Why Don’t People Understand the Dangers of Socialism?

In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) popularized socialism with his presidential campaign. Socialism is no longer seen as a risk by many young voters. What happened? Why don’t people understand the dangers of socialism when they can see how North Korea and Venezuela have used socialist structures to starve their own people?

Doc talked about free markets and capitalism vs. socialism on today’s show, wondering why younger voters don’t seem to understand that socialism is a threat to freedom.

“Capitalism has become a bad word,” Doc said. “From my earliest memories, I learned the truth about socialism. Socialism is an unsustainable political structure and social structure that will lead to one of several evil, oppressive governments: fascism, communism.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

DOC: Doc Thompson in for Glenn Beck today. I'll be with you tomorrow as well, if you want to follow me on Twitter. It's @DocThompsonShow. And I'll engage with you as well. We'll find out what you learned throughout the program, with the #whatIlearnedtoday. We'll get to some calls coming up, 888-727-BECK. 888-727-BECK.

Over the past few years, on our morning broadcast on TheBlaze Radio Network, and you can find out more about me at TheBlazeRadio.com. It's TheBlazeRadio.com.

We have focused on free markets and freedom. The idea that these things are really good. And I know you're like, well, of course, they're good.

But the problem is, capitalism has become a bad word. Socialism has become, as you know, just this norm, accepted, wonderful, starry-eyed way to go. Just bizarre that we've gotten to that.

From my earliest memories, I learned the truth about socialism. Socialism is an unsustainable political structure or social structure that will lead to one of several evil, oppressive governments.

Fascism, communism, theocracies. Any of these things start with the idea of socialism. Somebody can orchestrate the perfect society by dictating how you live, how much you must give, redistributing what everybody has. It's unsustainable and leads to some sort of totalitarianism. It gets the support of the masses from the concept of, well, you don't have enough. So we'll go get it from those people. And the government will tell them how much they can have, and you get to have some of theirs. It all starts off with the noblest of causes and always ends the same way. One bad society.

We're seeing a living example of that throughout 2017. In Venezuela. An absolute disaster.

That's what always ends up happening. The countries that have been totalitarian regimes that have had increased successes over the last few years, decades, are countries who have gone away from that. Countries like China, for example. And taken up more capitalist policies.

So we support the idea of free markets. And not just bitching about the little snowflakes who support socialism in their safe spaces on college campuses and why socialism is so wonderful. "Bernie 2020." But the good news and positive ideas. And positive outcomes from capitalism and free markets and letting people decide for themselves how to live.

And we're going to do even more of that in 2018. We offer free commercials to people on the air. You got a business? Email me. Believe America at TheBlaze.com. We spotlight businesses, just to say, hey, here's your jump-start because marketing is difficult and expensive. And we're going to do even more of that in 2018. We got some huge ideas coming up that are going to help you, even if it's not a full business.

You just have a little side stream of income. Ideas. Practical things that are going to help. Helping you and helping people understand the positive of free markets is where we're going 2018. So please join us on our program. Again, building America at TheBlaze.com if you want to be spotlighted on our show.

All right. We'll get to some calls before we move on. We have some other things happening in the world today.

Let's go to Line 44. Jerry in Wisconsin, you are on the Glenn Beck Program. How are you?

CALLER: Hey, Doc, you're probably right. There's probably sometimes where the media has been unfair to Donald Trump. I'm not going to completely deny that. But considering what Donald Trump has said about the media, he has called the media -- he has stated that it's disgusting, that the American person press, that the media has the right to report what they want.

He has -- he's literally a fascist. You're a Libertarian. He's a fascist. He's an authoritarian. He has contempt for the First Amendment. His quotes are nothing different than what Mussolini might say. He has disdain for our idea, for the press to report. The only media he likes is media that parrots what he says and that praises him like Fox News. This is a man who just shouldn't be president. He has contempt for the first president and what our Founding Fathers gave us.

DOC: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Shouldn't be president. What do you mean by that?

CALLER: Because he has contempt for the Constitution. He has contempt for what the right of free press, as I stated -- he said it was disgusting. Said the media has the media to report what they do --

DOC: Let me ask you something. Hang on one second. Hang on one second, Jerry. I'll let you talk some more.

I just want to explore one thing. Is Donald Trump over the age of 35?

CALLER: Yeah.

DOC: Is he a natural-born citizen?

CALLER: I didn't say that he's ineligible. I said he shouldn't be.

DOC: Well, he became president. Based on --

CALLER: Mussolini became the leader of Italy. Should Mussolini -- tell me, should Mussolini become the leader of Italy? Do you think it was a great thing that Mussolini became the leader of Italy? Because I don't.

DOC: No, no, no, you're conflating it. People supported him, and people have a difference of opinion.

Now, you can say you don't support his ideas. But I hate this idea of shouldn't be and not my president and all of that nonsense.

CALLER: I didn't say not my president. I just said he shouldn't be. He shouldn't be. Like Republicans said the same thing about Obama. When Obama was president for eight years, they said the exact same thing. I'm saying the same thing about Trump. He shouldn't be.

DOC: You mean you don't want him to be president? You wish he was not president?

CALLER: No. Mentally, he's deranged. He's a narcissist. He's emotionally immature. He's completely unqualified. He's president, but he's a horrible president. That's the point.

DOC: Okay. Now, you're basing that on you having different values than him? Is that why you're saying he's a horrible president?

CALLER: I've listened to him for the last 20 years.

DOC: Give me a couple of specifics of him, and you say he's a horrible president.

CALLER: Well, okay. The war on the media -- the war on freedom on the press.

DOC: Hold on one second. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

CALLER: Praising Nazis.

DOC: We're taking this one at a time. This is a conversation. One at a time.

CALLER: Okay.

DOC: So the war on the press. Do you mean the war on the press where he's challenged people like Jim Acosta and said that's fake news? Is that what you mean by that?

CALLER: That's one. But anyway --

DOC: No. Hold on, Jerry. I want to explore these -- hold on. Hang on. Jerry, hang on. Hang on.

We're going to get to this stuff. It's a conversation, Jerry. Hold on. Hold on. So are you talking about stuff like Jim Acosta, where he has challenged them and said, sit down, you're fake news and stuff? Is that what you're talking?

CALLER: Well, anything they report he calls fake news, even if the reporting is exactly right. Because to Donald Trump, anything that's not in his reality is fake news. He praises news that praises him, like Fox News, which is the propaganda arm of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

DOC: And, Jerry, you really -- really are going to say those things without calling out President Obama for his closed door special meetings with certain members of the media? You're not going to call out MSNBC for being his talking surrogate during his platform -- during his presidency? You're not going to be consistent?

CALLER: Okay. Those -- they did favor President Obama. That's true. Yes.

DOC: No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, Jerry, hold on. Hold on. Wait a minute. Hold on a second. Hold it. No, no, no. They did not favor him. They promoted him. They, CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC --

CALLER: The liberal media. The liberal media.

DOC: Don't do that. See, this is the reason people can't have discussions, Jerry. This is the reason. I'm admitting Donald Trump of course likes media that's going to favor him. And, yes, Fox News praises him because they are a right-wing media outlet. Of course. But you're not willing to give that due? You're not willing to be consistent? You've lost credibility if you're not willing to point out that the other media outlets rabidly, blindly supported President Obama because they are progressives.

CALLER: Okay. Rabidly, blindly, no.

DOC: Hold on. Hold on. Do you work in the media? Do you work in the media?

CALLER: No.

DOC: Okay. I work in the media. My wife works in the media. She works in television media. And I can tell you overwhelmingly, people in the media are progressive. It's not even close. It's not even, well, it's 60-40. It's like 80-20. 90-10. The number of progressives. It's true. But you don't -- hold on, Jerry. You don't even need to know that though to look at the reporting. I can't believe you would defend this, knowing, just admit it -- listen, is Rush Limbaugh, is Glenn Beck, are they on the right? Yes. I'm not disputing that. Were they critical of Obama because they don't like his policies? Yes, I'm not disputing that. So wouldn't you simply hold people accountable to have credibility so we can have honest discussions? Why do you make me go through this when you know the truth?

CALLER: Okay. Know the truth. One, even MSNBC, they're not as biased as Fox News. Probably -- one of the reasons why so many people in the media are on the left are --

DOC: You lost all credibility -- hold it. When you say -- hold it. We can't argue here. When you say they're not biased, you've lost as credibility. You know that's not the truth.

CALLER: Well, Doc, you still don't answer me. Are you fine with Donald Trump saying the media was disgusting, that they have the right to report what they did? Because to me, that's disdain and contempt for our Founding Fathers.

DOC: No, I have no problem with him saying the media is disgusting.

CALLER: No, it's disgusting they have the right to report and publish. He believes the media shouldn't have the right. He believes the media shouldn't have the right -- in the First Amendment that James Madison wrote down --

DOC: Hold it. Jerry, Jerry, stop with the historical lesson. Trust me, I understand the First Amendment. I understand that.

No, of course, the freedom of the press is solid. It's absolute. Of course, it is. And anybody who says, whether it's Donald Trump or President Obama, is wrong. Do you remember President Obama calling out Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh? Do you remember --

CALLER: I don't remember him saying --

DOC: Do you remember him calling out Fox News? Do you remember those things?

CALLER: Disgusting. I don't remember him saying it's disgusting that Sean Hannity can report what he wants. You tell me when President Obama said that and I will apologize and take that -- any position. You tell me when President Obama said it was disgusting for the media to do that.

DOC: When he called them out for their biases and not admitting the other, so you're hung up on the word disgusting. Jerry, you know the truth here. I'm not argue that go Fox News is biased. And I'm not arguing that President Trump shouldn't say people don't have a right to report.

Of course, they do. They can report opinion for that matter. I just prefer them to be transparent up front.

But the fact that you and others are not being consistent now because you simply do not like policies of his and you may not like the way he presents himself, you've lost all credibility. You are actually -- Jerry, you are actually the problem.

CALLER: He's a fascist. He's a fascist.

DOC: Stop. Stop. We're not going down that road. I'm talking about your lack of credibility right now. How are we supposed to find common ground and have discussions when you know the truth and you can't just simply admit that?

CALLER: I know the truth as you stating what I should know the truth.

DOC: Jerry, you've exposed yourself.

CALLER: CNN. Somewhat on the left.

DOC: No, no, no, no. No probably. No, Jerry, no. Hold it. Hold it a second. There's no probably with this, Jerry. There's no probably with, yeah, they are. Just admit it.

MSNBC is every bit as progressive as Fox News is conservative. I'm willing to concede. Fox News -- absolutely the same. But on the other side, CNN, absolutely. I'm not trying to say, oh, Fox News isn't. Fox News is right. Of course. I work for TheBlaze.

We're from a right-leaning perspective. Of course, we're admitting it. We will never get beyond this stuff. We will never find solutions. We will never find common grounds that you supposedly want. You want to have discussions. We got to have a conversation on race in America. We can never have any conversations on this stuff.

Because you will not be consistent. Because that is not what a progressive is. It is a cornerstone of progressivism, which you are, to not be consistent.

CALLER: That's what I wanted to know. Thanks.

DOC: And there you go. There it is.

Willing to have a conversation, but he's a fascist, whatever, whatever. I'm willing to discuss with you. We can find common ground. But if you're going to start with, those people are worse and it didn't happen here, President Trump should not say, people do not have a right to report. Of course, they do. And the things where he has tweeted, suggested, said things like that, absolutely wrong. The First Amendment is absolute. Period.

He was wrong. Calling the media out, I have no problem with. I have no problem challenging the media and reporting.

Why can't you? Why can't you as president or a senator or a governor? Of course, you can call people out.

I had no problem with President Obama calling media sources out, as long as he was being consistent and willing to admit that he has these little back-door meetings, special, private, hey, can you guys report on this and not that meetings, with people at the White House. You're not being honest. You're not being transparent. As long as you do that and you're consistent, we can move forward. We can find solutions.

But until you do, yeah, it actually gives me a little bit of pleasure when President Trump beats up on the media. Because finally, somebody calls them out, unlike you.

This is Doc Thompson in for Glenn Beck.

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!