GLENN: Welcome to the program. We're bringing in Riaz Patel who you might remember is the guy before the election went to Alaska on his own dime. How would you describe yourself politically?
RIAZ: I would say -- well, funny I was Democrat. Democrat liberal, but I'm understanding a whole segment of America I didn't understand before.
GLENN: Right. And you've kind of done what we've done before. Unchained yourself from the label of liberal or Democrat, and you want to end the hatred and the black and white of everything; right?
RIAZ: It's too black and white. That's where media plays, and that's what my profession is. I come from media. And, to me, when you're talking about the safe space, it really is a direct product of what the media has done for two years.
GLENN: Let's talk about the safe space. We just heard in Ohio and also Connecticut. They're bringing in grief counselors today for the teachers and for the children who might be experiencing any kind of discomfort with Donald Trump being the president.
RIAZ: It's less about the discomfort and more about for two years, you were taught that there was nothing positive about this man. That it was like electing Hitler. For two years. There was not one positive thing he said. Now, I am not a Trump supporter. That being said if you're unfair and uneven about news, why are you vilifying? So the result of him winning created this panic that we elected a monster. And that's the direct product of how the media portrayed him for two years.
GLENN: Hang on just a second. That is a different way of looking at it, isn't it? I just associated that with the progressive Namby Pamby I never tied the media and said it is the way he's been portrayed. It actually helps me validate their feelings.
RIAZ: We know this because when you talk to families on the democratic side that I've talked to, the children are unable to get their heads around it. Because in their homes, through their TVs, and to their phones, this monster was running for president against Hillary Clinton. And then when the monster won, they don't know what to do. And I remember on the night of the election, every single parent I know said how do I explain this in the morning to my kids? And I thought why don't they think it's a presidential election? Why don't -- why do they think that humanity is at stake? And I remember being on a parenting panel and a woman said to me "My daughter was at a neighbor's house, and they were discussing politics, and she came home at 2:00 a.m. because she felt unsafe." And everyone said congratulations for teaching your daughter to remove herself out of an unsafe situations. And I sat on a parenting panel as the only male and said, "A little bit shame on you. How long have you known these neighbors?" And she said about a decade.
Why would your daughter ever feel unsafe in a house for someone she has known for a decade? That is the media. The conflict-driven entertainment of reality seeped in, which obviously Donald Trump came from. They taught him how to do this, seeped into every aspect for the past two years of election coverage. It became a reality show. If you saw the CNN ads where they looked like these fighters. It literally looked like a heavy weight fight. The conflict-driven set up of this whole election made it that Hillary had to within win. Had to win. It was the only right choice. Right and wrong. And wrong won. How do you explain to the kids at Ohio state that wrong one? Because you don't understand the other side.
When I went to Alaska, I found the other side, and it's very hard to hate people when they're looking at you saying I hate people for eight long years. And people going to the march, and it was down right mean.
An amazing woman that wrote for Muslims specifically --
GLENN: By the way, so people know, Riaz is Muslim Pakistani immigrant. You've lived here how long?
RIAZ: Most of my life.
GLENN: Okay. And gay man who is married and has an adopted child. So there is no more boxes you can check.
GLENN: For people that we are not supposed to get along with.
RIAZ: I have them all. You have the whole system with me. We don't need to collect the cards. I've got them all.
GLENN: And we had dinner last night. Our family joined Riaz last night for dinner. And what was nice was beforehand, we had a meeting and a bunch of people from the office. And the president of my company is a Jew and obviously he wears the yarmulke and everything else. And here's a Muslim man and Jewish man, and we're all joking together, and we're joking -- he's joking about the Jew building a settlement. Comes over and is, like, don't build a settlement over here. And the Jew is, like, fill a bag of nails and blow me up, and we were all laughing about it.
RIAZ: You have to.
GLENN: Because we were joking about the stereotypes that have kept us apart.
RIAZ: Yes. Yes. and, to me, the only way to live with these labels is to make it funny. When I'm around those labels, those labels are too important. I believe honestly important. This Facebook post was the meanest thing I've seen. They said they got on the bus to DC with all of these Trump supporters with all of these white women. And I thought you're on a march about women's rights and literally on a Facebook thread like mean girls attacking a group of white girls who got on the van. How is this a new era of celebration when even the women, the feminists are attacking the other women? And they'll say, well, women don't support each other.
Well, you're not supporting the women on that van right now. I was literally -- it was after we had dinner. I was utterly shocked. And I think they really need to wake up.
GLENN: So, Riaz, I get a lot of mail from people who say "What you're trying to do is not going to work. Nobody is interested in getting along. The left will never change, and I mean, I'm disappointed in my own side.
GLENN: But I will tell you I get very frustrated and tired at times of going on and talking to people in the press and saying "Look, I understand how you feel." Do you understand how I feel?
And they don't have any care to even think about it.
RIAZ: Because they think they know what's best for you.
RIAZ: And this is something I'm really trying to get people -- again, I'm not interested in the politics space, but I'm interested in the humanity space. When you know people who have lives and situations that are completely different from yours that voted for trump for very specific reasons for their family's welfare, you tell me how you can hate them once you meet them and see their home that slipped off the foundation ten years ago. But they can't afford to move. That is the humanity that's out there if people can get past the labels. And that's what we have to do. We have to do.
GLENN: So how do we talk to somebody, Riaz, that is, you know, encouraging their kids to -- well, let's put it this way. Do you know -- who is the -- he's ABC -- George Stephanopoulos. I read an article without anybody saying, like, "This is weird. This is dangerous."
George Stephanopoulos' young, like, 12-year-old daughter has had to sleep in bed with them at night for, like, the week after the election because they were so upset.
PAT: Scared, I believe is the word they used.
GLENN: And my thought is what the hell is being said in that home by a quote objective reporter that makes your 12-year-old sleep in bed with you at night because they're afraid?
RIAZ: I would love to know that families and children who didn't live off of a two-year diet of liberal doomsday with trump, if they are as traumatized and scared. Even the ones who lost. Just to know.
GLENN: You met my kids last night.
GLENN: My kids -- I mean, everybody -- every liberal would say my kids of course have had a steady diet of fear mongering. Did you think --
RIAZ: No. Not at all. Because there's the discussions you have in the world and then the humanity at home. I don't think we can say your beliefs are wrong. It doesn't work for either side. To me, it's here's what you don't know about me. Here's what you don't know about my life. Here's the way to start the conversation. If I go attack your beliefs, we're not going to end up anywhere. We're going to dig another two years or longer.
To me, here's what you don't know about my life. And that's the way to understand why somebody voted differently. Why somebody believes differently. Why did you make the choices you make? And then beliefs. You're a deadlock. There's no way around that. And so, to me, it's here's what you don't know about me. As much as you want what's best interest for me, this is me. Why don't I tell you what's in best interest for me? And I think that's the way you begin the conversation is this is what you don't know about me. And everyone can do it on both sides. I think the two-year diet of conflict and rage that came from reality TV -- look, we all watch what most of us watch. If people don't want to watch conflict, it will be there as much. So my hope is after this election, we've reached conflict saturation with media. And that people I believe -- I believe your viewers right now they're driving a pickup truck or Tesla, it doesn't matter. They want this to stop. The inauguration day to me is the day we breathe and move on.
So I am hopeful because now this constant yelling about the election is gone. There will be constant yelling, but at least we can move on with our lives, and we know what the truth is for four years.