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One Small Step Tampa Bay: They Have Deep Convictions … But Wonder Why

Phillip Champion, left, and Neal Huneycutt questioned their political leanings and given deep thought as to why they believe what they believe. WUSF STAFF

On this week’s edition of StoryCorps' One Small Step - Tampa Bay, we talk to a hair stylist from Odessa and a business consultant from Lutz. Both have questioned their political leanings and given deep thought as to why they believe what they believe.

For Phillip Champion, 66, it was a customer sitting in his barber chair that really made him think about why he considered himself such a radical liberal.

“One day, I had a doctor in my chair – he was a Republican and I wasn’t, but I admired him,” Champion said. “I asked him, ‘what’s the difference between a Republican and Democrat?’ and he said, ‘Generally speaking, Democrats love Americans and Republicans love America. I thought, I’ve never heard that before and that started this question I posed to myself: ‘Do you really understand what you’re so radically opposed to?’ That’s when I decided to listen more.”

Lutz resident Neal Huneycutt, 42, grew up surrounded by parents he calls “Reagan Republicans” and when it was his turn to register, he registered Republican.

ONE SMALL STEP: WUSF breaks down the boundaries created by politics

“I haven’t changed it, but I haven’t voted Republican in a while,” Huneycutt said. He also spoke about how people tend to vote for the party to which they can relate.

“Presidential politics really is a popularity contest … and people want to like the person they’re voting for,” he said. “[However], we’ve gotten to this point where, if you’re on the other side, not only are you not worthy of assistance, but we’re going to actively disrespect you… with Obama it was bad and with Trump it’s bad.

Both Neal and Phillip came away from their discussion seeing the similarities in their positions – so much so, neither was sure who was providing the liberal point of view, and who was providing the conservative point of view.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay airs every Monday on WUSF 89.7 at 8:44 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.