversity, how to deal with different things that happen in life."
For her part, Greevy said she agreed that was an issue. However, she pointed to weak background checks for gun purchases as the big problem that needs to be addressed.
Yet, despite their different ideas, "We agree," said Greevy. "We're on the same side of this whole issue, our way of getting there is just different. We don't want children dead in schools, we don't want these atrocities happening. Zach agrees, and he's got very good, valid points, from his perspective as a Republican, and I respect that."
Listen to the conversation in the audio player above.