Over the course of the last several months you may have noticed several guests on Glenn’s radio and television programs that can only be characterized as ‘strange bedfellows.’ Glenn has been discussing the importance of finding common ground with people of all backgrounds and ideologies in order to work to make this country a better place. On this morning’s radio program, Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, joined Glenn to discuss the power of finding commonality in the most unlikely places.
To begin, Glenn explained how he first met Kula. A mutual friend, Craig Hatkoff, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, introduced them about two years ago, and they have been friends ever since.
“I remember sitting down, thinking to myself, I don’t think this rabbi is going to listen to me at all. But he did,” Glenn said. “He was kind, and I listened to him too. And we have become friends… I think our friendship, again, is proof that we don’t have to agree on everything. We just have to agree on the principle of love and respect and decency.”
While Kula admitted that he initially believed he disagreed with Glenn on just about everything that hasn’t been the case lately.
“This is the place where you really can be honest – one of the few places in the media where you can be [honest]. If you had said to me three years ago your name, Glenn Beck… [I would have said], ‘What are you doing? Glenn Beck?’ ‘There’s a boogeyman named Glenn Beck,’” Kula explained. “[But] then you begin to sit with a human being. When you sit with a human being and look into their eyes and begin to have conversation with them and say ‘Oh, my God… This guy is so unbelievably soft-spoken. This guy listens more than he talks. This guy asks questions more than he has answers. This guy has a life story. I think I got to go home and rethink things.’”
As Kula explained, human beings change through the interpersonal relationships they create, and that is exactly what happened with their friendship. With that in mind, Glenn asked Kula how we can begin to encourage people to come together on the things that unite them.
“Look, if I had some magic solution, I would be part of the problem. First thing to say, there are no – I say that as a Jew – there are no final solutions to really important problems,” Kula said. “Here’s where I really am conservative. There are small solutions that move the drama ahead. When we talk about culture, I’m always weary of large cultural solutions… It’s going to sound so weird because I’m going to sound like you, but this is a problem of elites… What they do is control the narratives. They control the stories we hear, but there are so many other stories.”
“You can’t coerce people into being like you. You can’t coerce people into your values, but you can model in such a way people say, ‘These people look happy. Look how their families are. Look how they are living. Look how they take care of each other,’” he continued. “No one has a hold on how to love. It’s happening in the communities that people are demonizing. It’s happening in communities in which we disagree massively with people. It’s happening all over. What we have to be is like curators of the good and then purveyors of the good.”
Kula will also be joining Glenn on Thursday’s Glenn Beck Program, and Glenn encouraged his listeners to tune in.
“I hope you give us an opportunity to get to know you and have the audience get to know you in the coming months through your friendship,” Glenn concluded.