"Heroes For My Daughter"

On radio this morning, Glenn interviewed "Heroes For My Daughter" author Brad Meltzer about his new book. Watch the full interview in the clip above.

Rush Transcript:

GLENN: Brad Meltzer is here. Out today is a new book called Heroes For My Daughter, a follow-up to a book that he wrote -- how many years ago was that? Two, three?

MELTZER: Two and a half years ago.

GLENN: Two and a half years ago. Heroes For My Son. Brad is a good friend of mine and the Heroes For My Son is a great book. Heroes For My Daughter includes stories on Tina Turner and what she had in her pocket. Brad, do you want to tell this story?

MELTZER: Yeah. You know the story. Basically six years ago when my daughter was born, I decided to write a book that lasts her whole life and I was going to fill it with all the things she needed to become a great woman and I wrote rules for her like love God and be nice to kids and the truth was I had done Heroes to My Son, as you know. You helped me launch it. For three -- for two years now my daughter has asked me, where the heck is my book? That's been the No. 1 thing she wants to know, because she's, like, you've got the son one. Where is mine? But I looked at people like Tina Turner. You know, Tina Turner what I loved about her -- and, you know, we have obviously Rosa Parks and Amelia Earhart, all the people that, you know, we all know and love, but why I wrote about Tina Turner is when she ran out of the hotel room after Ike had beat her up, do you know what she had in her pocket? She had $0.36 and a Mobil credit card. That was it. And after 16 years of cruelty, she walked out on Ike Turner and what I think her lesson is for, you know, every young girl but also every woman is just to know that you have to fight back and you have to never forget that no matter how deep the hole is, you can always find a way out because she kept saying to herself over and over, I will die before I go back. And, you know, she fought her way to become, again, this great rock icon and I said, I want my daughter to learn how to fight. I want her to learn how to stand up for herself and so I picked heroes like Rosa Parks, you know --

GLENN: Tell me about Sally Ride. Tell me about Sally Ride. Why was she picked to be an astronaut?

MELTZER: People say it was because -- when she was picked to be an astronaut, it was just because she was (inaudible) great athlete, some say because she was fearless and all those things are true, but here's what she also had to do: She had to answer an ad in her college newspaper that said NASA was looking for astronauts and she had to look at it moment and see this and I said, I want my daughter -- you know, that's how she became the woman that did what no one had ever done before. She saw a moment and she seized it and I want that lesson for my daughter and that's what Heroes to My Daughters was designed to be, is to give her those lessons and examples.

GLENN: One of my sister's heroes is Julia Childs because Julia Childs was a massive failure.

MELTZER: Yeah, she was. You hit it right on the head. You know, everyone knows Julia Childs. Everyone loves Julia Childs. You know, she's one of my heroes because she was actually a spy, also. People don't know that about her. She was a spy for the U.S. Government as part of the OSS. But what I love about her is, you know, she wrote the greatest cookbook of all time, mastering The Art of French Cooking but, you know, she got rejection letter, rejection letter, rejection letter, over and over again after six years of working at it and everyone said this book is never going to work and she never, ever ever gave up. Her secret ingredient was the most vital ingredient of all. It's to never give up on what you love and I said -- the funny part is, again, when I was writing the book, I handed in the first draft and my editor said to me, We have a problem. I said, what's the problem? She said, you use one word over and over again in all these heroes. I said, What's the word? She said fighter. She said, you use the word fighter for the

Dalai Lama's entry. The Dalai Lama's a passivist and I use the word fighter, but clearly it tells you about me as a father. One, I'm overprotective of my daughter. No question about it, but, two, and here's what I don't apologize for -- I do want my daughter to learn how to fight. You know, I tell her all the time, I said, you know, you have to fight for something when you want it and when you see injustice, you have to fight harder than ever before and I also tell her, don't be the princess who's waiting for Prince Charming to come save you. You can save yourself and I said, that's what I want the book to be full of examples of that.

GLENN: Do you think that heroes for your daughter is more important in today's world or Heroes For My Son?

MELTZER: You know, when I started doing the book, I thought I was going to do equal books, one for my son, one for my daughter, my son's would have more male heroes, my daughter would have more female heroes and it would be the exactly the same and I would treat them the same, but what I realized in this fighter comment that I just was talking about is I do treat my daughter differently and do you know why I do? Because the world treats my daughter differently. It is a statistical fact and I wish this weren't the case, but my daughter will have a harder life just be by being a woman. She is going to statistically make less money, have a harder time getting a promotion and I hope these things will change. We all hope these things will change, but I know that I do treat my daughter differently for that. And people sometimes say that with our sons, we inspire and with our daughters we try and teach them how to battle and we try and protect them and I fight myself every day to be a good father and just put them on equal ground, but I know that, like any father with their daughter, I'm just always going to be protective of her.

GLENN: Okay. Can I ask you a question? There are male heroes in this book, as well?

MELTZER: Of course there are male heroes. If I just put male heroes for my son, I wouldn't be doing it justice and for my daughter, of course I -- I mean, how do I not --

GLENN: I can't believe that the Three Stooges is in --

MELTZER: Do you want to hear -- you've got to hear the Three Stooges story. So, yeah, let me start with the big one. Yeah, I've got to give my daughter Abraham Lincoln, I have to give my daughter Christopher Reeve, I've got to give my daughter Ben Franklin and I want to give my daughter, you know -- there are male heroes I want her to have. I saved Ben Franklin for her because I just love him, but I have the Three Stooges in there and I put that in there because my dad, when I was growing up, used to show me the Three Stooges. My mother hated it. My wife hates it. Most women hate the Three Stooges. Here's what I want you to know about the Three Stooges is that the three stages were actually the first ones to parody Adolf Hitler on film. Everyone thinks that Charlie Chaplin The Great Dictator was the great one, but the Three Stooges who were three Jews, the Three Stooges were the first one to parody him. They actually did it two years, almost two years before Pearl Harbor, the three Stooges stood up to the bully and said, You know what? Everyone said we can't make propaganda. Everyone said you're not allowed to do any propaganda about Hitler. Hollywood really kind of had a serious push not to do such things and these three so-called idiots were the ones who stood up to him and I said, I love that. I've got to give my daughter the lesson of what it means to stand up to the bully.

GLENN: So, the name of the book is Heroes For My Daughter. It's out today. I have Heroes For My Son. I will be getting Heroes For My Daughter, as well. Just great books. Brad is a good friend, a great writer, knows heroes. In my book he is -- he is a hero himself and, Brad, it's always great to talk to you.

MELTZER: Yeah. No. I appreciate it, Glenn, and I appreciate your support from the very start. Can I say one thing? The last hero in the book is the most important one because it's a blank page and it says: Your hero's photo here and your hero's story here and I promise you, you take a picture of your mom or your grandmother or military for you family and you write one sentence of what they mean to you and you put in in this book and it is the most perfect page in Heroes For My Daughter is the hero they live with every day.

GLENN: Brad, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

MELTZER: Thank you, sir

GLENN: You bet. Heroes For My Daughter, available in book stores everywhere today.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.