You may have noticed that Glenn has had a wide range of guests on his programs this week. From Montel Williams to Rabbi Irwin Kula, James Altucher to Kamal Ravikant, Glenn has been speaking to individuals who might not agree with him politically but share common principles and passions. Glenn opened this morning’s radio program with monologue centered on the importance of joining together with those who may have once made us uncomfortable in order to lead people out of the darkness.
Below is an edited transcript of the monologue:
Yesterday, I had several people in my studios here who are very different than me. I have a new friend in Rabbi Irwin Kula. Rabbi Kula is a New York liberal rabbi who three years ago didn't even want to meet with me. He was like, ‘I don't think I'm going to meet with devil boy.’ But he did because he is a man of integrity and courage, and we sat down and had a great conversation.
I told him at that time, ‘Rabbi, here's what I think is coming. And here is what I think we need to do. And I would just ask that you would pray on that and see if you can help.’ A year went by and we saw each other again. And he said, ‘You know what I've learned in the last year?’ And I said, ‘No, sir.’ And he said, ‘How many people have unreasonable hatred for you.’ I said, ‘Do you remember when I asked if we could meet together?’ He said he never hated me. I was a cartoon character to him. And he said, ‘Now my life is so amazing because I am witnessing unreasonable hatred that I never knew.’ And he said, ‘Being your friend is interesting.’ I said, ‘I understand that.’ A year goes by. And he said to me, ‘I'm beginning to understand what you're talking about. I'm seeing what you're seeing now, with the hatred that is growing on all sides. I want to talk you more about it.’ This is before I gave a speech someplace, and he happened to be there. He came up to me afterwards and he hugged me and he was crying and he said, ‘I'm in. I'm in.’
We've been trying to get together now for the last eight months. And we keep missing each other. And finally he got on the plane and he came down yesterday and he sat with me. We had such an amazing chat. A chat about the hole that so many people are feeling. The hole that our kids are cutting themselves, our kids are killing themselves, and everybody is talking about gun regulation. Even, you know, with me, I'm talking about video games. But really, what we should be talking about is the hole that everyone is trying to fill. And we're all filling it.
We're all addicted to something. I want you to really think to yourself: What is it that you're addicted to? And when I say ‘addicted to,’ what I mean is: If I asked you to put it away for a month, could you do it or would you do it? If I said, don't have any coffee for a month, don't have any alcohol for a month, don't have a cigarette for a month, don't view pornography for a month, don't use the Internet for a month, don't use your cell phone or text message or email for a month. Would you do it? Different question than could you do it. Would you do it? Most of us at first would say, ‘Oh, it can't be done.’ But I would challenge you.
Five years ago you didn't have an iPhone. Five years ago you weren't texting. Five years ago you didn't have Facebook. Five years ago we didn't have Twitter. So these things we all lived without just a very short period ago. So the answer is: Yes, you could. But would you?
We are so busy checking the mail. How many times have we been in a conversation. I was just in a conversation… and somebody pulls out their phone because they just got a little buzzzz, and I looked down, ‘Oh, news item just happened.’ Really? I haven't seen you in four months. How about we have a conversation? I didn't even notice it because I thought, ‘Oh, wow, that's important news.’ But was it? Really? I mean I would have found out that news in just a few minutes. Is that news going to affect us somehow or another? Do we need to know exactly what's happening? I understand we're in the news business, so yes, we do. But I'm asking you: When you find out, oh, the guy from the V.A. just apologized. Is that something that you need to know right now? Are you going to affect that somehow or another? Does Washington affect you somehow or another? We're watching the Kardashians, not all of us, thank God.
This is a historic studio. This is where they made JFK and portions of Forrest Gump. All the Barneys were done here. Prison Break was filmed here. Robocop was filmed here. Silkwood was filmed here. These are historic studios. But these studios fell into disrepair, and they just went dark. I really just think they just went dark. This was a bad building when we first came into it. You could feel it. The people were miserable here. It was bad. And we have spent now the last year… trying to get the bad karma out of this building and change the way it feels and the way we relate to each other. And it has been quite a journey.
Yesterday, the [Rabbi Kula] walks in and, I mean, most rabbis that I know, they live in their head. Israel means ‘to wrestle with God.’ That's what the translation is. ‘One who wrestles with God.’ And so most rabbis that I know, they live in their head, and they wrestle with God, and they're just these giant brains. I have met – on very rare occasion – one that lives in the head and the heart… And he walked in here and he said, ‘Boy, there is something happening here.’ I said, ‘Yes, there is, Rabbi.’ And we started to talk and he never talked about my community. He talked about his community. And he said, ‘Let me take the beam out of my own eye before I worry about the speck in somebody else's.’ He said, ‘There's so much hate in my community.’ Now, he's assuming – and I'm going to assume that you are doing the same – as I relate this story, that you're now thinking about the hate in our community. But he said, ‘There is so much hate in my community. And it's becoming unreasonable. And it's because we're lying to each other. We are lying about everything. We're lying about our lives. We're lying about the future. And we're all afraid. And we're lying that we're not afraid. You watch news and they're lying to you about what's happening in Washington. They're lying to you about what's happening with the banks. They're lying to you. And we're starting to separate from each other.’ And he put his head in his hands and the man wept.
We have to love each other. I want to read something we put up on this chalkboard. We have this giant hallway in this studio. It's a four-story atrium in the middle of the studio and this hallway. This is probably 20 feet tall and 40 feet long. It's chalkboard on the side. And I wanted to show you what I wrote on this. And this is for my staff to read:
I believe the world doesn't have to suck. But for that to be true, we have to be our better selves. We must empower, forgive, lift, enlighten, hope, dream, create, and above all, love. Most people will laugh at this idea. Let them. We won't notice it because we'll be busy changing the world. So to all those who visit here, welcome and join us. To the rest of the world, we may appear as mad men. We actually like it that way because they'll never see us coming.
That is a message that I gave my staff and that is a message that I give you today. Religion has been so corrupted. Religion has gone so dead and cold. Religion has become about rules and not about love. It has been about making money and building bigger churches and rock bands or whatever it is, and not about service.
I remember when I said to my wife, ‘Will you marry me?’ And she said, ‘No.’ And I said, ‘Okay, that's not the actual answer I was looking for. How come?’ And she said, ‘Because we don't have God in common.’ And I said, ‘Honey, I believe in God deeply. I just don't go to church because I don't believe in church.’ And she said, ‘We're not going to get married unless we go to church.’ And I said, ‘You got to be kidding me. You come over to my house on Sunday. I have gotten up and I've just watched like The Sopranos on HBO and I'm in a perfectly good mood. I'm good. You, on the other hand, have gone to church. And so now you come over and you spend the first 20 minutes talking to me about how everybody was honking their horns. How everybody -- somebody flipped you off while you were trying to get out of the parking lot. How people only went for 45 minutes and as soon as they had the sacrament, they were gone. Why would I want to go there? I'm great watching The Sopranos. Why would I want to go to that?’ We hadn't found what they were looking for.
But I challenge you. I'm not talking about religion. I'm talking about finding something that fills that hole that doesn't come from man. I don't care what it is, but find something that is bigger than you. The reason why our kids are cutting themselves, the reason why our kids are shooting, the reason why these video games are dangerous is because it aids in the going dead inside. It speeds the process up. There is nothing our kids are shocked by. Nothing.
Do you remember how frightened you were of some things when you were little? Our kids have seen it all. They have seen murders. They have seen rapes. They have seen bloody, dead bodies. They have seen it all. So there's nothing that shocks them and on top of it, there's nothing sacred. There's no reason to be reverent for anything or anybody. Tell me the things you believe in. Tell me the things that are bigger than you. Tell me the things you think your kids have reverence for. Go into our churches. There's no quiet space. If it's quiet, it's because everybody is on their cell phones or their iPads and they're texting. The only reason why it's quiet is because they're living in the cyber world. What is it that fills that?
I challenge you to find something that fills that. That's real. That you're not going to lose if the economy goes down. That will make you stronger if you lose your job. Not weaker. Something that you cannot lose, something that is a lighthouse. It's a polar star. What is it for you?
And then I challenge you to start looking for people that make you uncomfortable. I've had a conversation with Montel Williams this week that was necessarily uncomfortable for him. I've had a Rabbi from the Upper West Side of Manhattan. That wasn't comfortable. We have to start reaching out to people and the best thing about this audience is we have always tried to push and prod and poke and in a safe place make you uncomfortable – just be true. Just be honest. Not ever saying what I think you want to hear. But saying what I believe.
You have this amazing elastic mind that most audiences don't have. You go and look at an NBC audience and they do not have the ability to think out of the box. They don't have the ability to go into an uncomfortable place. And that's the same with most audiences, left or right. You're different. Go find and seek those people because I'm telling you, we need to tie each other together. We need to rope each other together. And we need to find our polar star, so we can lead people out of the darkness.