Purple Power Couple: Student Podcast Explores Personal Tie Between Bowdoin Democrats, Republicans

The latest episode of Bowdoin Commons, a student produced podcast, investigates the uncommon (for this day and age at least) relationship of Jack Lucy ’17 and Marisa O’Toole ’17. The two seniors, who met when they were first-year students, have been dating for more than three years. Meanwhile, Lucy is president of the Bowdoin Republicans and O’Toole heads up the Bowdoin Democrats.

The two students have recently cooperated on a couple of successful campus events: a post-election panel of professors discussing the unexpected victory of President Donald Trump, and a state-focused panel with two Maine politicians, one conservative, one liberal. Both O’Toole and Lucy are from Maine.

In the podcast, the two seniors are thoughtful as they describe how they deal with their political and ideological differences. Despite some areas of disagreement — the Supreme Court and abortion, for example — their mutual respect is obvious.

The narrator of the podcast muses: “Over the course of the interview, I realized the question wasn’t, how do they make it work? But rather, why did I think they couldn’t make it work in the first place?”

O’Toole says in the podcast that she and Lucy have learned to take the time to listen to one another, and to arguments from the opposing side. “I think it is really important, especially in today’s political climate, that we continue to have that open ear, a sincere open ear. Instead of just saying you’re open to what people have to say, actually take it, hold it, look at it and then make your decision after you’ve given it its due,” she said.

On one critical issue, the two are of like mind. They both emphasize the importance of humanizing people with different beliefs. “It helps to put a face or a personality and a backstory behind the viewpoints you don’t necessarily have when you’re talking about Republicans in general, or Democrats in general,” Lucy said.

“Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, we’re people,” O’Toole said.

The podcast was produced by Jodi Kraushar ’17, Bo Bleckel ’18, Charlotte Hall ’20, Helen Wang ’20, Emily Cohen ’20 and Grace Bukowski-Thall ’20. Check out more episodes of Bowdoin Commons.

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