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Liberals and conservatives break bread at Make America Dinner Again

Meeting people who politically disagree with you is a bit difficult these days, even more so in ideological enclaves like Seattle. But a new national organization called Make America Dinner Again (M.A.D.A.) is bringing people of divergent views together for a nosh.

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It may be a surprise to hear that there’s a Seattle chapter, which means they somehow found enough Conservatives for a few chairs at the tables.

“What they do is take the politics out of the initial meeting,” said KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “So you end up realizing that people are more than just their politics. When you have a dinner with somebody, you focus not just on the political beliefs, as much as the person who has those beliefs.”

The M.A.D.A. meals tend to begin with a personal, nonpolitical conversation so guests can learn about each other before taking the plunge into political territory, reports The Seattle Times. This familiarity makes it more difficult to simply dismiss the other person and their beliefs when later debating.

But KIRO Radio’s John Curley isn’t entirely convinced it’s a good idea.

“I would never want to attend one of these dinners. I’ve been to these things — it’s called Seattle,” Curley said. “Most of my friends are Liberal, and when you sit as a Conservative, you just sit there as they scream and yell about how horrible Trump is and what a Nazi he is and how dumb people are that voted for him.”

“And you just quietly eat, and maybe you steal something on the way out,” joked Curley.

Could Make America Dinner Again actually work?

The Make America Dinner Again events consist of — hopefully — respectful conversation, guided activities, and potluck food provided by the organizers for the 6-10 guests in attendance. Those interested in attending one can head to the website and answer a few questions about their background and political orientation.

“These aren’t your random relatives that just come together at Thanksgiving,” Tom said. “The idea here is that these are people who are willing to come together because they want to understand. So people here tend to be more polite.”

“It’s really hard to change anybody’s mind. But you understand why the person who disagrees with you thinks the way they do.”

For Curley, an equal breakdown of Liberals and Conservatives is essential to the evening not devolving into an all-out food fight.

“When you only have two guys that are Conservative and eight that are Liberal, that’s going to change how those two would feel,” he said.

“Give me a five on five.”

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