WATCH: ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith defends NFL player suspended for negative tweets

Shortly after the St. Louis Rams selected Michael Sam – the first openly gay player to be drafted by a NFL franchise – in the seventh round on Saturday, Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible.” The tweets, seemingly in response to ESPN’s coverage of Sam kissing his boyfriend, were ultimately taken down, and Jones apologized for his comments. That did not stop the NFL, however, from fining Jones an undisclosed amount and excusing him from all team activities until he completes “educational training” related to his comments.

On Monday’s radio program, Glenn couldn’t help but ask: Regardless of how you feel about Jones’ comments, “can we stop driving people out of society for having a different opinion?” ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith took a similar position.

While Smith admitted he hadn’t seen the full footage of the kiss, he said that if the kissing happened as it has been described to him he would have told them the same thing he would say to a heterosexual couple: “Get a room.” He made it clear, however, that the act of a man kissing another man does not bother him personally.

Furthermore, Smith finds Jones’ punishment troubling.

“I think it’s a very, very dangerous thing when people see something and they have a problem with what they’re seeing and they express themselves, and ultimately they’re fined,” he said.

Watch Smith’s full comments below:

On radio this morning, Glenn commended Smith for taking such a strong stand. He did, however, point out that Smith’s assertion that he is “of the mind-set that there is freedom of speech” is part of the problem. There is no “mind-set” of free speech, rather we believe free speech to be an a self-evident truth.

“I agree with him. It's what I said yesterday: Get a room. That was my exact response. I didn't see it either, but get a room. I would say that to a straight couple. Get a room,” Glenn said. “I don't know about anybody else, but this isn't a gay thing… It's just inappropriate. Can we have some appropriate behavior? There's no line of what's appropriate anymore. So get a room. There's the first thing.”

With that in mind, Glenn explained the erosion of free speech in today’s society:

Then he says ‘I am of the mind-set that there is freedom of speech.’ ‘I am of the mind-set.’ We hold these truths to be self-evident… meaning: It's true. It's universally true – not just true to America – that all men are created equal, and they have certain inalienable rights, rights that no one can take away from you, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We spell them out specifically in the Bill of Rights. [They are] not the rights the government grants you. They are the rights the government cannot change, ever. They cannot get close to them. They can't touch them. They cannot violate them because they don't come from anyone. They come from our creator.

Those rights are freedom of speech and freedom of… religion… the freedom to assemble… They all boil down to your right to express yourself, which is what the gay activists have always said, ‘They just want to express themselves.’ That's fine. In an appropriate way, just like… you don't need to see a straight couple making out all the time.

But beyond that, there is freedom of speech. And [Smith] says, you know, if you're going to go on Twitter and speak your mind, well, there are ramifications. Yes, there are ramifications. But you notice the left is always saying that corporations don't have freedom of speech. Well, they sure understand they have freedom of speech. In fact, they are trying to shut down their freedom of speech every step of the way because it's not the corporations that are making the decision. It is a group… whether this is the Tea Party activists or the gay activists – it is about 10,000 people usually maximum that are the hard core going after them every single day. I am willing the picket them. It is about 10,000 people out of 300 million people… who are hard core. The rest of us, gay, straight, religious, atheist, are like, ‘Can we just stop it? Can we just get along? I'll turn the channel.’ That's the truth that nobody wants to say.

There are ramifications to your speech, but the problem is that these groups, these 10,000 that represent all that is righteous and holy on any front… have decided that they are the holy keeper of all truths, and they will enforce it. So the companies are not making the decision based on the companies because if the companies were really truly making right decisions, if they were making them in reason, they would never advertise on CNN. They would never advertise on CNN, ever. They would advertise on TheBlaze. They would advertise on Fox News, [who has] greater numbers… [But] the ramifications aren't even in the free market anymore.

Then he says he's ‘not qualified.’ I'm not qualified to speak on this. And this is where I want to beseech you and beg you to become qualified to talk on this. What do you mean you're not qualified to talk about this? Hutch taught me something important. I was on a plane, with a bunch of preachers, pastors and rabbis, and I said basically that, I'm not qualified. They all laughed at me. And Hutch looked at me and said, ‘What in your wildest dreams gives you the idea you are not a preacher?’ I want you to understand, he's not just talking to me. He is talking to you as well.

What in your wildest dreams makes you think you are not supposed to be qualified? That's the progressive movement in a nutshell. ‘No, you didn't go to school for that. You don't know.’ ‘

What do you mean you're not qualified? Then get qualified. You have just as much right to occupy this space as anybody else. That's the whole idea. You are here for a reason. Empower yourself. Nobody's going to empower you to do anything. Now is the time that you empower yourself. Good God almighty, you are sent here at this time for a reason. Do it. Do it. Stop doubting. Stop listening to others who tell you to doubt. Do it. You might lose. Do it. It's worth it. It will the put you in the space you are supposed to be in.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.