Is this the theme song for 8/28?

A couple of weeks ago, Glenn asked some friends and staff members if anyone had some favorite songs that could be the theme song of 8/28. Someone sent him the song “Do Something”, and Glenn loved it. And then last night, totally unbeknownst to Glenn, the artist for the song, Matthew West, was in the studio for the TV show.

"Today is the day I'm supposed to put the program together. The beginnings of the program for 8/28 in Birmingham, Alabama," Glenn said. "[Do Something] was the song I wanted to have as the theme of 8/28. And here you are. It's just such an amazing coincidence."

Listen to the song below:

Matthew joined Glenn on TV Tuesday night and on the radio show Wednesday morning, and shared the incredible story of how losing his voice and undergoing a radical surgery ended up launching his music career.

Glenn: I want to introduce you to Matthew West. He’s an award-winning singer-songwriter whose latest album, Live Forever, like a few of his previous albums, was inspired by the stories he receives from his fans. How are you?

Matthew: Doing great. Thanks for having me.

Glenn: You started doing this because your vocal cords went out, right?

Matthew: That’s right. Several years ago, about seven years ago, my career was about to take off to the next level, or so I thought, and my voice left me. I was unable to sing or speak. The surgeons in Nashville are some of the best in all the land, working on the greats like Johnny Cash back in the day. They told me I was going to need to have career-threatening vocal cord surgery and warned me that my voice may never sound the same again. Following that surgery, I spent about two months with nothing but time on my hands, completely silent, unable to sing or speak. You do some pretty intense soul-searching during that time. My wife enjoyed that two months of our marriage.

It was during that time that I began to think well, if my voice does come back, how could I use my voice differently? I wrote in a journal, and I really begin to sense that what if God was going to give me my voice back to give a voice to other people? Fast-forward, I feel like that’s become my mission in life, using my voice as a singer and songwriter to tell the stories of other people’s lives and in doing so, hopefully empower people to realize that their life is a one-in-a-million, unique story that can indeed go out and change the world if only they’ll choose to be a storyteller and not just a story keeper.

Glenn: And believe. I was in church, somebody was supposed to teach this last weekend, and he didn’t show up. So, we’re all going to sit there and waste an hour. I’m like I’ll teach, and so I got up. I happened to be reading Romans 8 the day before, the night before, and so I said take out your Scriptures and turn to Romans 8.

I don’t remember how this happened, but somebody had made some comment that a lot of people don’t believe that they’re capable or whatever, and we need God to do it. I came to Romans 18, for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time—now, think of this—I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in all of us. So yeah, that’s going to suck hard, but the glory revealed in you, that means we’re going to do something great. All of us are going to do something great if we just let it happen.

Matthew: Yeah, what I sense in the last six years, I’ve collected over 40,000 stories and counting of people who have answered my invitation simply to tell me their story. What I sense is this overwhelming spirit of defeat in people’s lives where because of circumstances that have been thrust upon them, abuse that they’ve suffered, choices that they’ve made in their life, they begun to just hang their heads, lower their sight line, and believe that their best days are behind them.

I heard your interview that you just had. We’re talking about changing the world. I realize there are so many people that are so defeated they don’t even believe they can change their own life. So, they’re defeated before they even step out into the world. How can they expect to go change the world? I believe that every single one of our stories, as broken as they might be, was designed ultimately to become a redemption story.

Glenn: That’s it.

Matthew: And when we begin to live our redemption story, not out of defeat but in hope, I mean, the world can’t help but change and be impacted by the shockwaves that’ll send. So, that’s the mission. I feel like I’ve been telling the stories of people’s lives and letting other people know hey, if this person can change their life, if they can find strength in God and begin to realize that there’s hope for them, imagine the possibilities for you and you and you and everybody else.

Glenn: That is my story. I mean, I was down at the bottom, live or die, alcoholic, you name it, washed out—lost a family, lost a job, lost a reputation, everything, and then turned it around. Honestly, if I can do it, anybody can do it. Tell me about the song, because I’m going to have you sing here in a minute. Tell me about the story behind the song that you’re out with.

Matthew: It was interesting you mentioned the Book of Romans that you did the impromptu teaching out of, but another verse in Romans is reminding us that God can work all things for the good, even the most broken parts of our lives. What I love is when the story comes to me from someone who’s not afraid to say hey, you know what, I’ve got some messes in my life, it’s not all put together, but I found the one who’s helped me put it together.

A guy named Josh, I called a manager at a pizza restaurant in Worthington, Minnesota, a few weeks ago to speak to Josh. The reason I called is because Josh inspired the song I’m going to sing for your viewers in just a moment. He wrote to me. He said, you know, I grew up in a rough home life. I never met my mother, bad neighborhood. I got involved in drugs at a young age. He wound up dealing drugs. He wound up getting arrested, and at the age of 16, wound up being sentenced to 10 years. So here’s a 16-year-old kid, all of a sudden 10 years in prison.

Glenn: Life’s over.

Matthew: While he was in prison, he wrote to me. He said he began to find his faith, and he made a commitment that if he ever got out of there, he wasn’t ever going to go back, but he was going to change his life. Of course, all the voices of the doubters telling them you’re just going to go back to your old ways, he said no, you wait and see. So, what he wrote to me was amazing. He told me that his beginning came in the form of a pizza. He said I got out of prison, but nobody would give me a job. Why? I’ve got tattoos on my knuckles. I look rough. I spent ten years in prison. Who wants to take a chance on an ex-convict?

He got involved with a church, and a Christian couple in that church ran a pizza restaurant called Pizza Ranch. They said we’ll take a chance on you, give you a part-time job. He said Matthew, I took that opportunity, and I ran with it. With God’s help, I made the change, and everybody saw it in me. I just want to tell you, now I’m the general manager of that pizza restaurant. I want you to tell my story, Matthew, because I want everybody to know that if an ex-con like me can change, then we can all change with God’s help—powerful, man. That’s what Day One is all about, the power to change, turn in a new direction.

Glenn: I said on radio today, we were talking, and I said we have to stop being church people. Church is not a building we go to, church is wherever we are. And testimony isn’t something we share, testimony is what we live.

Matthew: I heard you say that. I thought that was so profound and talking about the church being more like a hospital. My dad is a preacher, and I’ll tell you what I got really good at, I got really good at looking the part and believing that it was about me making everybody around me go man, he’s got it all together. What I’m drawn to now is when somebody steps up with all the authenticity that I wish I had, and they say you know what, I’m far from perfect, but let me tell you about change and let me tell you about the hope that I found.

Glenn: Amen.

Matthew: That’s what is going to speak to the world. And then the world finds that and says I want that. That resonates within you. When I heard you share your story at a conference that we were both speaking at, it resonated within me because I want that authenticity. I don’t want to be the one who’s got all the answers. That’s what the world thinks about the church and Christians—oh, they’re the ones telling all the answers. No, it’s just about telling our story and saying hey, we found the answer that’s helped us change.

My fellow supporters,

It is with a heavy heart that I must make a sad announcement today. The time has come to press pause on the dream of Beto for president. It's not the end of the Beto dream. It's just pressing pause for a while, like pausing a Foss CD. The dream will keep right on spinning, until we return to it and press play again. I mean, look at Bernie Sanders. That guy's almost twice my age and he's still running for president. That means you can look forward to Beto running for office for decades to come. I have found there is tremendous joy and freedom in running for office and never winning. All the travel, Vanity Fair cover stories, food and free beer, with none of the hassle or responsibility of having an actual job in elected office (or any job at all). It's really great.

With the exception of myself, no one has supported Beto more faithfully and true than you, the fans. I'd also like to thank my wife Amy for continually raising our children so that I can travel this great land in my never-ending quest to find myself (and also to connect with you, the fans). From attending my very hip and not-at-all contrived jogging town halls, to slapping those trendy Beto bumper stickers on your hybrid-SUVs, to steadying tables all over America so I could jump on top of them and yell and jab the air, to clicking "like" on all those Facebook videos of my dentist visits – you perpetuated this Beto dream way longer than it had any right to be perpetuated.

So, I'm sure you're now wondering – what's next for Beto?

Other than pursuing my career as a solo rock recording artist, I believe the best way I can serve America and bring true justice to this great land of ours is by stealing from the rich and giving to those who fall in the sweet spot on the intersectionality charts. Except I won't steal from my billionaire father-in-law, only because getting my family cut out of the will would not be in America's best interest. You need a Beto who is independently wealthy via his wife and so do I. Plus, as you know by now, from following the 2020 presidential campaign so closely, the only acceptable status quo in America is leaving the wealth of Progressive elites alone. Everyone else's wealth is fair game, including the middle class. It's the right thing to do.

You need a Beto who is independently wealthy via his wife and so do I.

Therefore, from this day forward I will henceforth be known as Beto Hood. You will be able to join the cause by purchasing official Beto Hood merch soon at Beto Hood dot com. Together, with my band of merry men, who will be known as "merry non-binaries", we will roam the land, righting all the wrongs and bringing about all the social justice that Donald Trump refuses to let you have.

Beto Hood and his Merry Non-Binaries will live on the road. And in the woods (in eco-friendly, fully sustainable treehouse yurts). And in the shadows. We will skateboard and learn archery and rappelling. We will become proficient in hand-to-hand combat. We will become experts in all weaponry except guns, since guns are the evilest weapons. We will care for all the animals of the forest. You already know my affinity for squirrels. Not only will we continue to rescue all the orphan squirrels, we will train them in petty thievery and nimble sabotage. We will affix tiny helmets on them, fitted with tiny Go Pro cameras to live stream their heroic exploits on Facebook. Side note: my colonoscopy next week will also be live streamed on Facebook and available to rent on iTunes.

Using the skills I honed as a college graduate scaling the gates of UTEP, Beto Hood and his Merry Non-Binaries will scale the gates of America's richest and steal from their grotesque wealth. Jewelry, high-end electronics, precious antiques, art, women's shoes – nothing of value will be off-limits. Drawing on my experience while my father was a county judge, we will live above the law. It will be dangerous work, the Lord's work as some people say. But totally worth the risk.

Also, we will not wait for Constitutional amendments nor judicial overreach to get rid of America's AR-15s. We will steal those too. One by one. Using very large versions of those stretchy sticky hands that come in cereal boxes, we will literally be able to snatch these vile guns right out from under the noses of the monsters who own them. Then, with our literal mountain of confiscated AR-15s, we will melt them down and use the metal to build a flotilla of sturdy watercraft, called Beto Boats (trademark pending). Families will be able to use these Beto Boats to save themselves and others when the rising waters of climate change overtake our cities in exactly ten years.

Who needs the presidency? I have big, bold plans for a bright future as an outlaw hero.

Who needs the presidency? I have big, bold plans for a bright future as an outlaw hero. So, don't cry for me, America. Beto will be just fine. Dropping out of this race is nothing that another months-long, head-clearing road trip won't cure. And after that, I'll start shopping for some tights.



[NOTE: The preceding Memo was a parody written by MRA writer Nathan Nipper – not Beto O'Rourke.]

Ryan: Making of an Ant Queen

Photo by Kevin Ryan

The embattled, Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning author Liu Xiaobo wrote that "Life is priceless even to an ant."

An ant colony can only survive for a few months after the death of its queen. On average, queens live 10 to 15 years. Some, up to 30 years, one of the longest insect lifespans, hidden deep within the colony, protected, unable to use her wings because she's a little bigger than she used to be.

Plus she's very busy.

The majority of ants are female. Wingless, sterile worker ants. They build nests, they forage, they hunt.

Theirs is a far briefer life than the queen's, ranging from a few weeks up to a year. But they see more of the outside world than any other ant.

The bigger they are, the farther they travel. And they release pheromones along the way so that they have a trail home.
Drones — winged male ants whose primary function in life is to mate with the queen — die after mating and rarely make it out of the colony.

Then, there are the soldier ants. They protect the colony and attack.

To quote philosopher Bertrand Russell, "Ants and savages put strangers to death."

They go on raids.

The attacking colony rarely loses, so most colonies flee as soon as an invasion begins. But they sometimes remain and fight.
Ants on both sides of the battle die in droves.

Henry David Thoreau describes an ant battle in Walden: "On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely."

If the attackers succeed in overtaking a colony, they pillage the eggs. Some are eaten, fed to larvae. But others become victims of slave raiding. Meaning that the victors return home with their enemy's unborn, feed them, nurse them. Then, when the eggs hatch, the victors force them into slavery.

Often, the slaves even develop an allegiance to the colony which ransacked their home and enslaved them. They'll even help raid other colonies and either die pointlessly or help with the seizure of the next generation of slaves.

Sometimes, however, the slave ants rebel.

In the words of Persian poet Saadi, "Ants, fighting together, will vanquish the lion."

Flying ants, both male and female, leave the colony to form another colony. Once they find a suitable place, the males's wings fall off and they mate to their death. Then one or more of the females becomes queen.

*

It felt odd, any time I sat with a roomful of media, a few hundred journalists from all over the world, as they simultaneously, silently, decided "Yep, that's newsworthy. We should hammer that."

It wasn't like everyone turned to each other and said, "Let's agree on the narrative."

It was an energy.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Like in Houston, at the third Democratic Debate, after Biden misused the word "record player," you could hear chatter spread through the room, people muttering the words "records" and "record player."

In Houston, the media watched the debate from a gymnasium around the corner from the auditorium. So I could contrast the crowd's reactions with the media's reactions.

Nearly every time, there was a disparity between the two. The media were more relaxed — during the debate at least. The audience enjoyed any mentions of identity issues. There were a lot. But the media barely reacted at all.

This was a good thing, probably.

*

It's impressive to see how politicians force their stump speeches into a new form, depending on the context. How they say it like an epiphany.

That night brought the opposite for the ever-fledgling Kamala Harris. I could not believe it. Was this the same woman who'd made Iowa hers, just a little over a month ago?

All night, she was so loyal to the tactic she'd premeditated that she didn't realize it wasn't working, like she kept putting on a puppet show on some busy sidewalk.

At one point, she declared, proudly, "We're not talking about Donald Trump enough."

The most talked-about man in the world, perhaps in our country's history.

In five weeks, she became an entirely different candidate. Her latest version resembled a Xanax-fueled stepmom. It was like she was transforming into Joe Biden.

She kept laughing at her own jokes. And the entire media room cringed every time.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Amy Klobuchar's pre-formed jokes and half-zany dad jokes fell short every time, too. Most of the media saw Klobuchar's long rants as a chance to chat with a neighbor or jet off to the nearest bathroom, which was likely a locker-room full of plastic flight containers and padded camera cases and journalists who curse like sailors.

During the debate, the press was stoic. So if a candidate got a reaction from them, it carried a certain authenticity.

They laughed at things that the audience ignored or disliked or didn't notice. In part because the audience didn't do a whole lot of laughing. But the media laughed like professionals laugh. In-jokey and staid yet ready for anything unexpected.

They loved it when Booker said the thing about "Let me translate that to Spanish … 'No'." And Yang's opening handclaps. As well as Pete Buttigieg's reaction to Yang's raffle.

The biggest laugh of the night in the media center, surprisingly, was when Yang said, "I am Asian, so I know a lot of doctors."

*

Early scientists believed that ants adhere to a complicated hierarchy, which biologist E O Wilson compared to the Hindu caste system. The idea was, ants and humans have a lot in common, and ants belong to a society divided by class and determined by labor.

In the Wealth of Nations, father of capitalism Adam Smith wrote: "It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people."

Ants have been organized into colonized societies since the Cretaceous Period, 140 million years ago, when dinosaurs still dominated the Earth. All of that changed 74 million years later. Which was about 66 million years ago. When a comet slammed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, resulting in the KT mass extinction.

80 percent of all plants and animals died. The ash and dust and debris polluted the air, blocked the sunlight, transforming the Earth into a dark, frozen wasteland full of asthma.

Insects, carrion-eaters, and omnivores all survived. Any purely carnivorous animals starved to death, while mammals and birds fed on insects and worms until the earth repopulated itself with more animals that could be eaten.

The K-T Mass Extinction ushered in a new era of life. Species that had lived in constant retreat from predators were suddenly able to form more elaborate purposes.

After these lifeforms thrived for tens of millions of years, certain mammals started to become vaguely humanlike.
Early humans popped up about 300,000 years ago.

Meaning, ants have existed for 140 million years, which is 139.7 million years longer than humans.

For reference, if you counted to 300,000, it would take you roughly three-in-a-half days. To get to 140 million would take about four-and-a-half years.

Humans only began developing language about 100,000 years ago.

Yet we're the ones with libraries and governments and ABBA and iPhones. What did ants have? Other people's sugar?

*

Before the debate, I wandered out of the gymnasium and onto bustling sidewalks with makeshift security fencing on each side. And hopped over the massive yellow tubes that belonged in E.T. and pumped cold air into the building. Past dozens of police and security, through an elaborate weave of temporary checkpoints and wires bigger than a fire hose.

On the street, I passed a group of six-or-so teenagers flipping DELANEY signs around like those cardboard "WE BUY GOLD" banners which actual people bob around while dressed as Elvis or Lady Liberty or a Banana.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

The sun cast a delightful orange over Houston, glitter in the humid air.

Those kids were having a blast with those signs. Laughing so hard they had to stop occasionally and slap their legs.

On the other side of the fence, some of the most powerful people in the world were readying for battle, and these kids could not have cared less.

*

The protestors had gathered just outside the gates of the campus entrance.

Far as I could tell, it was me and no other journalists present. The rest of the media were in the gymnasium, preparing for the debate or networking or already on-air. Once they got into the media center they stayed put. For many reasons, I assume.
The air collapsed under a wave of heat unique to Houston.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Gnarled blockades served as borders on both sides of the street. Locked into steel fencing, flanked by rows of police cars with their lights on but their sirens off.

Worse than the humidity, and more intense, was the energy bouncing out of the protestors on Cleburne Street. The opposite of suction energy, shoving out with tension and panic and elation.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up" blared from a Bluetooth speaker. I envisioned a slow zoom from above, beginning with the top of my head and rising, up and up and up. Drawing in the greater scene. Up past Trump's message-board plane. A panorama of city, then county, then state, capturing the topography and nuance of each snapshot of nature.

The higher the camera rose, the more I resembled an ant. One more wingless worker or obedient soldier rushing from place to place on a mission.

And when you got far enough above, you saw the colony that each of us belongs to.

Then it shrank like a passing bobsled, and Earth itself resembled an ant.

The scale of it is daunting.

For thousands of years the sky has filled humans with romance and humility and wonder. A restive impulse that strikes when we gaze up at the moon, the stars, the galaxy, the quiet.

But at ground level, I was a man in the throes of a great human drama. And my job was to document it as neutrally as possible.

The 120-odd protestors on the south side of the street spilled onto the sidewalk and into a lawn, and they chanted as the Trump plane groaned overhead.

They were crowded together, and they were all fighting for different causes. Lots of contradictions under the same banner.
Next to a group of Beto supporters with pro-choice t-shirts, several women chanted

We.
Want.
A pro-life.
Dem.

Chaos itself occupied the south side of the street. The protestors weren't sure how to handle it. So they chanted and sang and probed for the problem. Like so many tiny creatures hauling an orange slice.

Across the street, facing that horde of supporters, two men gripped pro-life signs.

They were the counter-protestors. Their barricade was far wider than needed. The grass around them looked sad, like the trail a dog makes along the fence when it wants to escape.

Behind the two counter-protestors, a mini-bus covered with photos of aborted babies, tangled fetuses, severed and indistinguishable chunks.

Photo by Kevin Ryan

Photo by Kevin Ryan

I squinted and gasped and felt downright unwell.

Two days earlier, my wife and I found out that she was pregnant with our first child.

At the very moment I stared at images of tiny human shapes contorted and grey, our baby was the size of a pea.
A few weeks later, we'd see its heartbeat pulsing like a strobe.

I'm not making a statement on abortion. That's not my job as a journalist.

It's more my admiration for the impeccable depth of life. The timing. How messages and symbols confront us all the time, with unmatchable creativity.

Because there I was, literally in the middle of two opposing factions. Again. In the divide. Tangled into so many dichotomies. Life and death. Freedom and oppression. Order and chaos. Activity and stagnation. Creation and loss. Art and nature.

And I had once again remained in the middle.

This brought me tremendous satisfaction. It signified personal and journalistic success.

It was also a bit ridiculous.

As a reporter, I never wanted to pick a side. I already had a side. My side was America, and Ireland. My side was humanity.

My side was life.

New installments of this series come out every Monday and Thursday morning. Check out my Twitter or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak.Not to act is to act."
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The cost of discipleship can be daunting and few people are willing to sacrifice and stand in the face of evil to do what they know God is asking of them. The "Bonhoeffer Angel Award" is awarded to someone with the vision and courage to act when others only talk, to dig in and listen to the whisperings of the spirit when others turn a deaf ear. It is only fitting the inaugural award go to the visionary founder of Mercury One, Glenn Beck.

The award was presented by the Board President of Mercury One, David Barton and CEO of the Nazarene Fund, Tim Ballard. There was a touching video tribute as well including the likes of Penn Jillette, Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Joe Liberman, Congressman Loui Gohmert and Rabbi Daniel Lappin.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

Glenn will be hosting the annual Operation Underground Railroad gala Saturday, November 2nd with keynote speaker Tim Ballard. If you are able to join us, tickets are still available and donations of all sizes are welcome.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!