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Friends Of 50 Years Travel To D.C. To Support And Oppose Trump


Washington, D.C., is a swarm with both Trump supporters and protesters this weekend. And against all expectation, some of them are friends. Albert Kiecke retired last year after 35 years in the Houston Fire Department. He voted for Trump and was at yesterday's inauguration. He is sharing his hotel room with a friend of 50 years standing, Becky Dinsmore. She works at a large bank in Houston and voted for Hillary Clinton. She's in D.C. for the Women's March. Good morning both of you.

BECKY DINSMORE: Good morning, Scott.

ALBERT KIECKE: Good morning.

SIMON: A lot of people I think are wondering, first off, who gets to use the bathroom first, the Trump supporter or the protester?

DINSMORE: (Laughter) Well, I'm going to the march this morning, so I was up a little bit earlier and already used the bathroom.

SIMON: OK. How do each of you feel about this weekend? Albert, if we could begin with you.

KIECKE: I was very excited about it. I've never, you know, been in attendance of anything, you know, of that magnitude. I mean, it was just a part of history, and I enjoyed watching the inauguration.

SIMON: And, Becky, what did you do, just stay bundled up there in the closet during the inauguration?

DINSMORE: (Laughter) No, actually I worked in the morning until about noon, and then it was a travel afternoon for me. And it was...

SIMON: Oh, you flew in from Houston, yeah.

DINSMORE: I did. I flew with a lot of other marchers, so it was a rousing plane ride.

SIMON: And why is it important for you to be in Washington, D.C., this weekend?

DINSMORE: Well, from my perspective, I felt right after the election a flood of emotions. I was a little bit bereft, indignant. I just felt a call to action. So I'm here for what I would consider my civic duty.

SIMON: Well, let me ask a question of you both, beginning with you, Albert. How do you make this - how do you make this work, this partnership? Because I think a lot of Americans are wondering how to make the country work with these kind of divisions.

KIECKE: Well, I mean, we don't talk about it all the time, you know, but it, to me, it's just not getting - you know, worth getting that upset about. I mean, Becky and other people are going to have their opinion on politics, and I have my opinion on politics. And I'm not going to change your mind nor can I change anybody else's mind. So that's their opinion and that's - and they're welcome to that opinion. So that's just the way I feel about it.

SIMON: Becky.

DINSMORE: And I would say similarly, and not just with Albert but with all of, you know, my friends, acquaintances, co-workers, I think a lot of us are just treading lightly. And I will say I seem to have lost a few friends over my opinions about the election and the election results. But you know, I'm good with that. I think, you know, it's a pivotal time in history, and people are, as Albert said, you know, they're welcome to their own opinions and thoughts and actions. And I feel like I'm doing what I need to do for myself, which is to speak out and do what I can to make sure it's widely known that there's a lot of opposition to the policies that are being put forth.

SIMON: Albert, you worked in the fire department for 35 years.


SIMON: What do you take from that experience? What did you learn there that the rest of us can learn from?

KIECKE: Well, I mean, I just - I was in people's homes, you know, people - underprivileged people, minorities and saw how they actually truly lived, you know, and how their - their existence. You know, they're just trying to scrape by day to day, you know, and provide for their families and, you know, send their kids to school. It's just basically a subsistence living for them, and they haven't really improved their, you know, their lives over time like they think they're doing. Things have to change there. So we'll have to see if he's able to do that.

SIMON: Becky Dinsmore, it sounds like your friend has a good heart.

DINSMORE: He certainly does. He does, and we consider him part of our family for sure. And I teared up a little bit at that because I, you know, again we don't talk about it, so, you know, it's lovely to hear Albert expressing his viewpoint.

SIMON: Well, we hope you both have a wonderful weekend in your separate ways (laughter).

DINSMORE: Oh, I'm sure we will.

SIMON: Thanks for spending a little time with us.

DINSMORE: You're very welcome.

KIECKE: Thank you.

SIMON: Albert Kiecke and Becky Dinsmore, they are lifelong friends. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.