“For now, it’s our dirty little secret…..”

Samara Freemark
Reporter
Public Insight Network

All this month, as we near Election Day and wrap up what’s become a pretty brutal election cycle, the Public Insight Network has been asking people all around the country: “What toll has politics taken on your personal relationships?”

Rachelle Ankney (left) was visiting her grandmother, Thelma VanDine, this year when she revealed herself as -- in her own words -- a "progressive, pro-LGBTQ, earth-loving anti-poverty community organizer."  (Photo shared by Rachelle Ankney)

Rachelle Ankney (left) was visiting her grandmother, Thelma VanDine (right), this year when she revealed herself as — in her own words — a “progressive, pro-LGBTQ, earth-loving anti-poverty community organizer.” Her grandmother’s reaction surprised her. (Photo shared by Rachelle Ankney)

We’ve heard amazing – and really, really sad – stories from people who’ve lost friends and family to political differences: People who don’t talk to their parents anymore; people who’ve cut friends out of their lives after bitter Facebook flame wars; people whose siblings are starting to feel like strangers.

But we’ve also heard some charming stories, like this one from Rachelle Ankney, a Democrat from Chicago.

Rachelle says her family is pretty much all Republicans, and her strategy most of her life for being a Democrat in their midst has been to just lie low. But this year, at age 40, she decided it was time to publicly identify herself as a “progressive, pro-LGBTQ,earth-loving anti-poverty community organizer.”

Of all the people in her family, she was most nervous about telling her grandmother, Thelma VanDine – the woman who Rachelle says she respects most in the world.

Rachelle says she was afraid that Thelma would be shocked – offended – or even angry. What happened was pretty different.

In this audio clip, Thelma and Rachelle tell the story of that conversation .. and of the “dirty little secret” that they now share.


 

Does this sound  familiar? Please take a moment to share your experience.

And, in the meantime, explore other people’s stories from across the country.

 

Samara Freemark Reporter
Public Insight Network

Reporter/producer Samara Freemark joined the Public Insight Network after four years at Radio Diaries in New York City, where she spent her time helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories for NPR. In the process, she developed an unshakeable belief in the beauty and power of personal narrative.

Before Radio Diaries Samara worked as an environmental reporter, a posting that took her to sinking islands, Superfund sites, and literal snakepits – Burmese pythons, to be exact. She also churned out copy and tape in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. Before settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before deciding she preferred soundwaves to spreadsheets.