The Suburban Women Problem

Connecting The Dots (with Alex Vindman)

June 15, 2022 Red Wine & Blue Season 2 Episode 24
The Suburban Women Problem
Connecting The Dots (with Alex Vindman)
Show Notes Transcript

Today, Rachel Vindman’s husband Alex joins us to discuss the January 6 hearings. Rachel and Alex, along with Jasmine Clark and Amanda Weinstein, chat about what’s been happening at the hearings and why they’re so important. Alex answers some listener questions from our Facebook group SWEEP and at the end of the episode, Alex even gives his own Toast to Joy.

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For a transcript of this episode, please email theswppod@redwine.blue.

The Suburban Women Problem - Season 2, Episode 24

Rachel Vindman: Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us. I'm Rachel Vindman.

Jasmine Clark: I'm Jasmine Clark.

Amanda Weinstein: I'm Amanda Weinstein.

Rachel: And you're listening to The Suburban Women Problem. Today, we'll be talking about the January 6th hearings and we brought my husband Alex back on the pod to help us sort out everything that's going on. 

Amanda: Hi Alex. Welcome back. 

Jasmine: Hey Alex. Good to see you again. 

Alex Vindman: Yo, what up ladies? 

Amanda: Hahaha. 

Rachel: We actually just saw each other recently. 

Amanda: We did! 

Rachel: So we're recording this on Tuesday, June 14th, after the first two hearings but before hearing three through seven. And actually I think the third hearing has been delayed, we don't know why, but let's start with an overview. What exactly are these hearings and what are we hoping to get out of them? 

Amanda: They seem like a little produced mini series that is dramatic. And I can't wait for each episode to come out. And if you're not watching, you are not in the know, it's like the Schitt’s Creek for policy and politics. 

Jasmine: It's really interesting because that's the way it's actually listed on, like, my DVR. If you are watching it, like if you're streaming it, it's like “episode two of six” and I'm like, yeah, this is real. But it's a big deal. So it's not drama. I mean, this is real life. Like this is like, you know, reality. 

Amanda: It's pretty dramatic though. 

Jasmine: Yeah. Oh yeah. Definitely. Definitely. 

Alex: So I've been involved in some of the background briefs from the subcommittee as well as–

Rachel: Is that because you're part of the deep state? Ha.

Alex: Uh, no. And also I have spoken to the committee some months back they asked me to provide., I dunno, commentary, testimony. I never was under oath, so it was probably a background there too. But in the background briefings from the subcommittee, they basically said, you know, this is supposed to kind of make the case for the fact that this was a conspiracy. This was broader than just some radicals attacking January 6th. Tie it to, make the case that it's tied to an enterprise originating from Donald Trump. And, and paint the picture, you know, that he was the driver. And that kind of resonates with me because of course in the first impeachment, he was the driving force behind the corrupt scheme and an investigation on the Bidens and to in a way kind of enable Putin to launch this war that we're experiencing right now.

So I think the, if the committee is able to reach… you know, the Democrats are converted. If they're able to reach some of Republican moderates, some of the independents, and carry this message. I, I think that's a step towards accountability and, and maybe eventually towards some healing. 

Amanda: I mean, we thought January 6th was bad, but what the hearings are doing is showing that it was even worse than we thought. Right. And it's tying it to a lot of Republicans, not just these crazies, like you said. And I think that is, man, prime time drama. 

Rachel: I wasn't, I wasn't part of the briefings from the committee, no one called me to give me a private briefing, which is shocking–

Amanda: Me either. But they should’ve!

Rachel: Yeah. I mean, I think we shoulda called all of us actually, but one of the things, I guess, that I was a little surprised is they didn't just jump into January 6th. I mean, in the first one, of course they showed the dramatic video. We should talk about that. But then in the second one yesterday, it's more, “oh, by the way, everyone knew this Big Lie was just a bunch of baloney.

Alex: And they did that very effectively. And Fox carried it yesterday. Fox News, which was one of the more interesting aspects. 

Amanda: I think so too. 

Alex: When the Thursday prime time hearing, yeah, that was not covered. It was Tucker Carlson providing commentary. This one, they felt some sort of need to… they couldn't sit this one out. The question is if there's another prime time segment somewhere along the road, like the finale, episode six, right? Whether it gets covered. 

Amanda: I think it will. Cause here's what I was thinking. We are all talking about it, right? It is literally like the show everyone is talking about. So if you're not airing it, then they wanna see what everyone's talking about. Then they have to walk on over to MSNBC or CNN. And that is a huge offense to Fox news.

Jasmine: Exactly. Like their viewers still wanna see what's being said, they want to believe that their viewers don't wanna know what's going on. And that's just not the case. And so if they're not showing it, guess what? Their viewers are like, “oh, I'm gonna figure out what's going on. So I'm gonna go look somewhere else.” And even if they don't agree with the commentators or if they don't agree with, you know the, the channel and, you know, the normal news that's on that channel, they're still driving people away from Fox toward these other news outlets. 

And so Fox probably like, rethought that after…. I think the viewership, they said that it was almost like 10 times more than what we saw with the impeachment hearings. So people are tuning in and that's just on TV. That doesn't even include like all the streaming and everything else. So people wanna know what's going on. And I think Fox probably made a business decision and said, you know what, actually, that was stupid of us to not air this. We should probably air this. Otherwise our people are gonna get their information from somewhere else. And that's the worst place for Fox News watchers to get their information is from someone somewhere else. What if they don't come back? Or what if they're like, oh my gosh, these people are talking about something, I had no idea these things were happening. 

Amanda: But they're kind of like stuck between a rock and a hard place. So now they're airing it, and now they have their own people, like Ivanka Trump and Bill Barr, right, saying things against January 6th or saying against, you know, the narrative that was told about the Big Lie on Fox News and being told from their own people to their own listeners.

Alex: What must be politically powerful is the, the fact that… these are Liz Cheney, Republican stalwart, Attorney General Barr and all these insiders, Trump insiders, campaign insiders, that are delivering his damning testimony that I think is already starting to play out. Sometimes you could backtrack from, from outcomes to, to kind of perceive what decisions were made behind the scenes. And the fact that, you know, you have Brit Hume and other Fox personalities saying that this is, this is impactful, suggesting that, you know, these messages are resonating and that they, they have to pivot to, you know, a slightly different kind of narrative. 

Rachel: I think people are gonna change their minds. I mean, I don't think it's gonna be everyone, but I think some people– in particular, the testimony yesterday. When you see all these people under oath, they knew the truth. They admitted the truth once they were under oath. And I think that was very powerful. But what did, what did you think about the video, Amanda? Because I actually don't… as much as the video was hard to watch, it was emotional, it was well done... I don't think it'll change minds of people who don't want their minds changed. What do you think?

Amanda: No. I saw on Twitter, someone put up a Mark Twain quote that I really liked: “it's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” Right? So the people who have been fooled by the Big Lie, a lot of them aren't gonna change their minds. Even watching the videos and hearing all these, a lot of them aren't gonna change their minds. But I think it will really instill in everyone else, “I don't want the country to be run by the people who have been fooled. And I don't want the people who have been fooled to be picking who our next president is.” Right. So that means we all really need to step up and do something. And I do think it will provide motivation for us all to step up and to show up to the polls. 

Alex: And I think there's the seeds, even if, if they're not gonna turn away from the Big Lie, it's the seed to doubt that have been sewn. And they'll, they'll be a little bit more critical about the information they're getting in the future. 

Amanda: That's true. 

Alex: I'd say in certain ways, politics is a game of inches.

Amanda: Mm-hmm.

Alex: And I would imagine that you know, this, this continues to cleave off numbers from, from Trump and Trumpism.

Jasmine: I mean, I think that's the case all the time though. Right? You know, I think there are certain people who no matter what you say, they have already made up their mind as a justification for why everyone else is lying. There are gonna be people who think this whole thing is a sham. And so there's no video that's really going to sway that opinion for them. If you compare that to being under oath, maybe you might get some people that you didn't get before? I don't know that those same people are still not gonna be swayed. Like I, I don't know. I think maybe you're a little bit more optimistic than I am about that. 

Amanda: I mean, the other thing I was thinking about with like, the videos of January 6th, where it shows the true violence that was happening. And I think, right,, one of the most compelling was the Capital Police Officer Caroline Edwards. Who's talking about when she slipped in blood. The words to me were like, they’re etched in my brain, the things that she said. And she's the exact epitome of like what you would expect to see on Fox, right? Military family, Capital police officer, gorgeous blonde woman. And here she is explaining in all the gory details of the attacks that happened that day. 

Jasmine: Maybe you guys are just more optimistic than I am that people's minds can be changed. 

Amanda: No, I think people on the far right, their minds won't be changed, but I do think there are people in the middle who maybe their minds aren't made up. But they get up and vote cuz they don't want the people who have been fooled and conned to be picking our next leaders. 

Jasmine: I can agree with that. I think there will be some people that are like, “oh God, this is devastating. This is worse than I thought. We have to, I have to do something.” But yeah, I think there's still that– and I don't know the percentage, I wanna feel like it's dwindling– so I'm gonna be very, very conservative and say there's probably like 20% of these Republican primary voters that are like, “I don't care who says it, I don't care how you show it. I don't care what they see. I don't care what someone says.” They are absolutely convinced that the election was stolen. And also, you know, there were 2000 mules in Georgia and all that crap. Like there's nothing that you can do to debunk that for them, because that's their world. And if all of that is wrong, then their world has been a lie and no one wants to wake up and feel like, “oh crap, my world has been a lie.”

Rachel: I say that all the time, Jasmine. I, I think it's so important. I just had lunch yesterday, we dropped off Ellie at camp and we're staying in the area…

Alex: Not because we wanna monitor her every movement or, you know, sneak the camp or anything like that! 

Rachel: Yeah, just to be super clear, haha. But I had, I had lunch with a friend that I met on Twitter. She lives in the area and we were talking about that exact thing, Jasmine, and I think it's really important to talk about it. You have to understand for some people– members of my own family, by the way– changing their minds on some of this stuff creates a true existential crisis. Because it means that a lot of things that they believed and held dear are lies. 

And that's maybe step one and then step two is even scarier, because what if you live in a small community, a rural community, or what if your church is your whole life and it's your social group and, and, and everything? And then you're going against what those people believe. And what do you do? Do you leave or do you just be an outcast? What choice do you have? And again, particularly in places where there's not like a lot of other people to be friends with, if everyone believes this. So I think that's really hard and we can keep talking about it, I think we have to keep talking about it and maybe this doesn't change minds, but I think it's an important thing to do because of something we talk about all the time and that's accountability.

Alex: But adding weight to this argument that you are changing minds, let's just think back to our weekend, you know, a couple weekends ago. Where we spoke to, you know, a Republican staffer, a Republican stalwart, I mean, former military officer, and how firsthand experiencing January 6th had, you know, turned him away from the Republican party and now he was at a Democratic event. I think it's things like that. The committee showing the events, the videos as well as the testimony, and making a persuasive case about it… that does get people to change their minds. It's not gonna be, you know, everybody because they didn't live through it like this gentleman did. He was in Congress at the time of the attack. But it'll be a nice sliver of people. And that's the way that, you know, I think we, we start to heal this country, start peeling away numbers peeling away, support for the Big Lie. Which I think the committee's doing an exceptionally good job on and start peeling numbers away from like this, you know, far right brand of American politics.

Amanda: And I think that's why you have to give credit to Liz Cheney. It is hard to be the one to stand against everyone else that is in your family and your friends and all of the people who you are used to working with, like Liz Cheney did. So for the people who do change their minds, right, rather than scrutinize why and you know, saying “oh, you're just now coming over to the Democratic party?” Let's praise them, at least say, “you know what? I am glad you're standing up. I'm glad you're speaking the truth.” It doesn't mean they're gonna become a progressive hero. But it does mean they did something that needed to be done for our country.

Alex: Yeah. You want principled leadership or values based leadership, which is something that, you know, I've committed myself to advocating for. I think that's, even if there's a policy disagreement with Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, or other Republicans, that is no longer… that's almost a luxury at this point in time. I think that the necessity is about protecting our democracy and kind of like, the American way of life. That's the fundamental. 

Amanda: So I was also thinking with like, with the January 6th stuff, like this shit is now, like we think if we don't think this is gonna affect our communities, it will. Like, to me it's related. Like, “if you don't like the election, go overthrow the government. You don't like a Pride Parade, go start a riot there.”

Jasmine: Yeah. Very, very good point. That's one of the reasons why this is so, so, so important that we do this and that we put this out there and I hope that this is only the beginning of, you know, more action being taken, especially by the DOJ. Because this… just to be honest, we are all moms here. If there is no consequence to an egregious action, then your kid's gonna do it again. There really needs to be some type of consequence to trying to overthrow the government. 

Amanda: Absolutely. And that, and it doesn't just affect DC. Like this will affect our communities and we're seeing it affect our communities. Like, you know, police arresting 31 white nationalists in Idaho. “Anything you don't like, that's fine. Just overthrow it yourself.” Like we could not let this be a norm. This has to have serious consequences. 

Jasmine: Exactly. Especially when you see people running for office across the country on this and wearing it as a badge of honor, like that they are pro January 6th. So I think all of this should be an eye opener. This can't just be about what happened on January 6th. It really has to go beyond that and we really gotta understand that the threat continues. The threat did not end at midnight on January 7th. The threat continues even now today.

Amanda: I mean, and it's like this entitlement, like the world should be for you, right? “You don't like the outcome of the election? Change it, make it what you want. You don't like a Pride Parade? Throw a riot. Like, oh, you don't like that your neighbor has something you don't? Take it.” Right? It totally chips away at the security of all of our communities, all of our households, everyone in our lives. 

Jasmine: Yeah, absolutely. So it all ties together. I think if I could come up with a theme for today's episode, it's like “connecting the dots” and understanding that nothing that has occurred is in a silo and all of it ties together. And so you can't just say, “well, I don't care about this one thing” because not caring about that one thing doesn't mean that these other things that you do care about are not affected. 

Amanda: I mean, so I have a question for you, Alex. So I saw a tweet recently that the January 6th hearings matter more than inflation. And while I don't disagree with that statement, there were, he got a lot of backlash for this statement. In part because you know, he happens to be a man of significant means, and so inflation doesn't matter for him. But for a lot of families out there right now who feel like inflation is chipping away at their buying power and they're struggling every day when they go into the grocery store when they go in the store and they see these higher prices… What would you tell those families about authoritarianism and how letting go of our democracy, slipping into an authoritarian government, how this will affect their families? 

Alex: I guess to me, I tend to be kind of pragmatic and outcomes oriented. And the inflation issue is a really tough nut to crack. That's going to require multiple inputs. It's gonna require, you know, geopolitical adjustments or changes, resolutions. The war in Ukraine for one thing is a pretty significant input to inflation. I think, you know, COVID and the fact that there is just an enormous pent up amount of buying power out there and demand is driving up prices. I think supply chain disruptions, these things are just gonna work themselves out over a longer period of time. And I do believe they are gonna work themselves out. Some of these are artificial as a result of of, you know, Russia's war. Some of them are the result of two years of COVID and pent up buying power and supply chain disruptions. So those, I see, you know, it doesn't necessarily alleviate the burdens to people's pocketbooks, but I see those working themselves out. 

What, what seems to be the, the kind of the more immediate peril is this question about democracy. Because in 2022, if the Republicans somehow seize the house or the house in the Senate, that is going to be a recipe for disaster in terms of just a complete freezing of the administration's ability to deal with these issues. As a matter of fact, I would see folks like McConnell being obstructionist to resolving these issues just so they could seize back the White House in 2024. They don't care about the personal costs or the individual costs to the populace. They just are, are, are power hungry and, and see this as a means to, to achieve an end. And that is a recipe for disaster. That is a recipe for undemocratic and then anti-democratic activities.

And then you wind up in a place where, you know, this is still a leap, don't get me wrong. I think we're still a ways from it. But we wind up in a place like Hungary or Turkey, which were at some points moving in a democratic direction, but party politics, you know, power hungry officials saw utility in undoing the institutions that protect individual rights and individual liberties. And that's a very, very, very hard thing to undo. 

So that sounds– maybe I, I need to break that down, cuz that sounds a little bit too conceptual and kind of too academic. I think we, right now, enjoy, you know, freedoms of speech. We enjoy the ability to go about our lives without fear of persecution or prosecution by powers that are not subject to the rule of law, but use the rule of law to, you know, punish or suppress opposition. So to me, having experienced Russia living there for three years, serving in other places around the world, to me, that's a big concern and a big threat. That's why I think, for me I'm a, I remain a one issue voter, which is democracy. Everything else is a luxury. 

Jasmine: I agree with that. I agree with democracy being so incredibly important. And I can speak to this from the standpoint of having family members who for a while couldn't vote at all. And then having family members who basically had to fight for their right to vote. Like literally it was dangerous for them to vote– even though technically it was legal for them to vote., it was a real danger. And so when I think about that, I think about just how important democracy is to every single other thing. The reason why they had to fight for this right to vote, the reason why for a long time, they didn't even have the right to vote, is because there's power in democracy. There's power in being able to choose who our leaders are. And if we relent, if we give up that power or if somehow that power is stolen away from us to really choose our leaders, then every other issue, literally every other issue– whether that be inflation, whether that be your reproductive rights, whether that be getting a handle on gun violence, whether that be literally anything, the climate, anything that you care about–it starts with your ability to choose people who are going to do the things that you need them to do for you as a, a person in this country. 

And so I'm a hundred percent with you, Alex. Our democracy is kind of like the foundation to which everything else rests. And if we don't have that foundation, what are we gonna do?

Amanda: That's such a good point. All of those freedoms go away without democracy. And that includes our economic freedoms. And I think some people may be making this bargain between authoritarianism and economic security, and that's just not a bargain that's gonna happen. We can lose economic freedoms, you know, some of the freedoms you mentioned Jasmine, by going down this path of authoritarianism. 

So I think this is a good place to transition. We actually asked our Facebook community SWEEP if they had any questions for Alex about the hearings and they came up with some great ones. So we're gonna take a quick break, and when we come back, I'm looking forward to hearing your answers to those questions.

BREAK 

Jasmine: Welcome back everyone. Should we jump into these questions from sweep? And just a reminder sweep is our Facebook group of more than 200,000 women, and it stands for Suburban Women Engaged, Empowered, and Pissed. All right, Alex, are you ready to answer some questions from our SWEEP community? 

Alex: I'm not sure. I'm not sure if I want to run afoul of suburban women that are pissed. 

Rachel: He is ready. 

Amanda: I know, Alex, do you have any experience with answering questions from a woman who is pissed? Haha.

Jasmine: Haha. So here's our first SWEEP question. How do you think so many military personnel were recruited to support Trump when the oath is to the constitution and country and not to the president? That's a good question. 

Alex: Well, I think to me, it's relatively straightforward. You have the commander chief of the armed forces that is you know, the supreme authority for the military chain of command, saying something and he gets the benefit of the doubt, frankly. The fact that this office is is an office that has been occupied by George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, you know… these are folks that are revered. So to me, it seems that he does get the benefit of the doubt and, and the military will listen to that.

Amanda: Yeah, that's a good point. Cause I remember, you know, in the military you're, you're taught like when you're given an order– I mean, first of all, you have to think about if it's an awful order, but when you're given an order from a commander, you follow it. And the president is the commander, like that's part of the military organization.

All right, Alex. So Pence, not Trump, asked the National Guard troops to help defend the capital on January 6th. How exactly does that work? Have Vice Presidents ordered military action before? 

Alex: Vice-presidents don't have the authority to, they're not kind of the national command authority. They're not directly in the chain of command, they're supposed to act in the president's absence. So it's very, very odd and very atypical. It shows that Vice President Pence just felt an acute peril and assessed that the president was not going to be, you know, despite repeated attempts by him and his cabinet to get the president to move on an issue. It seems like he assessed that that wasn't gonna happen and he had to provide the cover for the military to kind of take, take action National Guard to, to roll out and help suppress an insurrection. 

Jasmine: What if he had decided I can't do this? And so nothing ever happened, like, it's pretty scary to me to think that it, it got that far. I don't know, some of these things, like, as they're being rolled out in the hearings, it's blowing my mind. And I think, I think about things like this, like. What if Pence didn't make that call? 

Amanda: I know! And Pence, like, you know, Liz Cheney, no progressive hero! But thank you for what you've done to save democracy. 

Alex: Exactly. It just kind of shows that the, you know, agency individuals have. And the reason they have that agency is because they've been elected into office. And, you know, we've given them the authority to be able to act on our behalf to save democracy. And we need to make sure we elect good people to continue to do that, to protect our democracy, protect our national security. 

Rachel: Absolutely. Yeah. I think even after we saw all the people yesterday poke holes in the Big Lie, then you see how many people have been elected and, or have been elected on the platform of the Big Lie or running on the platform of the Big Lie. Mostly because it's successful. I don't know if they believe it or not. I mean, I can't read people's minds to see if they really believe it. I don't even know if Trump really believed it. I mean, he was certainly made aware that it wasn't true, but I don't know how his brain works… I mean, not very well, but beyond that, I don't know how it works. And I think that, you know, that's the issue. They're running on it because it works, but it continues to be a huge, huge danger to us. 

So here's our next SWEEP question. What connections do you see between the call you reported between Trump and Zelensky, the January 6th insurrection, and the current war in Ukraine? Is there a thread of Russian disinformation that connects all those things? 

Jasmine: This sounds like a dissertation question. 

Alex: Yeah. Okay. So we've got about an hour, right, to– yeah. So to me it's a direct line, frankly. It's a direct line that emboldened and kind of gave permission to Putin to conduct this war. So in that impeachment and those impeachment hearings, my testimony was about the fact that I saw a threat to us, to national security. I saw a threat that Ukraine would come across as not enjoying US support, that elements of our government would put politics ahead of national security and to Putin that's, that's kind of like a shark smelling blood in the water. He saw an enormous amount of opportunity in being able to strike out against Ukraine without fear of a response from the US. 

And that didn't just end, you know, with the first impeachment. Because as a result of that impeachment, Ukraine became radioactive. The Trump administration didn't wanna have anything to do with Ukraine, even though on paper, it sounded like we continued to support him. And even the Biden administration didn't really want to have much to do with him because of the, all the kind of false narratives around Hunter Biden and President Biden's involvement in any corruption, as false as it was, it still made it difficult to engage with him. 

And that carried through all the way through the hours right before, and right after the war, where Trump was saying that Putin was a genius that, you know, how brilliant he was to kind of try to snap up parts of Ukraine. He was encouraged to be able to take this action. He believed that at least half of the US elites, including President Trump, the head of the Republican party, would be there on his side, or at least not be there to impose costs on him. So why wouldn't he take action? I mean, those are catastrophic false assumptions by Putin, but that's what he was acting off of kind of the encouragement from the Republicans.

And you could see the Republican party pivoting really, really hard away from support to Russia. That's where they were headed. That's where a lot of that's where, you know, Tucker Carlson was, that's where Trump was. That's where Pompeo was. That's where two Ron Johnson, all sorts of folks were in that corner.

And the only reason that they start to, to turn away– and Tucker and Trump, not even as hard, they they're still cheerleading for Putin– is because the American public rejected that notion. The fact that Ukrainians fight for freedom and protection of their homes was a powerful call to action, call to arms, and the American public rallied around them. But that's how we ended up where we are, with their Republicans cheerleading for Putin. 

Amanda: That's such a good point. I have a neighbor who used to fly a MAGA flag, and now is flying the Ukrainian flag. Which I was very surprised by, but not all that shocked when you think about how important freedom is to us here in America.

Jasmine: Yeah, absolutely. I think there was a point where people were like, “oh, I was with you all the way to the point of you like cheerleading authoritarianism, like outright being on Putin side.” And then I think there were certain people that were like, “Okay. Yeah, maybe that's the bridge, that's the bridge too far for me.” So, Amanda, I wonder if the person who switched from MAGA to the Ukrainian flag, I wonder if that was their bridge too far. And I hope as we talk throughout the episode about chipping away at the people who are supporting authoritarianism in our country, I hope that, you know, these little things will chip away at the number of people who support this. While also recognizing that there are still some people that just absolutely positively believe that Fox News can do no wrong that Trump can do no wrong. And that if Trump and Fox News say Putin's okay, then maybe Putin can do no wrong. We wanna make sure that those numbers dwindle  the closer and closer we get to election day. Especially, and I hope these hearings as well, help with that. I really do hope that they do because democracy is on the line and as we've already said, we cannot give that up.

Amanda: All right. So we've reached the point in the pod where we like to share our Toast to Joy. Of course I'm glad these hearings are finally happening, but watching them doesn't exactly instill me with a feeling of joy. So let's be intentional and share a moment of joy with each other. And Alex, we'd love to hear what's been bringing you joy this week too. 

But let's start with Jasmine. Jasmine, what's your Toast to Joy today? 

Jasmine: Yeah, y'all are right. There's so much going on that it's like, “oh, where am I finding joy right now?” I guess my Toast to Joy would be to Jada. She's still running track this summer, but she's also decided to do basketball again. So she jumped into another basketball program and immediately just shined on the court. And I don't know, it's like there’s something about watching youth sports and just watching kids blossom. And y'all, if you listen to the pod, you know, I love sports. But I like my youth sports more than I like watching professional or college sports. Because these are kids that are just…. you saw them when they couldn't make a shot and now you see them like shooting and going after the ball and dribbling. And so that's what I've been watching with Jada, just her blossoming as a basketball player. And she's only going to eighth grade, so she's got a long way to go. But if I could find a joyful moment, it was definitely watching her perform despite everything else going on in the world. When she's on the court, she's just out there balling and I love it.

Amanda: Oh, that is so cute. 

Jasmine: All right. So Alex, what's your Toast to Joy this week?

Alex: I would say my Toast to Joy would be the solitude of being on a mountaintop in the remote hills in North Carolina. You know, being able to drop my daughter off at camp and being relatively close, but now staying in this house where there's nobody to be seen and the dogs running around like crazies and, you know, going out and coming back when they want to and spending time with Rachel. Getting a little bit used to that. I think that's been kind of fun. 

Jasmine: Aw. 

Amanda: Every night is date night. So cute. I love that. 

All right. So my Toast to Joy today is about our community spaces. So I feel like something January 6 did was kind of break our sense of community a little bit. And yesterday we were at our park and there's a skate park where it's typically older teenagers and it's kind of the skate crew. And there's kind of this idea from adults that, “Oh, these are, you know, unseemly characters we don't want in our town.” And my little ones love to go watch the skaters skateboard, and we'll take them over there and they'll just sit there and watch them for, if we let 'em, they would watch 'em for, you know, an hour, at least. 

And the skaters are always so kind to our little kids. They will sometimes stop and say hi, and they'll come over and give 'em tips. Like, “Hey, if you want a skateboard, make sure you put on a helmet!” And they are always so kind, and I love the whole skate crew that's there. So my Toast to Joy is about these community spaces and really the work that these community spaces do that we maybe don't often acknowledge that. And what we really need right now is to build that community. So my Toast to Joy is to those community spaces and to the skate park.

Jasmine: We have a skate park in my area too and it's the same. The skaters are really awesome. And honestly look, I'm an adult and I like watching them too. I'm always just mesmerized by the things that they can do on those skateboards, because I tried to skateboard once and–

Amanda: It's not easy!

Jasmine: Yeah. I definitely fell on my butt. And I have not tried again since!

Amanda: And I think the skaters like it, because we are impressed by every little thing they do. We're like, “oh my gosh, you just skated down that hill. And we're like, that's so impressive.”

Jasmine: Yeah, that's me. Cuz I tried to skate down the hill and that's when I fell on my butt. All right, Rachel, what is your Toast to Joy? 

Rachel: Well, my Toast to Joy is I guess the same as Alex's, being able to get away and have a moment to breathe. I think nature is so healing and just gives you a time to stop. And we're, we're working from a different place, but we're working sort of the same things we do at home, and we need more green spaces, community spaces as you say Amanda, but spaces to, you know, stop and take a minute and take a breath. And just the smell of the forest after the rain, the simple things… it's really easy to lose sight of it in these days when everything seems so charged. And it's hard to find hope in a lot of places. It's hard. And I think we need to admit that it's hard and we need to have empathy for people. 

But I also think that taking some time to see sort of… not to get too philosophical, but the continuation of life, like the continuation of, the permanence of nature, the permanence of a lot of things. And it's going to be okay. It doesn't mean that it's going to be easy, but I do believe it will be okay with hard work and some sacrifice. And, you know Americans are no stranger to that, and unfortunately, I'm sorry that it has to be that way, but I do think it will be okay. And sometimes you need to step out and step back a little bit in order to see that. 

Amanda: Oh, that's so true. Well, before we wrap up, Rachel, thank you for sharing your husband Alex with us on the pod today. 

Jasmine: Always good seeing Alex. 

Rachel: Well thank you for having him. It was nice to get his insight and thank you all for listening, for joining us today. And we look forward to seeing you again next week on another episode of The Suburban Women Problem.