UPDATED: Glenn gives rousing Civil Rights speech outside the Capitol

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Glenn returned to D.C. on Wednesday to give his first speech at a Tea Party event at the Capitol since Restoring Honor. Thousands showed up for the Tea Party Patriots 'Audit the IRS' event that coincided with the press conference, featuring Reps Bachmann, Gohmert, and King, to block any immigration legislation from passing through the House.

The 'Audit the IRS' event kicked off at 12pm ET, following the press conference on immigration. Glenn joined conservatives leaders like Dana Loesch, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, and many others to speak at the event. While most focused on the issue of the IRS audits targeting conservative and religious groups — Glenn took on the fundamental basis of the issue: Civil Rights.

With the Black Robed Regiment at his side, Glenn tackled issues of equal rights, faith, and leadership in front of the large Tea Party crowd. He noted that a statue of Fredrick Douglas has just been dedicated just a few steps from where they were standing, inside the Capitol.

"A man born into slavery, but who knew instinctively that he was not born a slave," Glenn said to start his speech. "No man is."

Glenn highlighted that all Civil Rights movements boil down to one thing: Man's quest and desire for power.

"Someone has always been on the losing end of the stick of power," he said. " Blacks are the most obvious, the Chinese, the Native Americans — but let's not forget the Irish, the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jews, and now it seems all those of faith that will not conform."

But for those that believe the solution lies in putting the "collective" ahead of the individual, Glenn issued a stern warning…

"For those that think men make progress collectively, I warn you, history teachers: You couldn't be more wrong."

"We are redeemed one man at a time," he continued. "There is no family pass ticket or park hopping pass to life. One ticket — one at a time. man doesn’t vanquish hatred or bigotry. the target keeps moving. From the blacks to the Irish; atheists to Christians. But as always there are a few leaders: Ben Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Booker T Washington, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

They know that the march toward freedom never ends, man must be ever vigilant and pray less with his lips and more with his legs."

Glenn closed his speech by reminding the crowd that if they've been looking for a leader, and they haven't been able to find one, it might be because they're the leader they're looking for. And it's time to take a stand.

“Let us, today, raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”

On tonight's Glenn Beck Program, Glenn talked with Stu about his experience in D.C.:

Dana Loesch also joined Stu to talk about the wonderful crowd that descended on Washington D.C. today, and why she found herself so fired up.

See Glenn's complete remarks below:

Today, inside, they dedicated a new statue of another American giant, Fredrick Douglas – a man born into slavery, but who knew instinctively that he was not born a slave. No man is.

To keep a man a slave you do much the same as the cruel circus masters did to the elephant around the turn of last century. Clamp heavy chains around their legs and stake them to the ground. Then beat and terrorize them. After a while you no longer even have to stake the chain; the elephant gives up and just the mere rattle of the chain convinces the elephant there is no hope, so they give up and do what ever it is the circus requires.

Fredrick Douglas was lucky enough to live in a house where he was taught to read, write and think. He knew God did not make men masters over others. Nor did he ever intend any man to impose unrighteous dominion over another man or beast.

It is time we remind ourselves of this truth again, and begin to rise up against the intimidation before the handful of peanuts from our new political circus masters is considered a kindness and not the symbol of evil cruelty.

In the building behind me, they are now excusing storing all data, phone calls, financial transactions, geotracking on every American for our “safety,” while allowing anyone to cross our borders either on foot or in underground tunnels without any worry or consequence.

They have not suspended or fired butpromoted those at the IRS who rattled the chains of control to any group that disagreed with their policies. And now, after pushing misery and death through the so-called “Arab Spring” in country after country, they are plotting a new war with Syria. This will bring death and destruction the world over. We are told that we need to pick sides and arm those who are so far down the scale of decency that even Vladimir Putin asked Americans if they knew that those we are arming have literallyeaten their enemies on the battlefield.

The fact that he even needed to ask that question, and that most have never even seen the video of the commander of the rebel troops on TV engaging in this ungodly horror, is an indictment of our government officials and our media.

I am surrounded today by some modern-day spiritual giants. All from different faiths, different backgrounds and many different views. But we all have one thing in common. We don’t recognize our country anymore and because we know that God is just, we tremble for our children’s future.

We wonder, are we even worth defending anymore? If so, why? Who are we? And will we even notice or care when the chain is finally snapped around our legs?

What will be written about us? The greatest generation has passed. We who are historians will watch.

Will it be said that none called for justice not one pleaded for truth? They trusted in vanity and spoke lies. They conceived mischief and brought forth iniquity.

What is it we even believe as a people anymore? Where did we get these ideas that now seem so popular?

Our forbears came to these shores not for free stuff, but for freedom. The chance to make their own way, create a different life. They came here because they knew that God made them free to make their own way in life, take the risk, do their best and take responsibility for their own lives.

They came here because they wanted to serve Him in the way they believed, not as they were told.

But how many care about our history? And, of those who do care, how many really still believe?

Some things are worth believing in. That the little guy can make it. Every single life has value and is worth living. That honor and integrity do matter. That justice will prevail – if not in this life – then the next, and that God does exist. And what we do in our lives matters.

It is the meek and the humble that inherit the earth. Have we forgotten?

We have declared ourselves masters of the earth — spread our troops all over the world, taught the world how to do banking like we do it here in America.  Even though we can’t even master ourown homes, protect our neighborhoods, or simply balance a check book. How grotesque and garish we must appear to those looking in.

I, for one, still believe in the silly notion of truth, justice and the American way.

Since our founding, a good percentage of our fellow citizens closed their eyes to the civil rights of all Americans. “I’m okay. I don’t want to think of the bad things going on. I am busy. It doesn’t affect me. It can’t be that bad and even if it is, I am just one person and what can I do about it anyway?”

Nothing has changed, except the chairs at the table.

Someone has always been on the losing end of the stick of power. Blacks are the most obvious, the Chinese, the Native Americans, but lets not forget the Irish, the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jews, and now it seems all those of faith that will not conform.

For those that think men make progress collectively: I warn you, history teaches that you couldn’t be more wrong. We are redeemed one man at a time. There is no “family pass” ticket or park hopping pass to life. One ticket, one life at a time.

Man doesn’t vanquish hatred or bigotry. The target keeps moving. From the blacks to the Irish. Atheists to Christians.

But as always, there are a few leaders: Ben Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. They know that the march toward freedom never ends; man must be ever-vigilant and pray less with his lips and more with his legs.

They never forget that truth, justice, and freedom are the wellspring from which the waters of man’s civil rights come. And so they must be upheld for all men – those you know, those you do not, and maybe more importantly — they must be upheld for those who you do know but do not like or agree with at all.

If they are lost for one, in the end they are lost for all.

In the past, these historic stands which we now call civil rights movements were done by a small but dedicated portion of our citizens which led to great shifts in our culture.  But those movements always came from the same institutions … the church.  And usually not the church with the popular preacher, but the one who put it on the line to tell the people the truth.

Preachers like these men, who know that we are all born free, but that freedom comes at a great price — a profound responsibility to stand against injustice, hatred and bigotry. Our pulpits have gone quiet out of arrogance, fear and apathy. Their faith is found in the wisdom of man and not in the power of God. For some, losing tithing checks or the gold Rolex watch has become more important than losing man’s freedom.

Whatever the reason, too many are no longer willing to call evil by its name. There is no vision. And when there is no vision, the people perish.

I humbly suggest to you that Martin Luther King knew the answer, and he lost more than congregants during his long march. Students are taught that his vision came from the ideas of Gandhi. Maybe a new radical 20th century progressive philospher was the one that taught MLK that “although we be free of all men, when we choose to make ourselves servants to all, we gain the more.”

Let’s get a couple of things straight. What MLK and Gandhi did was not progressive or new. It was an ancient idea. Hollywood, Woodstock, nor the hippie culture was the source of power of the 1960s freedom movement.

God was.

He was leading those who risked their lives over that bridge in Selma, not Janice Joplin, Columbia University, or a labor union. It wasn’t John Lennon that taught people about love and peaceful resistance — that job fell on the shoulders of a Jewish carpenter. And it is there that we will find the answers that will break the chains that are being forged for a new generation of slaves.

The rights that so many Americans ignorantly preach about so often are not really their rights. They belong to God and they are given to us for stewardship. They are pretty important and obvious. So obvious that we used to say they were “self-evident,” meaning that humans don’t need to be taught; you instinctively know that you have a right not to be executed without a trial, held without charge, searched without warrant or spied upon without cause.

The government is no longer the protector of those civil rights, and so we must be. When we are told that it is okay for the IRS, EPA, ATF, FBI or anyone to hassle, threaten or intimidate others because of their skin color, religion or political belief, we stop being the country that we all want to build, and start being the country the world should fear.

The long train of abuses regarding these rights are the same MLK marched against, and the very same our dusty founders warned us about losing.

Men may make progress, but man never changes. Man loves power and money. No matter the skin color, religion or income level. These symbols of our nation make men drunk with power, who then justify their lust for more by claiming they are public servants. The only difference between Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. is that at least Vegas has the decency to admit the town is full of hookers and crooks.

We must sober up and admit that too many of the Republicans and the Democrats have played us, lied to us and stolen from us, while the getaway car was driven by the media. A media that can no longer claim with a straight face the role of journalist. Journalists print the things the powerful don’t want printed. What they do is public relations. Those PR firms will not print the truth about the average American who finds himself concerned with the direction of our country today. So we must.

We are not violent. We are not racist. We are not anti immigrant. We are not anti-government. And we will not be silent anymore.

Those who wish to use unrighteous dominion over mankind are not enemies of ours; they are enemies of God, and He will not be silent much longer either.

We will no longer accept the lies, the corruption, or the information and data gathering. It is evil. And we come here today to send a message that we will surround all of those who wish to stand and break the cycle of corruption. We will use ourselves as shields to protect those in the system, the elected officials or whistle blowers with the courage to stand.

We come here today to respectfully, but with the power of the spirit, demand to be treated as an equal member of society. I am a man, and I will be treated as such. I answer to only one king and His kingdom will come, His will be done. We have chosen sides and we choose God. America as a nation must do the same, as well.

We come today to declare our independence, to reaffirm our founding principles. We, as a nation, acknowledge a creator. We acknowledge that he gives certain natural, guaranteed rights to man. We declare that government exists primarily to protect these natural, God-given rights. He has established right and wrong. He is just and therefore, man must pay for his mistakes either now on Earth, or through God’s justice later.

There is no such thing as social justice. Only God can balance things out, and we are not God. But honest and decent men can fight for and establish equal justice.

There is no such thing as collective salvation. We, however, are going to be judged on how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters. Thus we must serve them, help them with charity toward all. “Malice toward none,” Lincoln said. God said it slightly differently – vengeance is mine.

Anyone who speaks of punishing their political enemies in on the wrong side. It is clearly evil and we have a responsibility to say so.

America: it is now your time to rise up and boldly declare those same self-evident truths that changed the world, and demand that those truths remain the basis of our laws.

My civil rights will not be trampled, and I say this not for me but for my children, and all those who yearn to breathe free. Those who make your Apple products at Foxxcon, those who languish in prisons in Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela. Those homosexuals who are stoned to death in the streets of Egypt or Iran, while our so-called civil rights leaders hold coffee klatches with third graders in the White House.

We will stand not for our job, house or income, but we will stand for those immigrants who came here the right way, and not have their dreams destroyed by increasing competition at the lowest rung of the ladder while keeping the brightest and best minds out of the visa pool allowing for little competition at the top.

We will not pervert women’s rights and twist it into a gross silent defense of abortion doctors in Philly and Houston while turning our eyes from the forgotten women who have never had the civil right to walk alone on a street without a man, or to drive a car in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, and even those who now cower in fear with their faces covered in states like Florida, Virginia, New York and Minnesota.

We will not waste another second shadow boxing the demons of the past when the fight to end actual slavery is still happening today. Call it what you will, but those who make your iPad in China – those who make your cute little Mao purses – are the very people you claim to care so much about. They are the ones yearning to breathe free. And worse, there is the oldest form of human degradation man has ever known, the sex slave trade that currently has in its coils over 2 million children. The biggest source of this evil is a wide open hole in our Arizona border.

We beg the American people to wake up and help the 8-year-old children being sold into sex slavery. The press may say, ‘How dare these men declare themselves the next Martin Luther King or civil rights leaders?’

How blind to believe the civil rights movement ever ended. The civil rights movement never ends, and it never will. It has been marching since the beginning of time. Where Martin Luther King started is where Gandhi left off, and where he started, Abe Lincoln left off, and before that Whitfield all the way back to Moses. God has not moved. We have. But it is never too late. We are not at the mercy of these events. We can alter the course of history. We can stand against the dangerous arc of this story.

But we need people who are willing to speak truth.

The last century was a century of genocide. A century where collectivist, national socialist, and communist evil rose up again and again… swallowing up the lives of millions. It happens every time man says the collective is more important than the right of the individual. That one phrase becomes in the end – every time – a license to kill anyone deemed to be standing in the way of progress.

But evil met its match. Goodness eventually prevailed. People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lech Walesa and Mother Theresa awoke the world. They gave their lives to the pursuit of human rights. They took the side of justice against injustice; they held aloft the torch of freedom to push out the darkness of hate. These men and women lived difficult lives. They often lived shortened lives. They were often born to relative privilege, but willing to take on suffering. They did want not to martyr themselves. They would have happily lived to the end of their natural lives in comfort… but to the righteous, there is no comfort when evil has taken root.

But the cause of human rights has been taken over by organizations who share little with the individuals who led the movement. Human rights was once a cry for justice. Now it used as a threat. These organizations have become bullies and grotesque parodies of the principles they pretend to represent. They criticize free nations and spare the unfree. They denounce nations like Israel and America, who have high standards for freedom, and leave alone nations that have no freedom at all. They are nearly comical in their double-standards.

They are no more than the enforcers or the attack dogs of those who wish to keep men confined in spaces they design. Whatever moral force they once had is spent. Their time is up. And so, we dismiss them. Today we take back the phrase “human rights” and place it where it belongs, as the first half of God’s plan for humanity. The second half is responsibility.

If we want to be endowed with rights – real human rights, we have to act with responsibility. We must not be comfortable with rights. We must be comfortable with responsibility.

Who will protect your rights better? A king, president or you?

Who will protect the truth? A reporter, a labor union or you?

Who will protect and teach your children to seek truth? A textbook committee, an education bureaucrat, or you?

Did a commission of wise men stop the Holocaust? Did a committee of Congress end Jim Crow?

No. In each case, the work was done by individuals who would not abide convenient lies.

They saw injustice and they called it out. They saw their nation wage war against a single group and they said “not in my name.” They didn’t wait for the conventions of society to catch up to God’s laws. They pushed. They pressed. And they were victorious.

Each of us have been waiting for a leader to rise from among us. And none have. How many have been called and refused to serve? How many must have failed to heed the call for the Lord to make it all the way down to us?

I pray now that those who have heard the call to rise up in the tradition of peaceful resistance do so now before, as it was with Bonhoeffer, it is too late. I beg those with eyes and ears to heed the call and begin to train under the exact system used by MLK. Search his words out. You will find that your history professors and civil rights activists left out the real author of the words of Gandhi, King and Bonhoeffer.

Read them, ponder them, and risk living them. Even though they will make you a target of the NSA, having your name on their list as an enemy may in the end be the way your name is forever etched in his book of life.

Pastors, priests and rabbis: I challenge you. What have you done with your knowledge and priesthood power that those without have not done this week? If you cannot answer that with power every day, what does that say about you?

Average citizens and college students: I challenge you. Martin Luther King didn’t take a class, get a certificate and a bunch of permits. He saw injustice, studied eternal truths, exercised discipline and marched.

If you don’t find a leader, perhaps it is because you were meant to lead.

Christians: I believe in the free market. If your preacher is too afraid to preach it from the pulpit, maybe you should preach it from the street corner. Many are called. Will you answer?

Our spiritual body is out of shape and we need intensive training right now.

Get back to God, and know that some things are true and worth believing in. The good guysdo win in the end. Evil does not stand unless good men never rise up. The time is now and we are the people the world is waiting for. We must never stop being the shore that others can come to for shelter and hope.

But to do so we must realign ourselves with truth and rise up and stand. This is the vision. We must preach good tidings to the meek, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to those held captive. To declare vengeance belongs to God and God alone. We must give unto those who mourn — beauty for ashes and water the trees of righteousness. We shall not perish.

I can’t help that most of us don’t like to hear the truth, but hear it we must: George Washington told us religion and morality are the only stable and lasting basis of individual life and public policy. If we are to survive, they must be part of our public policy rather than driven from it.

It is no longer enough to just be a good person. We must work to be the next Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. It is noble to strive to be the size of the bronze giant they dedicated this morning in the building behind me. Fredrick Douglas’ time was in the 1800; King’s time has passed. This is our time. This is the next long march toward civil rights and we shall overcome.

Stand without fear, lock arms and stare down the bullies that wish to enslave mankind yet again.

Honor, courage and love are what is required, and they are contagious. Spread the word and proclaim liberty throughout the land.

“Let us, today, raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.”

He may not be a super hero like he plays in the movies, but Chris Pratt is proving once again why he's a hero to so many. The silver screen protector of the universe announced on his Instagram page a contest that will benefit the Brain Treatment Foundation, who is a partner of Mercury One that does amazing work with veterans. The Brain Treatment Foundation specializes in helping combat veterans who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The contest asks fans to donate $10 to the foundation for a chance to win a trip to drop in on the Guardians of the Galaxy star on the set of his new film Tomorrow War.

Watch his video below to hear all the details.


Ryan: The Ascent of Kanye West

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Apollo, god of poetry, light, prophecy, dance. Star of Greek mythology, rivaled only by Zeus, his father. God of justice. God of purification, knowledge, healing. God of the Sun. But most of all, god of music. So they called him the Leader of the Muses.

And on a bright Sunday morning midway through November, at the tail end of a decade, Kanye West looked out at the congregation of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a 16,000-seater originally built for the Houston Rockets, and said, "Jesus has won the victory: Now the greatest artist God ever created is now working for him."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye's newest album, Jesus Is King, had been out for three weeks, and like every Kanye album, it was controversial, as adored as it was unaccepted.

Critics had shown a mostly tepid response, but nobody could tell if their disinterest was genuine, or if it was politically motivated.

After all, for the past year, Kanye had once again managed to penetrate the epicenter of American society. The last two Presidents had literally shamed and cursed Kanye, but, still, who could've guessed he would befriend this one?

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The week after Kanye's Olsteen appearance, at the House impeachment hearings, as the entire country watched and listened, Congressmen and diplomats would mention longtime Kanye collaborator A$AP Rocky no less than five times, in casual reference to the Kardashians and the deal between Trump and Sweden, struck at the urging of Kanye West.

Meanwhile, Jesus is King became the ninth consecutive Kanye album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 — a feat he shares with Eminem and The Beatles — and the sixth time in the 2010s alone. And, to be fair, his only studio album not to debut at number one was The College Dropout, his first, which went triple platinum and earned the third-most Grammy nominations in one night, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with "Jesus Walks."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Jesus is King was also the first record ever to top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, Christian Albums, and Gospel Albums simultaneously. All eleven tracks charted on the US Billboard 100, joining the other 96 Kanye songs to have landed on the Top 100.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

This album was different, and not just because of Kenny G. For the first time, Kanye was not a god or a self-destructive fallen angel. He was a father, a husband, a son, and, most important, a man full of belief, with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a choir.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a breakdown," he told the congregation, "and there's documentations of me drawing a church and writing about starting a church in the middle of Calabasas."

That night, following an afternoon of ice-skating at the Galleria, Kanye returned to Lakewood Church and performed a concert. Imagine hearing a his electro-gospel opera in an arena designed, acoustically, for professional basketball games. Only better, because everything had been padded. With LSD graphics on the swirly blue carpet.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When we experience art, it changes us.

So there I was, four rows from the stage, crying in front of FoxNews. Because Kanye had brought his Sunday Service choir with him, and they were singing "Ultralight Beam," one of the few perfect songs ever made, a song that played during my wedding ceremony, the song my daughter, God willing, will be born to, a song I have never once listened to without at least tearing up.

“Jesus Is King" A Sunday Service Experience at Lakewood Church with Kanye West youtu.be

"This is a God dream, this is a God dream. This is everything."

Kanye was the only person onstage dressed in his own clothing, a neatened blazer. The choir were draped in grey, like holy silhouettes.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

So who cares about FoxNews and their snotty reporters in their shoulder-padded blazers. The rest of us had drifted into the immediacy of it all. And I wasn't about to play stoic journalist here. I wasn't a reporter first and a human or an American later.

The choir zigzagged on the loft flanking the stage. Each of them had a headset microphone, like Garth Brooks.

God only knew how they sang so perfectly. How did they project their voices like that? More beautiful than anything we had ever heard, more beautiful than water.

After "Ultralight Beam," it was "Every Hour," the mesmeric opening track of Jesus Is King.

Sing every hour, Every minute, Every second, Sing each and every millisecond, We need you

Every Hour youtu.be

The performance felt all the more sacred because this was church, where people gathered to lose themselves, to sing as a chorus, to confront who they really are.

Across the street, one protestor stood hollering.

Meanwhile thousands of people waited at the entrance, giddy to get in. They would join us in no time. Soon, they would fill every seat in this church.

*

That morning, Kanye told Olsteen,

"It's like the devil stole all the good producers, all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said, 'you gotta come over and work for me.' And now the trend, the shift, is going to change."

Jesus Is King was the result of a new cultural and artistic movement that more or less started with 2016's Life of Pablo, Kanye's closeted gospel album. Which was a surprising departure from 2013's Yeezus, with its tangled social commentary and fashionable solipsism. And that drum sound, the one every half-decent producer has spent the last six years failing to emulate.

The 2010's saw him grow more cerebral. He even teased a book of philosophy titled Break the Simulation.

Then, in 2018, he released Ye, the second of five albums in a Kanye-produced series, all recorded at his Wyoming studio. In keeping with the criticisms of hip-hop he voiced on "Ye vs. The People"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye eschewed many of the themes he'd embraced for so long, replacing them with meditations on mental illness, fatherhood, suicide, love, and addiction. The album's working title had been "LOVE EVERYONE."

On "I Thought About Killing You," he raps,

The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.

The title "Ye" is not just the diminutive of "Kanye."

As he said in an interview

I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and, in the Bible, it means 'you,' so it's [saying] "I'm you, I'm us, it's us." It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything, that I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, just as beings.

Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote that

All individuality is a manifestation of universal life, and hence everyone carries a tiny bit of everyone else with him, so that divination is simulated by comparison with oneself.

In the months following the release of Ye, Kanye would live out this idea, and build his own movement, a reflection of who we are, then begin his church in Calabasas.

*

At 10:30 that morning, the three of us — Samantha Sullivan, my wife Caroline, and me —- strolled into the arena and claimed seats in the media section.

That place resembled the inside of an ant colony. We were three ants.

The service began with errorless music, then shifted into a quick, stirring message by Osteen, who always seemed to appear onstage from nowhere, privvy to the kind of big-money stage tricks you find at a Shania Twain concert.

The entire place and all the Jumbo-Trons and all the people, it all had a cinematic presence.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

A preliminary giddiness spread through the room. Then, Kanye emerged, there on the stage, and the place erupted.

A man in a "Jesus is King" shirt danced around his seat.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Everyone took their seats, but one man standing in the crowd shouted affirmations. "Speak truth my brother," he shouted.

The man shouted several more times, then Kanye politely told the guy to hold off on the support because it wasn't helping, because Kanye needed relative quiet to capture and release his flow.

The ceiling glowed in skittish purple.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye described the corrupting force of the media. A chill came over the room. Behind him, the unapologetic blue of Jesus Is King.

It was my first encounter with Joel Osteen, and I was surprised and somewhat baffled to find him likeable, based on everything I'd ever heard about the man.

Kanye said as much, that Osteen is nothing like the version of Osteen many people have broadcast.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Osteen laughed, "When you've got Kanye defending you, you've made it, man."

Rays of light danced through the arena. I'm talking Pink Floyd light show levels.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

With 21 Grammys, Kanye is tied with Jay-Z as the most decorated hip-hop artist of all time.

Osteen asked Kanye what he would say to his younger self, if he could go back in time.

"You know, it's nothing I can say to the younger Kanye through words," he said. "I could speak to the younger Kanye through music."

*

Osteen played the middle section of "God Is," arguably the focal point of the album.

And Kanye danced and rapped along with it. And the surreality of the situation was daunting. Was that really Kanye West up there? with Joel Osteen? dancing to his gospel song?

Six or seven years ago, I saw Kanye a mile away at the Toyota Center — coincidentally, the current home of the Houston Rockets — for his and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne tour. It was a much different experience than this.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When Kanye finished, the media flooded out. As did a quarter of the people in the congregation. This bothered many of the regulars.

Security and ushers yanked big grey mop buckets from cabinets, and dispersed them down aisles, and money music played.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then the time for prayer. Prayer leaders lined the walls and pews. And anyone could walk over to them and pray. Men and women clung to strangers, crying sometimes, hugging. Holding hands, whispering phrases.

*

One of the media coordinators pulled us out of the sermon, led us through passageways and elevators, past classrooms and security guards, through a black sheet, then behind a barricade.

This is where all the media had rushed off to like old folks trying to get the best seat for bingo.

Each news outlet was allowed one question.

After 15 minutes, the energy changed and you could tell they were near.

Then, Kim Kardashian-West was walking our way, holding her daughter's hand, followed by Kanye, who was followed by Osteen.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

"Nice tags," Kanye said, referring to my "GOOD" necklace.

Then:

Brief interview with Kanye West and Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Nov. 17 in Houston, TX www.youtube.com

Some of the outlets asked more than one question, but that was on them. They were the ones sinning in church.

*

As Kanye and Olsteen shuffled away, down the line of journalists, I said hello to a small crew from FoxNews as they packed their equipment.

"We're from TheBlaze," I said, smiling. To which they sneered and glanced at one another then got back to their conversation.
Samantha rolled her eyes and the three of us wandered around for an exit.

"Did we just get stiff-armed by Fox News?" Said one of us. "I didn't think they were allowed to look down on anybody."
"I've had that with people from Fox on several occasions," one of us replied.

"I mean, I thought I was doing them a favor a favor by acknowledging them. Nobody else does."

Then it happened again, a few minutes later, this time with someone we had worked with, someone who knew us.
You bet we were salty.

Bad as it felt to be judged like that, it was good to be underestimated. A relief. It meant we could perform without anyone caring or watching.

They had no idea who we were or what we were really doing. Good.

*

In November 2007, Kanye's mother died during a routine surgery. He and his mom, Dr. Donda West, had always been incredibly close. She raised him alone, after Kanye's father left, when Kanye was three.

A few months later, his engagement with Alexis Phifer abruptly ended.

He was 30 at the time.

Oddly, this tragic sequence of events would cause the birth of auto-tune in rap. Broken-hearted, Kanye wanted to sing. So he ran his voice through a vocoder.

Kanye's album 808s & Heartbreak, which like Jesus is King has no curse words, shoved music ahead at least two decades, into a world of synth-driven robotic R&B/Rap love songs belted out in janky auto-tune. That description doesn't sound ridiculous today. But that's only because Kanye eschewed the stale hip-hop of the early 2000s and reinvented the genre, something he has accomplished with every album.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then, he went on tour. But he never took off any time following his mother's death. And, by the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he'd fallen to what he calls his sunken place.

He and then-girlfriend Amber Rose brought a bottle of Hennessy with them to the award show. They took slugs in the limo. Then on the red carpet.

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye stormed the podium, sunglasses on, and grabbed the microphone, said "Imma let you finish," then let everyone know the award should've gone to Beyoncé, for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."

He was kicked out immediately. He tweeted, "Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real."

Followed by an apology. Then a few days later, during an appearance on debut episode of "The Jay Leno Show"

Leno asked Kanye, "What do you think [your mom] would have said about this?"

That hit Kanyelike a punch to the jaw. He teared up, froze.

He publicly apologized to Swift. Several times.

But it did little to quell the blowback. Once again, it felt like the entire nation hated Kanye. Compounded by a hot-mic recording of Barack Obama — the country's first black President — calling Kanye a jackass.

So the embattled Kanye retreated to Hawaii to record a masterpiece, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*

"We are a Christian country," Kanye said at one point, to uproarious applause.

The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, believe in a higher power.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

And America has the largest number of Christians in the world, with roughly 167,000,000, comprising 65-to-70 percent of the population. But that's down from 80 percent, as part of a downward trend over the last two decades.

The percent of Americans who attend a religious service of any kind — church, synagogue, or mosque — is even lower, less than half.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

One political scientist blamed the public's growing distrust in institutions. Another blamed conservatives. A writer from New York Magazine took it a step further.

Meanwhile, David French.

As always, the issue is far more nuanced than either side will admit.

Somehow, in the last twenty years, church and religion had become not just uncool, but slightly villainous.

All day, every time I looked around — at people singing, at people dancing, at people crying in joy or in the relief and recognition of their pain — I thought, "How could this ever be a bad thing?"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

I had spent my life going to concerts, had seen Kanye West numerous times, and this was something other than a concert, and unlike anything I'd seen from Kanye. It was also more than just religious or spiritual.

A family of strangers in a city of 6 million, in a world of 7-and-a-half billion, broadcast live, led by a man who fought off the devil in front of us for years. Who struggled with life just like we do, only we could nitpick through the one-way mirrors of our phones and our TVs.

But, now, he had been baptized in public.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Some people were still negative about Kanye's recent faith, especially Christians. As Kanye raps on "Hands On"

What have you been hearin' from the Christians?
They'll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Consensus was, they couldn't believe him. As a Kanye fan since I was 13, I can tell you that he is genuine. It's really his only setting. Plus, his spiritual transformation has been building for quite some time.

*

By the time we returned to Lakewood that evening, the sky had turned dark blue, and frantic with airplanes.

The sidewalks around the arena overflowed with people. Police cars jutted out in crooked lines to block entrances or exits, the strobe of red-white-blue whirling onto pedestrians' faces.

Across the street, facing the giant arena, a man with a bullhorn ranted about the evils of sinful music.

Earlier that day, sheepish protestors had occupied the spot, holding red poster-sized letters that spelled out "I M P E A C H." There were only four of them, though, so they had to double up and share, and sometimes the "H" slanted down or the "I" slipped loose.

"Impeach Kanye?" one of us said, laughing.

"Kanye 2020," shouted someone.

The air was electric. People bounced when they stepped, or walked faster than normal, or turned oddly as they spoke like a third-year professor.

They sang along as they passed traffic-jam cars, most of which were blasting Kanye.

A chorus of police whistles and the usual rumble of semi-trucks passing on US-59. Just down the street, porn shops and strip clubs and a Ferrari dealership. Immediately Southwest, the Mahatma Ghandi District. West, the Galleria, home of the opulent Galleria mall, where Kanye and Kim and family gone ice-skating earlier.

Inside the arena, a different world, low-lit and glowing. A dreamscape of lambent crimsons and violets, a deeper, warmer, slower take on the lights atop the police cars outside. Globular squares of blue were arrayed along the ceiling.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When the musicians emerged to their instruments, the arena was still half-empty. The show had already been delayed 40 minutes. The demand to get in was so ferocious that the security gate was jammed up like a glass Ketchup jar.

Then, like spirits, men and women drifted onstage in all-grey uniforms and matching hats that looked like they should say "VIETNAM VETERAN" but actually said "Sunday Service."

Every single member wore brand-new grey YEEZY Boosts.

From the start, the performance was cinematic, a sort of new-world opera sung by a chorus of young American muses with nose rings or gold chains or dreadlocks or pink hair.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

From the huddle, a young man rose, and began reciting a poem. It was the invocation of the muse.

Gadamer wrote that poetry "becomes a test of what is true, in that the poem awakens a secret life in words that had seemed to be used up and worn out, and tells us of ourselves"

*

After a whirling rendition of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," the choir began "Ultralight Beam."

They let the song spread. It grew enormous.

The air swirled as the song widened.

Kanye waited out of view, then appeared without ceremony.

A collective gasp when people recognized the melody of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Which sounds like a dream already, with all that wilderness.

So it was even stranger when the song morphed into SWV's "Weak," a skating rink anthem written by Charlie Wilson of the GAP Band. A classic.

The choir were their own countervailing force. Yet they also connected us to the drama of the performance.
Looking back, I wish I could live in those moments forever.

*

Then came their cover of "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barrett And the Youth for Christ Choir.

Father Stretch My Hands www.youtube.com

Kanye has paid homage to Barrett's track on two different songs, from two different albums.

It was his prayer.

Pastor T.L. Barrett, a man who's lived an exciting and at times difficult life, only to become a Pentecostal preacher on Chicago's south side, and form a choir of 40 teenagers from his weekly choir practice.

If you dive into Barrett, you'll better understand what Kanye is doing.

*

Ten seats from Kim Kardashian-West, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) stared ahead in a neat grey suit, occasionally poking at his phone and blasting people on Twitter.

Which means there were at least two people in the building who have appeared on Saturday Night Live.

There were other politicians, including Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. And even more at the earlier service. You could tell they were politicians the same you can tell a vegan burger from a real Whopper. Several times, Kanye held up his phone up and read the words from his newer songs.

Like "Selah," which built into "Hallelujah"s at the end, intoxicating and perfect, like being sucked into an undertow. Which led into "Follow God," a continuation of "Father I Stretch My Hands."

Kanye uses the image of stretched hands to express his own submission and the process that leads to his healing. As a reference to John 21:18

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

But the song is also about Kanye's literal father, and an argument they had. Then, under it all, he adds a sample of "Can You Lose By Following God" by Whole Truth. He ended the song with his Kanye shriek, somewhat confusing and abrasive with a choir present.

Then — something I did not expect. The thumping bass of Cajmere's "Brighter Days (Underground Goodie Mix)."

And now this was cosmic gospel.

It felt like a rave. Have you been to a rave? It's people dancing, taking MDMA. That is what it felt like.

Flourishes like that were part of Kanye's genius. No other gospel performance would dare. You won't find that kind of diversity at any other hip-hop show, either. The acoustic instruments, the choir. Maybe during a set by electronic musicians like Moodyman or DJ Koze. But, no choir. Yet here Kanye was, at Joel Osteen's church, blasting classic techno.

Oddly enough, though, the most popular song of the night was "Closed on Sunday," Kanye's ode to Chic-Fil-A.

Everyone in the arena knew the words. So then there were two choirs, in a dialogue. I didn't think it was possible, but the collective harmony got even more intense and engulfing than it had all night. So much so that the house speakers started to peak in one corner of the arena.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The Ancient Greeks were the first to use a chorus. In the 5th Century B.C., 50 actors would gather in the orchestra pit and sing in unison, commenting on the action of the play, describing scenes to the audience. They were a collective force. They represented one character, who was able to connect the audience to the characters and events onstage.

Kim Kardashian was front and center filming with her phone, as two of the West kids jumped around on the trippy blue carpet.

The performance was nearing its end, and suddenly Kanye was dressed like everybody else in the choir. Grey Yeezy kit and the Sunday Service hat. His transformation. From Kanye West to Pastor Ye, stretching hands.

Then, he was gone.
One by one, the choir began fluttering off the stage, to the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine."

Half were gone, when I noticed the singer with braided hair crying. With every exhale, she collapsed her hands into the floor. Let them fall like tired flowers. Arrayed in fitful blue. She gasped. She heaved her shoulders like a wingspan. For a moment it was like she would actually take flight.

A security guard peered over the railing from above the stage. He looked like God.Symbolically, he was.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

Don't believe in time travel? Think it's just a wild conspiracy theory reserved for late night alien radio programs? Well, we have unearthed bombshell evidence that will blow you away and have you questioning everything!

A 120-year-old photo PROVES climate change activist teen Greta Thunberg is actually a time traveler warning all generations of the dangers of global warming.

Glenn did some exhaustive research and found several other photos and subjects in historical paintings. Check them out here and see if you are now a believer:

Warning Elvis fans

Ryan: Suction energy, pt. 1

Photo by Sean Ryan

After his speech at the Boone County fairgrounds, Joe Biden nodded and people engulfed him like he was their oxygen. Journalists shouted questions, photographers shoved people aside. Biden's bodyguards even drew closer. I found a good oak tree and hid out in the shade, 100 yards from the chaotic huddle.

Photo by Sean Ryan

They shoved closer and closer and closer, with a vacant urgency to their eyes. They had to get as close as possible. It was like some force of nature had taken control of everyone, and now their only goal was to merge their lifeforce with Biden's.

The frenzy of writhing arms and contorted bodies reminded me of Shark Week, when the hulking Great White breaks through the protective cage and how's the diver gonna make it out alive this time?

*

A need for convergence, often leading to upheaval.

Most of the Democratic candidates caused this effect. As did their opponent, to a far greater degree. Because he was the president, and he was Donald Trump, so, for the time being, he embodied this magnetism more fully than anyone else in the entire world.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Every time Trump entered a room or a building or a space of any kind, every person within a reasonable distance felt it. And they couldn't help but bob their head around, and arch up on their tiptoes, scouring till they saw him, and then all they could do was lean forward and wonder if it was actually him.

Some of the Democratic candidates had a stronger magnetism than others. Which meant the gravitational pull had laws that guided it. The term I started using for it was "suction energy."

It was something you could physically feel.

At the Iowa State Fair, Bernie Sanders' suction energy was so intense, so visceral that it reminded me of a hurricane.

Photo by Sean Ryan

People wanted to be as close to the man as possible. They wanted a picture. Proof that it happened—that they had actually seen someone that famous.

And they were perfectly right. And their reactions were understandable and lovely even, and altogether innocent. Encouraging. Because they were genuine.

Even journalists were susceptible to suction energy. In fact, they could spazz even harder. Unlike the public, they were there as workers.

*

Suction energy is an art, something you cultivate. But it's also a result of luck and reality. Some people will just never have an ounce of it.

Take, for instance, Jay Insleey, who was apparently a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2020 election. At some point in my travels, I wound up in the same place as him.

Maybe it was a couple times. A couple, two, three. I can't remember.

All I know is that I went to Clear Lake, Iowa for the Democratic Wing Ding, to see Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and the 20 other candidates, and this guy Jay Insless ... sorry, I mean Inslee took the stage at some point. It's hard to say when exactly because, as I mentioned, he was impressively forgettable, like a human thumbtack.

Wing Ding featured Jay Insee?Photo by Sean Ryan

He was yammering about something, and, man, he looked and sounded like P.C. Principal, from South Park, and that was pretty funny.

I told my dad, and then we were both laughing. Then my dad did an imitation of P.C. Principal, and we were really hooting.
Then all I could think about was P.C. Principal. So I ducked out into the hall to watch a P.C. Principal clip compilation, and I laughed and laughed and nobody went "Shush!," because there were plenty of others like me.

Photo by Sean Ryan

And, boy, I laughed. I was actually a bit sad when the clip was over. I'd forgotten where I was, and when I caught a glimpse of the guy onstage, my sadness deepened into pity. The feeling you get when you realize that the amateur thinks he can beat the professional. When the replacements think they will know valor. When your dog thinks they're going to the park, but really it's the vet, and they wake up without balls.

Do we have an obligation, a moral imperative, to tell a Square when she's trying to shove into a Triangle hole? How much teeth-lettuce does a person lodge into their incisors before you are inclined to alert them?

Like, after this speech, that guy John Insley, would wander around the walkways of the Surf Ballroom, same as Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang, only he'd lack their glow.

Crowds flocking to Kamala HarrisPhoto by Sean Ryan

At one point, he'd clench his jaw into what must have been a smile, ready for any nearby journalists to sneak a candid photo or rush forward for a quote.

Photo by Sean Ryan

If any of the others noticed, they didn't let on. So here was this chubby kid in a costume knocking on the front door, and I know full well Halloween was weeks ago, but who's gonna feed the harmless lie if I don't?

Photo by Sean Ryan

Nobody, that's who.

So I groaned and shrugged and told my dad, "Let's give the tubby kid some Starburst."

"Wha?" he asked.

Then I asked would he get a picture of that candidate over there.

"Who," he replied. As in, "I can't see an important person over there, which one is running for president?"

In other words, Insleep had absolutely zero suction energy. To a near-magical extent.

Within a few weeks, he would announce the end of his campaign on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Yet there he was, somehow center stage, looking out at the packed Surf Ballroom, where, on February 2, 1959, Buddy Holly played his last show.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Buddy Holly, now there's a man with suction energy. So much suction energy that, when he died, music went with him.

*

When I saw Kamala during the week of the Iowa State Fair, she was at the height of her campaign, having climbed to second place, within nine points of Biden.

Everywhere I went, there was Harris, with her personalized KAMALA bus, and her chartered press pool, and her entourage of staff and fans and media.

Photo by Sean Ryan

On the first Saturday of the Fair, my dad and I wound up seeing Harris five times. Five times! In part because she could hustle. She wanted that job. But also because she understood power and optics.

Before her speech at Jasper Winery, (when she played savage 4D chess with Andrew Yang, she spoke to several hundred people packed into the atrium of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, her fourth rally of that day.

Photo by Sean Ryan

When she finished her speech, a horde surged straight for her, eighty or so.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Just a month earlier, The New Yorker had run a glowing profile on Harris. That was huge. As of the release of this story, Harris was the only 2020 presidential candidate that The New Yorker had featured.

Photo by Sean Ryan

At that point of the election, excitement for Harris was so intense that it seemed obvious she would get the nomination, or close to it. So I wrote five pieces about her.

But by the time I finished all five stories and added them to the publishing schedule, Harris had sunk 11 points to 4 percent, which put her in 8th place. In New Hampshire, the first state to hold primaries, she was polling at 1 percent. By comparison, Biden, Warren, and Sanders were locked at 19.

Now, the only headlines were about her foundering campaign and her dwindling cash and her downsized staff. In each case, the sentiment was the same, "Whatever happened to Kamala Harris?"

Which answer a question I posed in my first story. Would Harris "I got this one in the bag" attitude help her or ruin her? Turns out the ostentatious bus and the unnecessary press accommodations had been a premature move, and now she just seemed cocky.
Because suction energy can, and often does, vanish in an instant.

A Bernie can always become a Jay InslepInslee. Nobody is immune, no matter how powerful they appear. Look at Bill Cosby. Harvey Weistein. Both were godlike in their power. Both had a gravitational pull so intense that they raped women for decades and nobody did a thing. Cosby's suction energy was so intense that he collected honorary degrees like a vacuum collects dog hair. 70 of them. Then, off to prison to eat pudding in the dark.

By the time I saw Harris at the Democratic Debate in Houston, a month after she stormed Iowa, she'd begun transforming into Joe Biden, focused on all the wrong things, laughing at her own jokes, without realizing that nobody else was laughing.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com