Meet the entrepreneur who may have just discovered the next way to connect people together

Glenn was in Silicon Valley this week speaking at a number of tech conferences and meeting with some of the biggest dreamers and creators alive today. While at the Launch Festival, Glenn spoke with Nation Builder CEO Jim Gilligan about how his company is connecting people all over world.

Glenn: I want to introduce you to a guy who is one of the people who believes he can change the world or together we can change the world. His name is Jim Gilliam, and he is the founder and CEO of something called Nation Builder. How are you?

Jim Gilligan: Hi, Glenn. Thanks for having me.

You have a fascinating story because of your journey. You have cancer. How are you now?

I’m good. I’ve got a little bit of skin cancer here left, but that’s just my third bout. I had leukemia. I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I’ve been great for about eight years.

Okay, and so you have gone through a fundamental transformation as a human being. A lot of people have seen the video The Internet is My Religion, and if we have time, I want to talk to about it, because I think it’s an interesting, really interesting part of your journey, but I want to talk to you a little bit about Nation Builder and what you’re trying to accomplish and what you think can be done.

I’ve had this just enormous blessing to have this experience of community in my life. It started when I was very young in a big mega-church in the early 80s out in San Jose, and then over my life, like I kind of lost that faith, but I started to sort of find a new faith in sort of the power of a connected humanity and like what’s possible when people come together to help each other. So, I made a bunch of like documentary films in like 2o04 and 2005, and they were the kinds of films that the traditional media, the stories that they weren’t telling, so I was really passionate about getting them out there.

Because I was just an Internet geek, we kind of hacked all the like online stuff to sort of get people to distribute the films and host screenings and do all these things. In that process, the only reason we were able to really do that effectively was because I just happened to have like all of these tech skills so I could like pull together, you know, this donation processing system and this like email newsletter thing and a website and video and all this stuff and make it work. But the average person sort of didn’t have access to be able to do that.

Correct.

So, I would go around, and I would go to like film festivals and be like, “Hey, you can get your documentary out there,” and all this stuff. Folks would be like, “Okay, great, I’m signed up. I want to sign up. I want to do that.” They’d be like, “What do I do?” You know, “What do I do next?” I’d be like, “Well, you have to do this and this.” And then, “Can I hire you?” I was like, “No, not really.” So, that really set me on like what could I contribute to help people sort of tap into this immense power of building community online to accomplish whatever it is that you want to make happen? That led me into politics, because organizing people is about very much politics.

You know, when we started something called the 9/12 Project, years ago, right around the Tea Party time, and the Tea Party was doing similar things, we were focused on principles. They were focused on politics, but almost everybody who got involved were looking for somebody who was 20 that knew something about building a website or how to connect with each other, and a lot of people still don’t know how to do it. I mean, the power is unlimited if you know how to do it, you know? So, who is using it, and what are the results?

So, we’re seeing all kinds of different folks using it. About half of our customers come out of politics or advocacy-oriented efforts. They look at Nation Builder, and they’re like, “Yes, okay, I don’t have to deal with all this muck anymore,” and they know what to do with it. It’s like a toolkit, but there also seems like another half of our customers are smaller folks, like there’s a gelato shop in downtown LA that uses it to sort of organize their community. They have folks like suggesting like what flavors they should try next. Duck Dynasty did a whole campaign like overnight, right, when that whole thing happened. They drove a whole amount of like attention and change around.

They used it for the gay issue?

Yeah, so when the media really started to pick up on that, like overnight they got a site set up on Nation Builder, and they grew a list of people to about 250,000 people. They’re now a whole organization called Faith-Driven Consumer that’s working on a whole host of issues on the area, but there are actually press articles about the fact like how on earth did they get a website up like so quickly and sort of capitalize on that moment?

Right. So, how does it work?

So, you’ll know things like you have a Facebook page, and you have like a YouTube channel or Twitter or whatever, but if you want to sort of take it to the next level, right, where is like you’re building your own database, your own nation, what we would call it, you need to sort of like really up your game. You need to like have your own website. You need to connect into all of those different places like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and whatnot, sort of pull all those people together and actually own those relationships, know who the people are and start to actually engage them.

So, when you’ve got a lot of folks that really care about what you’re doing, like the next step, right, is you have to find the folks who care the most and then really engage them and say, “Hey, why don’t you take a leadership position, right? Why don’t you sort of go and organize your own group of people around this and give them the tools and empower them to do that?” Because the most effective way to organize is people sharing their stories with each other, and the way that you scale that is when you create the leadership capacity like within your donors, your supporters, or your customer base.

So, Nation Builder was really designed to help you find those people, really connect with them, and empower them with the tools to make this stuff happen.

Old media doesn’t understand this, and old traditional thinking doesn’t understand that you’re so much more effective when you’re not leading the parade all the time, you know? They fight against it. Everybody fights no, no, you know, we’ve got to be leading the parade. How are you getting politicians to use this when politicians generally are I’m going to control the message, I’m going to control all of it? This requires you to let it go.

Yeah, really that is exactly the issue. It’s a toolkit. People can use it how they want to use it, but what we’ve found is like the most effective use of it is when you sort of give up that control. So initially, like a very early version of Nation Builder, I was like okay look, it’s all about giving up like power to like your members and your customers.

Let them do it.

And I went out, and I was preaching this to like everybody, and nobody bought it, nobody. So, I completely flipped it around. I said it’s the exact opposite, about everybody building their own power, which everybody wants to do. I realized that like the sum total of all of that is that then everybody has power, right?

It’s the same theory, just a different way to look at it. One is more altruistic.

It’s a different way into it. There’s also a business model behind it which works for us, which is nice, so we can scale it all up and make it work. But by providing the tools to everybody, right, if you’re in power and you’re not like really engaging folks and helping like other folks do the leadership, somebody else will. That’s the big opportunity.

So, give me some examples of the best uses of it.

Well, oddly enough, Senator Mitch McConnell has used Nation Builder really well.

Oh my gosh.

So, in his last election campaign, he used Nation Builder to do a lot of field organizing, which generally speaking, the Republicans are sort of, you know, generally not the best at, but they really got into it. They had walk sheets, and they were scanning them all in. The senator was like actually there at the trainings, right? He was like really engaged. I was pretty impressed by that.

Wow. So, Nation Builder can be used for good and evil.

We don’t get to decide that.

No, I know. I know. I do. I do.

Let’s talk a little bit about your journey, because you have gone through a lot and have started at a real religious place. You went to Liberty University, a real God-fearing guy, and you’ve ended or at least you’re at this point in a completely different place.

Yeah, I found God somewhere else. You know, in the speech, I said, you know, God is just what happens when humanity is connected, and that community, the power of that community is immense. What I spent a lot of time thinking about is like, you know, there is a God of love, right? There is also a God that can be very vicious and judgmental, and I see so much of that happening, right?

 

I don’t think of that as God, but you’re thinking of God as humanity.

 

But we can see it happening like as we connect more and more, right, sort of the online lynch mob sort of thing that happens sometimes and the way things spread. There’s amazingly wonderful things happen, like, you know, people coming together to save my life, right? So, it’s like there’s incredible, wonderful power in it, but there’s also like we’re in this like adolescence of understanding what that power really is and how we can sort of most effectively channel it. What really makes me excited is that we get to decide that. We get to choose how that plays out, and so I’m really hopeful that people will look more and more to how they can contribute, right, to making this world better, right, making this a God more of love than of vengeance.

 

Has the world ever been in a place like this before?

 

Oh no, no.

 

I don’t think people really understand how profound of a moment we’re at right now.

 

I see it as communities. M. Scott Peck is a psychologist who did a lot of work on understanding how community works, and he identified sort of four stages that lead to community, pseudo-community. Pseudo-community, it’s like the dinner party, right, where like everybody goes, and no one talks about politics or religion, and everyone is sort of nice and cordial to each other. Then, you know, you go home with your spouse afterwards in the car, and you’re like sort of talking dirt about everybody, right? Like that’s pseudo-community.

 

But then the next phase is chaos, and chaos is when people start getting real. It’s when they stop with all of those sort of like niceties, and they start actually talking about the real issues. Then there’s two ways that you can go from there, right? You can organize your way out of that chaos where you create systems and structures and laws and like all of this infrastructure which we have done, like, that is the world, or you can empty, and you can just let go of all of your preconceived ideas of who other people are, right, everything, all the things that you try to do to change somebody else, and you start to accept people for who they are. Out of that can come real, genuine community.

 

So, we see that happening like on small levels. You can see it happening in churches. You can see it happen in school. You can see elements of it happening here and there sometimes, and it’s really special and amazing.

 

That happened today with me.

 

Did it?

 

Yeah, I mean, I walk out on stage with there had to be 20% of the people there that were like, “You’ve got to be kidding.” I’m reading the tweets, and they’re like, “I don’t like this guy. I’m confused. I really liked what he had to say.” It was just a moment of hey, let’s listen to each other for a minute. Let’s just listen to each other and break down the stereotypes. It’s really an amazing…fear is our enemy.

 

Amen.

 

If we can get rid of the fear and let go and say you know, “I may disagree with you on a lot of things, but I recognize that there is more that we have in common than not,” we can really create an amazing world.

 

The Internet is my religion, and I would say the greatest sin is fear. That’s the one thing that holds us back from creating what we are meant to create. It disconnects us from each other, absolutely.

 

What a pleasure. God bless.

 

Thank you.

 

Thank you.

4 signs that PROVE Americans are hitting rock bottom

Spencer Platt / Staff | Getty Images

As we approach the presidential election in November, many Americans are facing dire economic straits.

Glenn has shown time and time again that Bidenomics is a sham, and more Americans than ever are suffering as a result. Still, Biden and his cronies continue to insist that the economy is booming despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. But who is Biden fooling? Since the beginning of the year, gas has gone up an average of 40 cents a gallon nationwide, with some states seeing as much as a 60-cent per gallon increase. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are on the rise, evictions are surging, and America is experiencing a record amount of homelessness. We can't survive another Biden term.

Americans across the country are hitting rock bottom, and here are four stats that PROVE it:

Evictions

John Moore / Staff | Getty Images

Across the country, people are being evicted from their homes and apartments. Between 2021 and 2023, evictions increased by 78.6 percent. With inflation driving up prices and employers struggling to raise wages to compensate, rent is taking up an increasingly larger percentage of people's paychecks. Many Americans are having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.

Foreclosures

Justin Sullivan / Staff | Getty Images

Renters aren't the only ones struggling to make their monthly payments, foreclosures are on the rise. This February saw a 5 percent increase in foreclosures from last year and a 10 percent increase from January. More and more Americans are losing their homes and businesses.

Bankruptcies

Chris Hondros / Staff | Getty Images

High interest rates and inflation have driven bankruptcies through the roof. Total filings have risen 13 percent and business bankruptcies rose 30 percent in 2023. It's getting harder and harder for businesses to stay afloat, and with California's new law requiring most restaurants to pay all employees a minimum of $20 an hour, you can expect that number to keep climbing.

Homelessness

FREDERIC J. BROWN / Contributor | Getty Images

The result of all of these issues is that it is getting harder and harder for Americans to afford the basic necessities. January of 2023 saw a record-breaking 650,000+ homeless Americans, a 12 percent jump from the previous year. More Americans have hit rock bottom than ever before.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I want to talk to Generation Z. I’ve seen some clips of you complaining about your 9-to-5 jobs on social media and how life is really hard right now. To be honest, my first reaction was, “Suck it up, buttercup. This is what life is really like.” In a sense, that’s true. But in another sense, I think you’re getting a bad rap. You are facing unique problems that my generation didn’t face — problems that my generation had a hand in creating.

But I also think you don’t understand the cause of these problems.

I would hate to be in your position. When I was your age, we didn’t have to deal with any of the challenges you’re facing. In one sense, your life has been tough. At the same time, compared to previous generations, your life has been very easy. Everybody was rushing to save you, to protect you. You were coddled, which makes your life harder now.

You’ve grown up with social media and the definition of narcissism: somebody gazing into the pond looking at themselves all the time. I don't mean this as an offense, and I am not just including you in this. We’ve become a culture of narcissists. It’s all about “me, me, me, me.”

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

You’ve been in territory that my generation never had to enter. You’ve already navigated a landscape that we didn't have to, where nothing is true, and you can’t trust anybody. I wouldn’t trust anybody either if I were in your position. But I do know a few things to be true and a couple of things I can trust.

First, life is worth it. Life is tough, but it is worth it in the end.

Second, life is not about stuff. As a guy who is kind of a pack rat, I can tell you that none of that stuff will create happiness in your life. In fact, I think your generation has a better handle on happiness in some ways than anybody in mine. You’re starting to realize that pharmaceuticals may not be as good as natural solutions in a lot of situations, that the huge house may not be as satisfying as just having a smaller house, that living your life instead of having to work all the time may be a better way to live.

I want to talk to those of you who feel like it’s not worth even trying to go to work because you’ll never get anywhere. You work 40 hours a week or more, and you still can't afford a place to live. You’re still living with your parents. You can’t afford food. I think you're right to feel frustrated because the problems you're facing weren't always the case.

I blame a lot of the current problems we’re facing today on the hippies. That may be wrong, but I hate hippies. Hippies have been screwing things up since the 1960s. While on their socialist march, they have become everything that they said they were against: lying, greedy politicians. They just won’t let go of their power even though their time has passed.

These are the people who have come up with policies that make you feel like this is the way the world is. I hope I can convince you that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the way our country has always been. We don’t have to keep these people in power. Actions have consequences. Votes have consequences. These people allow crime, looters, squatters, riots, and somebody needs to pay for that.

You say you can’t afford health care. I understand. Since Obamacare passed, the cost of individual health insurance has doubled. You need to remember that politicians promised that if we passed this massive health care overhaul, it would mean a savings of $2,500 per family. You're in school. You must know that $2,500 savings is not the same as an 80% increase. Moreover, the cost of hospital stays is up 210%. I understand when you say you can't afford health care at these costs. Who could afford health care? Who could afford insurance?

The generation coming of age is right to feel frustrated.This mess — with high costs and a massive debt burden — was not of their making.

Iwant to talk to Generation Z. I’ve seen some clips of you complaining about your 9-to-5 jobs on social media and how life is really hard right now. To be honest, my first reaction was, “Suck it up, buttercup. This is what life is really like.” In a sense, that’s true. But in another sense, I think you’re getting a bad rap. You are facing unique problems that my generation didn’t face — problems that my generation had a hand in creating.

But I also think you don’t understand the cause of these problems.

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

I would hate to be in your position. When I was your age, we didn’t have to deal with any of the challenges you’re facing. In one sense, your life has been tough. At the same time, compared to previous generations, your life has been very easy. Everybody was rushing to save you, to protect you. You were coddled, which makes your life harder now.

You’ve grown up with social media and the definition of narcissism: somebody gazing into the pond looking at themselves all the time. I don't mean this as an offense, and I am not just including you in this. We’ve become a culture of narcissists. It’s all about “me, me, me, me.”

You’ve been in territory that my generation never had to enter. You’ve already navigated a landscape that we didn't have to, where nothing is true, and you can’t trust anybody. I wouldn’t trust anybody either if I were in your position. But I do know a few things to be true and a couple of things I can trust.

First, life is worth it. ≈

Second, life is not about stuff. As a guy who is kind of a pack rat, I can tell you that none of that stuff will create happiness in your life. In fact, I think your generation has a better handle on happiness in some ways than anybody in mine. You’re starting to realize that pharmaceuticals may not be as good as natural solutions in a lot of situations, that the huge house may not be as satisfying as just having a smaller house, that living your life instead of having to work all the time may be a better way to live.

I want to talk to those of you who feel like it’s not worth even trying to go to work because you’ll never get anywhere. You work 40 hours a week or more, and you still can't afford a place to live. You’re still living with your parents. You can’t afford food. I think you're right to feel frustrated because the problems you're facing weren't always the case.

I blame a lot of the current problems we’re facing today on the hippies. That may be wrong, but I hate hippies. Hippies have been screwing things up since the 1960s. While on their socialist march, they have become everything that they said they were against: lying, greedy politicians. ≈

These are the people who have come up with policies that make you feel like this is the way the world is. I hope I can convince you that it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t the way our country has always been. We don’t have to keep these people in power. Actions have consequences. Votes have consequences. These people allow crime, looters, squatters, riots, and somebody needs to pay for that.

If you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework.

You say you can’t afford health care. I understand. Since Obamacare passed, the cost of individual health insurance has doubled. You need to remember that politicians promised that if we passed this massive health care overhaul, it would mean a savings of $2,500 per family. You're in school. You must know that $2,500 savings is not the same as an 80% increase. Moreover, the cost of hospital stays is up 210%. I understand when you say you can't afford health care at these costs. Who could afford health care? Who could afford insurance?

You are also starting your life with thousands of dollars in debt. Your parents didn't have that burden. People used to be able to work their way through college and graduate debt-free. Others were able to get jobs that quickly paid off their debt. You can't do that now. Once the government said that they were going to guarantee all student loans, university costs skyrocketed, and it hasn't stopped. You can thank the progressive President Lyndon B. Johnson for that.

The people who created this mess cannot fix it. But it can be fixed.

You are also starting your life with thousands of dollars in debt. Your parents didn't have that burden. People used to be able to work their way through college and graduate debt-free. Others were able to get jobs that quickly paid off their debt. You can't do that now. Once the government said that they were going to guarantee all student loans, university costs skyrocketed, and it hasn't stopped. You can thank the progressive President Lyndon B. Johnson for that.

Once the government said that they were going to guarantee everybody’s college tuition, universities found out that they could just charge more because the government would give you virtually any amount in your loan. And they have been charging more and more ever since. In 1965, the average college tuition was $450 a year. Adjusted to inflation, that's $4,000 a year. You're currently paying an average of $26,000 a year as opposed to the inflation-adjusted $4,000.

What happened? The answer is always the same: government regulations. Gas is up. Why? Government regulations. Can't afford a house? Well, that's due to several things. Many of them revolve around the fed and our national debt. But the simple answer is the same: government regulations.

Moreover, the U.S. government has run a staggering national debt. We have been concerned about it forever, but the people in power haven't been listening to your mom and dad and people like me. A lot of other people just thought, "Oh, well. We could get away with it. We're the United States of America, after all. Somehow or another, it will all work out."

People like me have been saying, "No. We can't pass this on to our children." You're now seeing what we have passed on. When you say that the adults are responsible for creating this world of problems, in some ways, you’re right. We were lied to, and as many people do, they want to believe the lie because it makes them feel better.

There are big lies being pushed in your generation as well. You're being told that a man is a woman and a woman is a man. At the same time, you’re being told that gender doesn't even exist at all. It makes us feel better to go along with the lie because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

My generation believed the same kind of lie about our national debt. We were told that we could spend all this money on subsidized programs because it would provide you, our children, with a better life. Some people warned, "Wait, how will they pay this off? This will cost them." We didn't want to believe them. The lie sounded better, and it was easier to believe that than the truth. We never saw the consequences, and even if we did, they were always way out in the future. Nobody wanted to listen to the doomsday people saying, "No. It's going to come faster than you think."

And that time is right now. Our government now is printing $1 trillion every 100 days. That's never been done before. We have more debt than any country has ever had in the history of the world. But we’re not alone. Every country is doing this. They’re going into debt like we’ve never seen before, and we’re all about to pay for that. It’s going to make your life even harder.

There are Democrats and Republicans who still believe in spending all kinds of money and getting us involved in every global conflict. Then there are constitutional conservatives who believe that we should conserve the things that have worked and throw out the things that don’t and follow our Constitution and Bill of Rights. You haven't really learned about those most likely. But you should. All of our problems are caused by the government and the people who feel they can bypass the Constitution. That's what this election is really all about.

You might say, “I don’t really care. I don’t like either of the political parties.” I know a lot of people who don’t like either of them, but one is going to try to cut the size of this government and one is going to spend us into collapse.

The people who created this mess cannot fix it. But it can be fixed. You need to learn enough about the truth, about why this has happened to us, and about how our Constitution lasted longer than any other Constitution in the world. The average is 17 years. This thing has lasted hundreds of years. Why? How? And why is it falling apart today? That's what you should dedicate some of your time to figuring out today.

You can complain about the way things are. I complain. Everybody complains. But don't wallow there. Learn what caused this. And if you end up thinking more collectivism is the solution, then you haven't done enough homework. They always end the same way, and that's exactly where we're headed right now. We can either repeat the dreadful past of nations that have tried it before us, or we can choose freedom, liberty, and prosperity. The ball is in our court.

Glenn recently had Representative Thomas Massie on his show to sound the alarm about an important yet often overlooked issue affecting what we eat. Whether you're trying to be prepared to weather a catastrophe or just trying to keep food on the table without resorting to eating bugs, it's more important now than ever to source local food. Unnoticed by most, our right to eat home-grown or locally-sourced foods is under attack. The government doesn't just want a say in what you eat; they want you vulnerable and dependent on their system, and they are massively overstepping their bounds to ensure your compliance with their goals.

How did the attack on your food begin?

Government overreach on food can be traced back to 1938 under the autocratic eye of FDR with the Supreme Court case "Wickard v. Filburn." The case was pretty straightforward, but the results were devastating. The case began with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which sought to control national food prices by placing limitations on how many crops farmers could grow in a season.

Filburn was one such farmer, who was allotted 11.1 acres of wheat to plant and harvest annually. Filburn planted and harvested 23 acres, arguing that the extra acres were not headed for the market, but were used for personal consumption. After being penalized for over-harvesting, he fought his case all the way up to the Supreme Court, arguing that Congress did not have the authority to regulate crops that never left his farm.

Unfortunately for Filburn (and the rest of us), the Supreme Court didn't agree. They ruled that the mere existence of that extra wheat—whether it left Filburn's farm or not—had an effect on the national value of wheat. Congress assumed the power to regulate just about anything that could be roped under the umbrella of "interstate commerce."

Under the precedent set by Wickard v. Filburn, Congress might bar you from growing tomatoes in your backyard, because it could affect national tomato prices. This was a major blow to our right to feed ourselves, and that right has been eroding ever since.

How is our right to feed ourselves under attack today?

Last June, the Virginia Department of Agriculture shut down Golden Valley Farms, a small Amish farm owned and operated by Samuel B. Fisher in Farmville, Virginia. Golden Valley Farms had started out selling dairy products, primarily, and processed some meat for personal consumption. However, by popular demand, Fisher began selling meat.

Fisher initially hauled his animals to a USDA processing plant, paid to have them processed, and then hauled them back. This process was time-consuming and costly, and Fisher's customers didn't want the meat processed by the plant. A survey done on Golden Valley Farms customers found that an overwhelming 92 percent preferred meat processed by Fisher. So naturally, Fisher began to process more and more meat for his customers.

Moreover, COVID shut down the USDA plant, which made it impossible for Fisher to process the animals by the USDA anyway, though the demand for meat was greater than ever. Fisher made the call to process 100 percent of his animals himself and didn't look back. That was until June when the Virginia Department of Agriculture caught wind of Fisher's operation and shut it down. The VDA seized all of Fisher's products, and he wasn't allowed to process, sell, or even eat his meat. Then they loaded it up in a truck and left it at the dump to rot.

Nobody ever got sick from eating meat from Golden Valley Farms. This was NOT about "health and safety." This was about control. The fact is that informed adults were not allowed to make a simple transaction without the government sticking its slimy fingers into Fisher's business and claiming it was somehow for "our benefit." But it's not for "our benefit." It's so they can regulate and control what we buy and what we eat, and they cannot stand it when we operate outside of their influence.

What comes next?

Where does this end? With so much of our ability to feed ourselves already eroded, is it too late? Is it going to get worse? Before long, will it be illegal to eat eggs from your chickens or pick vegetables from your garden without getting government clearance first? Fortunately, a solution is already in the works.

Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie recently told Glenn about a new constitutional amendment designed to limit government overreach regarding food production. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

And Congress shall make no law, regulating the production and distribution of food products, which do not move across state lines.

The amendment is still on the drawing board and has not been formally introduced to Congress yet. But this is where you come in. Call your representative and tell them to support Massie's amendment and take a stand for your right to provide sustenance for you and your family.

If we can build skyscrapers, we can rebuild bridges

Kevin Dietsch / Staff | Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

I am sick and tired of hearing about our limitations. The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge this week is an amazing hero story of the cops and first responders who saved an untold number of lives by doing exactly the right thing quickly. But I’m really tired of hearing about how long it’s going to take us to recover from this catastrophe and how bad it’s going to be.


The immediate impact for Americans regarding this bridge collapse seems dire. If you're waiting for a new car to come in from overseas, prepare to wait longer. The Port of Baltimore stands as the nation’s leading import-export site for cars and trucks. It’s also the leading nexus for sugar and gypsum, which is used in fertilizer, drywall, and plaster. A record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo was transported through Baltimore just last year.

To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

The bustling port is now cut off after the 1.6-mile-long bridge crumbled and fell into the river early Tuesday, blocking the only shipping lane into the port.

The officials have said the timeline for rebuilding the bridge will be years. The Port of Baltimore creates more than 15,300 jobs, with another 140,000 jobs linked to the activity at the port. This is a major disaster and will continue to cause significant problems on the East Coast for U.S. importers and exporters.

The bridge collapse means it will not be possible to get to the container terminals or a range of the other port terminals in Baltimore. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Paul J. Wiedefeld told reporters on Tuesday that vessel traffic in the port would be suspended until further notice but noted the port is still open to trucks.

Michael Mezzacappa, an attorney and expert on property damage cases in the shipping industry, told the New York Post that the collapse will have a major impact on shipping and traffic routes in the East Coast for the foreseeable future. “It’s not going to get fixed any time soon,” Mezzacappa said. “It’s going to take a lot longer than anyone expects. This is going to be a major problem for the Northeast.”

Remember the American spirit

I am absolutely sick to death of all of these stories that say things like that. Have we forgotten who we are? Have we forgotten what we’ve done?

Let me remind you of the American spirit, a spirit so potent and so vibrant that it has scaled towering mountains, mountains nobody thought they could cross.

It’s the spirit that constructed marvels of engineering. Have you ever been to the Hoover Dam? Have you seen the New York City skyline? The skyscraper was invented here for a reason. Here we are on the threshold of tomorrow, and none of us knows what is going to happen. But I'm getting the impression that we’ve been so beaten down that we believe we’re not going to make it tomorrow.

Have we forgotten who our ancestors are and what they did? If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer. You will see a people who can do anything.


I want to stop just briefly in 1930. The Great Depression had its icy grip on us. It was a time that felt like a flickering candle in the vast darkness just barely holding on. Yet, it was in this crucible of adversity that Americans did great things.

The Empire State Building rose. It wasn’t just a structure of steel and stone. It was a beacon, a beacon of hope and American resilience and ingenuity. The way that thing was built — no one has ever seen anything like it before and since. In a record-shattering one year and 45 days, an army of workers, as many as 3,400 men on certain days, transformed this audacious vision into a cowering reality.

If you look through our history even briefly, you will see a group of people who never take no for an answer.

The Empire State Building wasn’t constructed. It was conjured into existence with a symphony of clanging metal and roaring machines and the inexhaustible spirit of its builders. The men perched on steel girders that were being flown in by giant cranes whispered tales about how they could still feel the warmth of the freshly poured metal beneath them. That beam was still warm, even though it was poured in Pittsburgh, put on a train, then put on a boat, then on a truck, then hauled up into the air.

They could fill the warmth because we moved that fast. It was a feverish pace of construction. It seemed to defy the laws of time and physics.

For a long time, it was the tallest building in the world — an architectural achievement. It was also a declaration to the world that America was a land where the impossible became possible, that we are a people of determination, innovation, with a relentless will to succeed.

These aren't merely historical footnotes. They are blazing torches illuminating our path forward. They remind us that when we're faced with adversity, we don't just endure it. We overcome it. We don’t wait for history to chart our course. We write it with the sweat of our brow and the strength of our backs. That’s who we are. Have we forgotten that?

What are we waiting for?

We find ourselves at another crossroads faced with the challenges that threaten to dim the bright future that we all dream for our nation, for our children. The spirit that built the Empire State Building, laid down miles of railroads, cut through the Rocky Mountains, and sent astronauts to the moon is still inside of every heart of every American, somewhere.

Awaken that spirit. Scale new mountains. It's not just rock and earth. Scale the mountains of innovation. Build. Not just physical structures but a future that upholds the spirit of adventure, hard work, and ingenuity. Stop tearing everything down. Let's start building.

Why are we waiting? If this isn't a national emergency, I don't know what it is.

And I don't just mean the bridge. I mean all of it. You might say, “Well, our government has to lead.” Really? Does it? Maybe that’s our problem. America is led by its values and principles that are found in the souls of those who still remember who we are and who we serve. Americans lead the way. The government always follows.

You might say again, "Well, we can’t act without the government." Nonsense! Where are the bridge builders who will stand up today and say, “I'll get it done!” As soon as that happens, you’ll see who is leading and who is stalling. The government is the one that stalls the engine out. To expect more from our leaders is rational. But to expect the most from ourselves is essential.

There is nothing we can't achieve when we all stand together, united by our dreams, and driven by the will to see them fulfilled. Don't listen to anybody else who tells you differently.