Connie Schultz


Hi steady now. I've got a joke for you. What state is round on the ends in the high middle? Oh hieaux in. That's where we will be hearing Pulitzer Prize winner. Connie shots from today onto rod struck politics part of the Democrats podcast network. You should really stay home and stay safe. Hi Everyone. This is Kelly with two brads talking politics part of the dumb cast family of podcast and I am joined by my co host Sophie. Hey Sophie Hey Kelly and our special guest today who I'm thrilled to be talking with. Is Pulitzer Prize? Winning journalist Connie Schultz. Hi Connie by there so we are excited to have you with us where all Ohio natives here on the call. So we'll we'll talk some about Ohio but I just tell us a little bit about how you're hanging in there during this intense quarantine. Well I at home full time with my husband Shared Brown and because of his job as you both Us Senator. We don't usually spend this much uninterrupted time together so for us. It's felt like a blessing in that way. We do joke that we're lucky. After sixteen years of marriage that we still like each other so much and we are with our dogs slaughtering. Franklin are for kids in their spouse isn't all our grandchildren are healthy and that matters a lot I've had some friends however going through on the including diagnoses of Cohen Nineteen with various results. We've not lost on an immediate friend but we have certainly lost some people that we knew and other than that. It's work right. I finishing up. I just taught my final two classes at Kent State Mama Mater where. I'm a professional in residence air in the journalism school. We are doing a lot of zoom sessions. I'm to miss them terribly. And my novel comes out in a month. Two daughters very towns so I've been winding up a lot of all. The talks have been cancelled or postponed. Even the sell out events which can break my heart. It's like he might perspective Lucky I'm that everybody's doing what they can to keep everybody healthy and alive so do a lot more onscreen stuff or the book and I'll be doing a lot more video interviews than I headed to support it but I'm actually getting kind of excited about all of bat and I'm writing and I'm working on something new in its. It's a life of a writer you know you're always always working and if you're not you're wondering what's wrong with you so you get to writing just normal again just to your at Kent State and we're coming up on the fiftieth anniversary of the May fourth shooting. My my parents were actually students there at the time. I think you were slightly after that. It was can planning to have been doing things you know. In Memory of the fiftieth anniversary. I assume they're not doing things in person now. There was a lot scheduled including Jane Fonda coming for a keynote to the campus. All of that is on hold. Of course they will be doing some stuff online. Some virtual events but the most significant thing to me about this in addition to courses acknowledging the. It's a it's an anniversary of a tragedy. Not just a kiss David in the country and I would never have come back to teach at Kent State. I graduated in nineteen seventy nine so I started there in the fall every I I would never return. Had they not really own their history and made it part of the curriculum against dating? I don't know if you've been on the campus a recent years but now they're a murderous. Each of the students were killed. There is information Each and every we have a museum dedicated to made for one of that existed. When I was there in the seventies and the seventies the university was really trying to just pretend it never happened and was affiliated with the events on the anniversary date of a year and now the university hosts those events. I consider that great progress. You mentioned that you have that you have children who who have kids at home. I imagine this has got to be really hard as a grandmother to not see her grandkids. I know when we are having zoom calls with my parents. It's palpable. How much they miss getting to to hug their grandchildren. You know what are you sort of? You know there's all these mixed emotions that we're all having about all of this and wanting to stay safe and all that but but what is this sort of emotionally been like being away from the grandchildren? I told her kids day. I've never felt were worthless as a grandmother because it is my nature Sweep been and start helping childcare. Helping even with the teaching at home But none of them want US around because they're all trying to protect us right so we are. We have seven grandchildren. Our oldest grandchild is twelve and then we have the other six are on seven and under most of them were way under four or younger and I missed the terribly. Fortunately we've got kids. Her kids have been great. We do a lot of face time or send each other mail. I ordered a bunch of pop up cards. You know. I love sitting in to the kids and draw pictures on the notes. Write little notes that I know their parents reading to them. So we're doing what we can't. I again emphasize enough to the young. The parents of young children listening this. It means everything to grandparents to get those photos to get those videos to do the video chats and I know you're exhausted and tired but it's good for your kids to to see us in it really A LOTTA. We're lucky we don't we have each other. We're so busy. We don't feel lonely of there are a lot of grandparents who are living alone right now and I. Never WanNA guilt anybody. 'cause there's so much going on already. I'm just making a request that you can take him over to an even. Just send a couple of new. Pictures Day. It really can fill some gaps that were feeling. It's a longing. It's just a longing grows longer and deeper and wider as this progresses whether they have to really work hard on his not China. Imagine how long it will be before I can even hug my grandchildren again. Because I find that takes me into a Bali pretty quickly. You teach journalism. I'm wondering if we can talk a little bit about cub in nineteen enter. Lsm Sure I would like your take on sort of how you think. The pandemic is going to affect political journalism and coverage of the twenty twenty elections. Because I'm having so much trouble. As a former journalist understanding how people are supposed to cover things like the convention or political speeches and rallies. How is that GonNa work with cove? Nineteen thank a what. What sort of impact? You think that this is going to have on the coverage of the election. Guess is that none of those things are going to help. I don't think we'll see can I don't think we're GONNA see political rallies? Less the president of the United States tries to do something. That's I just I can't imagine we're going to be that far along we're gonNA WANNA squeeze people shoulder to shoulder and have them shouting cheering together. Not because we know how it spreads right and we know how important social distancing is right now as far as the journalism. What are the challenges for journalists covering this nationally or responding to the national narrative? Here is that we're having to counter allotted misinformation coming from the White House quite a regular basis in. It can be pretty stressful for some. This applies to see the ten the clear tension not always acknowledged between the public health experts and the president and his administration. So we've never had a time where it's been. Were to be providing accurate information. But all he has to do is say something really dangerous. Like speculating that ingesting disinfectant might be up and you have poison centers around the country. Saying they're getting a lot more calls in this is this is a hard issue to cover. It's hard enough to cover it because it's affecting so many people but when you were also trying to battle misinformation from the very top of leadership supposedly Bending I could see the challenge in that when I teach it with my students of course their lives were abruptly uprooted. They had to leave the campus. Suddenly so much as many of them were supposed to graduate they will still graduate but there will be no ceremony. There will be no and a year stuff. I don't hear them complaining about that so much. They are really wondering what happens next with their careers because the virus internships are being canceled or delayed. And we're doing what we can at the university to help them through that I've been advising though all of them to be taking notes to be keeping journals because they will be the storytellers of this pandemic. We will be feeling the impact of this for decades and we want to believe I learned this running the memoir shares Senate race in Chicago six when I did the book for Random House and his lovely wife there were so many moments I thought. Wow this server gonNA forget this. I'm so glad I wrote it down anyway because there's so many big things are happening quickly. You do. Forget and really important. You could forget how you felt in the moment which may be different than how you remember it later right because you may feel differently about the whole experience later so been encouraging students to find purpose in this they are meant to writers and also had a lot of future filmmakers and ethics class documentary filmmakers as well feature filmmakers in addition to the journalists and. I told them it really is true. That whatever you can get through all material it all informs work and that they are in. I was telling them before. This that they were in a they. Were Living History Right now. Because of the trump presidency this has magnified. Dad is impossible to calculate by. How much terrible as the information. Coming out of the White House has been and as terrible as these press conferences have been one of the sort of shining moments of all of this is how well the women journalists in these press conferences have been have been doing the the sharp questions they've been asking you know you came up in journalism at a time when there weren't as many women journalists you know what what is that What does that sort of look like? Do you think that this is inspirational to two women who are thinking about journalism? Journalism continues to be a career that That works that that pays money well. We'll always have our journalists and one of the reasons I'm more optimistic is because the younger generations that have come up since are going to help us figure out how to save it and how to make it worthwhile as far as the women. One of my favorite things to do when I am in Washington is our experience is how many of the young women who are covering politics up and introduce themselves today and I always tell the same thing you didn't exist. I was your age. It was so hard to convince any editors we should be covering politics and that is one of the biggest changes and I think we're really seeing why it should have been happening a lot sooner because they can be tough and it's particularly important with a president who belied women so regularly to have these young women by young and look. I'm sixty two so you can live a lot of. You're still be younger than I am at this point to watch these young women. They don't flinch. They don't grimace. They just keep pressing pressing pressing for the answers and the more angry and hateful. He gets with them but more support. They are finding around the country. I hope people are being expressive about it. I'm certainly hearing about it and I see it on social media because you know what there's not a woman who has been ambitious in her life who has dealt with some sort of abuse like that and somebody who's trying to tell us what we can and cannot do and how unworthy we are to have these positions so in some ways. A lot of us can identify with that in. It just feels wonderful to watch the you've hit. He gets no traction when he tries to intimidate them. So I want to ask you about this book that you've written. I believe this is your first novel of the daughters of Erie. Towns pills a little bit about You know how what sort of the inspiration for writing this was why why you're trying your hand At novel writing and Sorta who who you hope reads the buck. I've always loved fiction. I grew up reading fiction. I think every policy all day long my rule at night only read fiction because I so appreciate being taken away into other people's worlds into other people's minds right and but it never because I have such reverence for fiction it. I never imagined that I could be anomalous. But fortunately for me by editor at Random House. Is Kate Medina? She has edited so many of the greats and she also happens to be my editor and she came for me right after the Pulitzer. She wanted me to work for her. She wanted me to be a random house author so I did a collection of essays for them with new material and then it was her idea that I write the memoir of sheriff's race but right before that second book came out in two thousand seven. She really started to push me to consider writing fiction. And what are the way she put it was that the working classes really underrepresented in modern literature and a disagreement that I am a come from working class. I'm the first family to go to college. I want to stress by working class. I need a racially diverse working class which it has always been affect my class every classroom. Elementary School was half black. So I say that because I feel so strongly nuts talking about that enough when we talk about working class people and also. I don't ever accept if you grow up. Were were white working class. You have to end up being racist. I saved frequently that. Our roots are beginnings Notre excuses and in my case even though my father struggled with raise all of his life. I had a lot of black friends in school. And so when he would start ranting I I would see their names their faces and had so altered at such a young age. How I saw my father on that issue so what I started thinking about it more. I started Magin that maybe I did have a story to tell it. Took me a lot longer than they would have wanted. But I have to say Kate. Medina is relentless impatient at the same time she she gets her claws into you in a good way and she does not let go so. This is a story about four generations of women in their men of course in the story as well but the daughters of town is there not always related but they are daughters of this town and this is a small working class town on the shore of Lake Erie written by a woman who grew up in a small working class town on the shore of Lake Erie and while it's not named after my hometown. Ula there are certainly some similarities there in the book that people are Mythical of course but the people who helped raise needed in a small town near so often you have all these circuit self appointed surrogate parents right locals and the souls and dreams of something. Um have shown up I find in the characters in this book and so it's about love and forgiveness and it's about really big mistakes. And how much are we capable of forgiving in win? Is it okay not to it is about women's lives over a period of decades and how we could ball over time but how so which it yet to happen but you only see that to the lives in constant struggles actress in these women's lives but at its heart? It is a story about people who are very much like affluent people until the big problems come and they have no money to fix it and that's when dreams die for working class people become so much harder. Speaking of your books. I really enjoyed your memoir. And his lovely wife and I felt I felt very much like a kinship with you I. My husband is not a politician but he was for a while Piscopo priest. I am also you know a feminist married to someone in a political position in which my you know. Marriage is very much scrutinized their automatic expectations of us a pastor's wife right definitely as by same thing. I don't mean to suggest that your husband isn't in an honorable profession. Of course I happen to think this could meet a quite the calling as I married to one of the finest ever automatic role. People WanNa soon for you can be a challenge. How did you deal with it? I didn't deal with gracefully. Which I guess is probably part of the reason why he has moved away from that but I just sort of ignored it and I don't think I did that very well. Your heart. I suspect you're being hard on yourself but Kipkoech but I was wondering if you talk a little bit about your more recent experiences Being you know married to senator in Ohio because I know that book was published in two thousand seven. Yeah I'm ago well. It's a couple of things that are different. I would say one of them is I. I don't worry anymore about proving myself. Was that anybody that I can still be journalist. I remained a columnist all these years ago. We have a whole new scary thing happening with the novel. But you know as I tell my students. If you're never getting scared you're not growing so. Grossberg right. I am often asked and you didn't ask it this way but I just want to respond partners way. I'm often asked. What is it? Like to be a senator's wife and I always respond with the truth. Which is I? Don't know what that means. I only know what area to share a ground and his job is really important. But we wouldn't have gotten married in middle age if we hadn't had a lot in common and we do have a lot in common and we believe in each other so much and we've often said to each other. I have won the Pulitzer without share it and he does ability has said he wouldn't have won the Senate without me. And it's not because we meddled work. It's because we believed in each other and made each other braver in the and the most scary at times in the times when we were feeling the weakest or most vulnerable. We've always been there for each other and I feel really fortunate to have this marriage sixteen years so we were just talking. The other night said we've done usually had this much time together and it's been wonderful because usually he leaves for Washington on Monday comes back Thursday evening short flight. But it's still built into that has been an independence here have handed but independent woman. So that's been helpful on when he's on recess just such a funny term because it means working all the state and less because he's all year he doesn't come home tonight so we're together more in we've evolved so much as a as a marriage in good ways they can only have a with time and I only personally and still less defensive about the fact that I would journalists Mary to a senator because I couldn't be more transparent about that. All My byles social media make it clear. I've written an entire book about a Senate Race. It doesn't it all mean. I can't be who I am and he jokes way. He likes journalists probably more than a lot of his colleagues but he couldn't have married me didn't 'cause that was at right so I think that the most the biggest evolution here is simply my comfort with the whole thing I am so happy to be shared wife's but I'm also so happy to be all these other things when I wrote that book. We didn't have any grandchildren yet. There are so many changes in my life right. I'm grateful for them for the most part. I certainly hope that came across. The book in part is because as you know from reading. I was pretty scared when I had to take back since I just won a pulitzer in your usual career move is not to take a leave of absence and get about politics but I really wanted to support share it in his Senate run. I wasn't sure what was GONNA happen after I know what I wanted to have happened. Was IT turns out. It's been much bigger than I ever expected. But it had to start with my neck giving up on myself quite aware of that. Ask a little bit about Ohio. I think Ohio has been. I'm always fascinated by Ohio. Anyway but the most fascinating to watch in this in this krona virus pandemic. Because you know it's it's a state people think of as read although I don't think any of us on this call think of it as a red state and It's a state with a Republican governor in a republican state legislature. And yet. It's a governor who has listen to science listen to scientists been very careful about The the stay at home order. What is it about Ohio? Ohioans That leads to sort of all these. What seemed like contradictions from the outside Do you think that that the politics isn't straightforward in Ohio? I think a lot of people. Maybe think it is well. It never has been right. We've always been a swing state in a bellwether and I had kind of a spirited exchange where somebody from. Cook report this big on twitter who send it Ohio's relevant and I I well I think all formulas though we can never assume they work anymore right after two thousand sixteen and I think Ohio is in play. Does he have to win out win. No but why would you ignore how because you can't you? It would be assuming Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan it. We just don't know how it's GonNa be. It's April from. We're talking about this. But the thing I also played out is that Two years after Donald Trump won Ohio by eight coins shared ran and won by seven and he needs. He had to get some of those trump voters and he did. We know he did. We know from the data. I sat in on focus groups with trump orders the numerous times throughout the campaign. The men from the women and they don't know you're watching the understand of they'll be watching they don't know who is watching and it was really interesting to me because the men were lost. They were never going to they. Were I remember two weeks? After John McCain died we had a focus group of men and to the number talking about how he wasn't really a war hero because he got caught. Which is straight out trump's playbook rightness in its hall here and we both knew. John Respecting a great deal and he didn't agree with them. WanNa politics but there is no denying his war hero status during the Vietnam War. The women though started peeling off and the women were peeling off or two issues at the time. Healthcare and family separations at the border. Now this was before we had begun massacre in Dayton and it was before covet nineteen in the president's mishandling of that and then we just had a bald walls. Poke come out. I believe today that says binds ahead by one again. We have a long way to go but that certainly sounds like a state in play to me. Yeah I'm glad that you brought up the point about different demographic groups Peeling off because they just heard. I just read an article this morning. About how the polling indicates that some older voters are actually peeling away from trump because of the corona virus. Do you think that that's something that's happening in Ohio as well? I don't know because I haven't seen that polling yet. I will say this. It would not surprise me if it's happening because we are seeing this administration talk about people. Is there some groups discardable? Are we not and one of them would be older people? It's a crazy strategy coming out of the White House. Because older people almost always they vote larger numbers right so. I would not be surprised if that's happening. I can't stay as fact yet that I've seen any of that kind of forty. I mean my parents are in late sixties in Ohio and they're certainly not voting for trump. But they weren't going to anyway. Is that right? Yeah I mean look we are so tight end with Labor here for example and also in so we know that while they were angry and I also just think we have to be really like here. There are many reasons. People didn't vote for Hillary Clinton and there is no point pretending that a lot of the Denver because they didn't want a woman and that is something we're always dealing with. Look how this played out in this primary It there is just no denying this and I get really frustrated when people want as they get something about well. It was her record or She'd been around too long. Yes sure some did some Clinton's cheek no question. I I recommend new documentary on right up about. Hillary was wonderful nightmare. I REMEMBER MY THIRTY YEAR. Old Daughter Calling texting me one point she said. I'm watching this documentary about Hillary and I'm crying and really summed up. How so many of us felt a lot of young in her as well. And a Lotta young men. It's funny that you say that 'cause my mom and I both watched that Hillary that same documentary together got angry together because my mom had visit me and we just it was so good but it was so frustrating to to sit there together and know what had happened. I really think it's important to acknowledge that in this time because right now we're basically being told. I understand that Joe Biden is going to be the nominee and we've got to unite around him. There's no that the most important thing here is to feeding Donald Trump. I would never want all the women in this country in the men who love them to this means. We're also going to put on pause. What has been happening to women in this country in it continues to happen to women in this country including the lack of opportunities for us to lead. So that is still on the agenda always. It's just right now. The most important thing is to get the most dangerous president. We've ever had a newest history out of the White House. Yeah and I you know Although it is not what we had hoped for I think having a a woman vice president is no small thing. We haven't had that you know and I think change can then come very quickly if we can move past this initial hump of just getting trump out. And then you know push toward What can be a really great future. That's an excellent point. Kelly about humor vice president. I I can't imagine it will be I'm particularly hopefully a woman of color and that will be moment for not just the Democrats for the country. We had a female nominee once before. But this we we. We have never seen the likes of these times right. Everything is different in new hope on. So thank you for bringing that up. Well so are there things topics that you would like to make sure that we talk about today things. That are really sort of on your mind as we're in this moment you know it's twenty twenty. There's the pandemic there there's so much going on Of course the Senate is is going to be back in session soon. So I'm sure that your your have that on your mind as well. It wastes it weighs a lot of my mind. Actually because I may forgive rampal in this lifetime I don't tend to be. Somebody holds a grudge. But he really scared a lot of us when he was tested. New Even tested didn't let anybody know he was waiting for results and potentially infected a lot of other people it in the meantime. Those kind of things are inexcusable. No matter who it is but when it's a United States senator doing it. You do not want a large percentage of the elected body neither the House or Senate to get coded nineteen if the country is to continue running it because they have their so much on their plate right now and they're you know right now. They're concentrating additional legislation to help so much of the country. That's in need right now. So I have deep concerns about how soon they're going to go back because I want my husband in his staff and I don't want to be exposed to it if we don't need to be. The country needs help. I it's just a real tension and everyone's feeling right now. I also want us to be mind call. We have so many parents with young children at home right now who are trying to work. Anti also take care of their kids. I have a threat going public facebook page right now back It is just heartbreaking. I told Sherrod I want him to sit down. I'm going to read some of them to him tonight not that he's not already aware but I wanted to understand fully feel I guess the magnitude of this problem. And what are we going to do for all these working families when the country can get back to some version of normal? How are we going to make childcare affordable for all families quality childcare affordable for all families win? Are we going to prioritize that as a country? It's also going to be to see how many of these companies who insisted parents must were days that we in these offices. Now they're finding the parents even with the kids at home can be incredibly productive when they can pick their own hours of productivity during a day and still hit. The marker still make the deadlines so there's that piece of it then I was which respected to this central workers. Many of us have always I come from a family of essential workers if my parents were alive right now and if to the main characters in my novel real people they would be working right now because one is a utility. Were which is what my father did. Keep the power. On and one was a nurse's is a nurse's aid. Which is what my mother was it. So she would've been on. The frontlines healthcare taking care of patients. Those of us who grew up with people like this or I've always seen this invisible always known to be essential and while I'm heartened by how many people are for the first time acknowledging how -portant including our trash collectors are all the delivery people who are helping us all the people waiting on us in hospitals in stores in groceries. They see them now is essential. What I'm hopeful for is that we're going to talk about them differently. After this is over that we will start taking better care of them after. This is over that we will respect the work. They do. Which is what we always should have been doing. And if you're familiar with rebel you know I I. I know harp on this but this is an opportunity to drive it home. I think yeah I think so too. You know. And I've seen a lot of people who now have sudden respect for teachers now that they're trying to deal with their own teaching their own kids at home you know. I think it's too bad that it took something like this for us to realize how important these people are in our lives but yeah I'm hopeful that it will sort of change that dynamic I as a parent am concerned about the transition back eventually back to work back to school especially if things don't line up right if if schools are not back in session. We're suddenly expected to back at work at. You know how these things work also talking with my daughter. Our youngest daughter the transition for children are going to be hard to right because all of a sudden they took some real adjustment to be around a city of younger younger Sean Daycare Preschool kindergarten. And they're finally getting custom to being with appearance regularly in some sort of and then that will be uprooted again for them so parents will be adjusting to getting back to the workforce will also be dealing with emotional stress of their children adapted to this. There is so much to consider moving nothing just snaps back into place right now and. I'm hoping that we're becoming more mindful of all the people who are who help us without ever expecting gratitude. My mom always said. Don't marry him until you see treats the waitress and what she meant by. That of course was how we treat the people were allowed to. Mystery is the measure of re are and there are a lot of people mistreating for a long time and now we're realizing how essential they are. I do WanNa hear what you're saying about. Wow now they they also respect teachers and it's very frustrating. It took this but my attitude is this that whatever gets in there right. We can't ask people to change and then not give them the chance to if they're willing finally took knowledge. How these teachers are in our children's lives. I say let's run with it. Yes well hopefully. They learned to acknowledge that with you. Know paid family leave and level wage and stuff as opposed to just calling people heroes and absorbed in other words. Put the box where you say. Your beliefs are now. Because you're so behind other similar countries in terms of how we don't take our children and families who are raising them all right final question. Have you picked up any new exciting quarantine hobbies besides cutting your husband's hair? We'll have my sewing machine just arrived and I have not had a sewing machine since I was in high school but I didn't know how to use one and I want to start making mass shooting for our neighborhood wanted to do something useful and so it just arrived As soon as I finished reading it she'll be in the next couple days. I'm going to set it up and I've got all this fabric and I'm going to start making base mess for everybody wants one orbit and that's a pretty large orbits. I'm so I'm looking forward to doing that. I also have to say. I attempted a jigsaw puzzle to my best friends. Drop them off on poetry me patiently getting better at it. I really living my mother's life now. I used to teasers going and I find when I work on a jigsaw puzzle. It is the only time I don't think about anything else because I'm so determined to get those pieces interlocked let that. I've turned fully into my grandmother. I'm knitting baking. Why so I enjoy the cooking. Anti get creative but I find that. I'm appreciating that as well. Look we're going to be different. We are going to be different when this is over. That can be in many ways a good thing but to deny that this will change us today. I think is natural thinking. So let's let's with attention decide how we're going to be different all right. Well thank you so much for joining us on the PODCAST. This has been a really fun. Soapy said she felt an affinity with you. I have always felt a certain affinity with you being from a similar area of Ohio. So I- so I'm so glad you were able to join us today. That means a lot coming from two women who are far younger than I have to tell you that I day naked. Both of US say okay. Yeah you too. Thank you for listening to two bras talking politics. The dim cast podcast network. Our theme song is called. Are you listening of the album elephant shaped trees by the BAND IMMUNOLOGY? And we're using it with permission of the band. Our logo and other original artwork is by Matthew. Wetland was created for use by this podcast. You can contact us at odds talking politics at g mail DOT COM or on twitter or facebook at two brides talk. You can find all of our episodes at two broads talking. Politics DOT COM or anywhere podcast found.

Coming up next