Ryan: Iowa, Iowa, Iowa

Photo by Sean Ryan

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa.

This was Iowa, the true America. If there is such a thing. There isn't. There is. There has to be. There cannot be. There absolutely is.

Friendly people, in general. Patient, courteous.

At one point, at one of the many train track intersections in the state, the crossing gate lowers and the bell rung and a train chugged by, and several cars waited at the designated line. A few minutes later, the train just stopped on the tracks.

But people kept pulling into the line of cars. And nobody sped off and nobody honked their horns. In New York or Chicago you'd hear screeching and honking and curse words. In Texas or California, peel-outs and gunshots.

It's a lovely state, a charming place. The way the land breathes under you, all spread out like a blanket, and the cornstalks lean with each breeze, and the marigold softness to the horizon without skyscrapers imposing their faces.

Everywhere you look all you see is America. The honeyed scent of fertilizer and livestock. At night the whole world gets so dark and quiet that you can imagine what Adam and Eve felt like, alone in a garden, contemplating the electric sky full of planets and stars and other lives that they could not understand.

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Iowa is 187 times bigger than New York City, yet there are about 3 million people in Iowa, compared to the 9 million in New York City.

There are more hogs than humans in Iowa. That is an actual fact.

Yet I can see why people have stayed in Iowa for generations.

You have to admire its stable geography. The only State with parallel rivers as borders.

And on the easternmost side, along the Mississippi River, there's the world's steepest and shortest railway. On the other, along the Missouri River, a monument to Sergeant Floyd, the only man to die during Lewis and Clark's great expedition. And every July, for a whole week, cyclists traverse that divide, bumping along those uneven roadways.

Just to be clear, I said that there are 21 million hogs in Iowa.

That's roughly the population of Mexico City. Or San Francisco-Oakland and Phoenix and Seattle and Detroit — combined. Or Mumbai. If these Iowa hogs divided into two factions and occupied different sides of the state, Iowa would have two megacities, a classification earned in America only by New York City and Los Angeles.

21 million hogs!

The swine arrived in the 1500s, thanks to the ham-obsessed Spaniards led by Hernando DeSoto. For centuries, Native American tribes alone occupied the land. Sac and Fox Nation, Ioway, Dakota Sioux, Illini, Otoe. Before that, woolly mammoths roamed the plains.

In the 1700s, the French showed up with their fur trade and their treaties. The area belonged to France until 1763, following defeat by Spain in the French and Indian War.

The region flopped from one nation's hand to the next, until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, when the United States government bought swathes of land — from Louisiana to Montana — land that would become Midwestern and Southern states, including Iowa. Congress paid eighteen dollars per square mile.

Shortly after the purchase, the territory's new residents got a little possessive. And soon enough the settlers were shoving the Indians off the land they'd occupied since the Ice Age. Which is some next-level gentrification.

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America has always had a violent streak, and it was violent back then. And cruel. There was mayhem, out there on the wobbly plains. Gunfights, stabbings, honest-to-God cowboy stuff. Gunslingers. Who knows what else.

Then, the Civil War. 1860s. The worst kind of war. The kind that guts a nation. Over a century and a half later, some of those tensions still linger.

Iowa had only been a state for 15 years, with a population of about 500,000. Yet roughly 75,000 Iowan men fought for the Union, the highest percentage of soldiers from any state, on both sides.

And they died like hell, drowning in the mud, ransacked by cannonballs, a bayonet to the guts or the neck or anywhere really, because it was the cruel early stages of modern war, when the technology was advanced enough to kill you from far away, but you still had to get close to the men you were fighting, face to face, in a field or on a hillside, and hundreds of thousands of men needed to die before we decided on the winner.

But America has always been a rugged, unceasing country, a roughneck, a chancer. Most of the time it pays off. We fought a Civil War, and stayed together.

Then came the railroads. Sprouting up all across the country, in the late 1800s. Trains could haul produce from any part of the country to any other part of the country. So the farming jobs flourished in Iowa and the population grew.

In 1901, Quaker Oats was founded in Cedar Rapids. A century later, it would be owned by the company that is Coca-Cola's competitor.

Then, in 1937, Iowa State University professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry created the first automatic electronic digital computer. Meaning, the same state that gave us oatmeal also shoved us toward the creation. of Grand Theft Auto V and iPhones and all the luxuries of our digital reality.

Iowa's era of thriving agriculture collapsed into the Great Depression, then World War I, then World War II. And, everywhere in the world, people wanted to live in large cities, of which Iowa has very few.

Iowans coped how they could, replacing the agricultural with the industrial. During the war, they built tanks, rifles, airplanes, armor. You should know that 8,389 Iowans died by the end of the war on September 2, 1945.

Imagine surviving war. Then returning to endless fields and oceanic skies and a night that sways in all of its majesty.

As the haze of a wartime economy cleared, Iowans enjoyed a sense of renewal. They had benefited from the change of industry. Agriculture had always been their moneymaker, but now they built refrigerators, farming equipment, stationary. To this day, Iowa is the largest producer of eggs, pork, and corn.

In 1958, Winnebago, the RV manufacturer, was founded in Winnebago County, Iowa, and, since that day, your home can be anywhere on this continent, whenever you want.

A year later, music died in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, Iowa.

During the mid-1970s, Indian yogi Maharishi Mahesh settled in Iowa. Mahesh had gained fame as a guru to the Beatles and the Beach Boys in an LSD-drenched era, so Fairfeild, Iowa must have seemed otherworldly to Mahesh. Or perfectly quiet.

While there, he cultivated the Transcendental Meditation technique, built it as a proper school of thought. He even established Maharishi International University, an accredited private school with a "consciousness-based education" system. Mantras, silence, focused breathing, stillness. It caught on in Iowa, and continues to.

Or maybe Iowa had always been meditative and transcendental, all that landlocked rough-patch in the middle of a continent. The prehistoric bones underneath it all.

The 1980s saw an agriculture crash of some sort. But recall the events which occurred in Des Moines, on January 20, 1982, when a 17-year-old boy gripped a dead bat — all fangs and snout — then hurled the poor creature at Black Sabbath.

Ever the performer, Ozzy Osbourne yanked the tiny corpse from the ground and shoved it in his mouth and started gnashing. He thought it was a toy. By the time he realized it was in fact a tiny dead mammal, he'd already started and couldn't break the persona. After the show, he rushed from the venue to Broadlawns Medical Center for a rabies shot.

Ozzy Osbourne's bat decapitation stands as one of the most notorious moments in Rock 'N' Roll history. Happened right there in Des Moines.

Then there's Britt, Iowa, home to the annual National Hobo Convention, as well as the Hobo Museum. Call the town quirky or gross for hosting such a thing. Or see the humanity in it, the neighborliness.

Supposedly, the name "Iowa" is a reference to when Indians discovered the land.

It was the first word they uttered.

When they looked at the sprawling land and the hills, they said "Iowa, Iowa, Iowa," which translates to "beautiful, beautiful, beautiful."

I am currently in Des Moines for the Iowa caucuses. Check my Twitter for live updates. Email: kryan@blazemedia.com

Terry Trobiani owns Gianelli's Drive Thru in Prairie Grove, Illinois, where he put up a row of American flags for the Fourth of July. But the city claimed he was displaying two of them improperly and issued him a $100 ticket for each flag.

Terry joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday to explain what he believes really happened. He told Glenn that, according to city ordinance, the American flag is considered "ornamental" and should therefore have been permitted on a federal holiday. But the city has now classified the flag as a "sign."

"Apparently, the village of Prairie Grove has classified the American flag as a sign and they've taken away the symbol of the American flag," Terry said. "So, as a sign, it falls under their temporary sign ordinance, which prohibits any flying, or any positioning of signs on your property — and now this includes the American flag. [...] The only way I could fly the American flag on my property is if I put it on a permanent 20 to 30-foot flagpole, which they have to permit."

Terry went on to explain how the city is now demanding an apology for his actions, and all after more than a year of small-business crushing COVID restrictions and government mandates.

"COVID was tough," Terry stated. "You know, we're in the restaurant business. COVID was tough on us. We succeeded. We made it through. We cut a lot of things, but we never cut an employee. We paid all our employees. I didn't take a paycheck for a year just to keep our employees on, because it was that important to me to keep things going. And, you know, you fight for a year, and you beat a pandemic, and then you have this little municipality with five trustees and a president, who just have no respect for small businesses. And right now, what I see is they have no respect for the republic and the United States ... I think it's terrible. The direction that government, at all levels, have taken us to this point, it's despicable."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


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The Biden administration is now doing everything it can to censor what it has decided is COVID-19 "misinformation." But Glenn Beck isn't confident that the silencing of voices will stop there.

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, where there is no freedom of speech, and she joined Glenn to warn that America must not let this freedom go.

"Whenever authoritarianism rises, the first thing they go after is freedom of speech," she said.

Watch the video clip below from "The Glenn Beck Podcast" or find the full episode with Yeonmi Park here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Most self-proclaimed Marxists know very little about Marxism. Some of them have all the buzzwords memorized. They talk about the exploits of labor. They talk about the slavery of capitalist society and the alienation caused by capital. They talk about the evils of power and domination.

But they don't actually believe what they say. Or else they wouldn't be such violent hypocrites. And we're not being dramatic when we say "violent."

For them, Marxism is a political tool that they use to degrade and annoy their political enemies.

They don't actually care about the working class.

Another important thing to remember about Marxists is that they talk about how they want to defend the working class, but they don't actually understand the working class. They definitely don't realize that the working class is composed mostly of so many of the people they hate. Because, here's the thing, they don't actually care about the working class. Or the middle class. They wouldn't have the slightest clue how to actually work, not the way we do. For them, work involves ranting about how work and labor are evil.

Ironically, if their communist utopia actually arrived, they would be the first ones against the wall. Because they have nothing to offer except dissent. They have no practical use and no real connection to reality.

Again ironically, they are the ultimate proof of the success of capitalism. The fact that they can freely call for its demise, in tweets that they send from their capitalistic iPhones, is proof that capitalism affords them tremendous luxuries.

Their specialty is complaining. They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They sneer at Christianity for promising Heaven in exchange for good deeds on earth — which is a terrible description of Christianity, but it's what they actually believe — and at the same time they criticize Christianity for promising a utopia, they give their unconditional devotion to a religion that promises a utopia.

They are fanatics of a religion that is endlessly cynical.

They think capitalism has turned us into machines. Which is a bad interpretation of Marx's concept of the General Intellect, the idea that humans are the ones who create machines, so humans, not God, are the creators.

They think that the only way to achieve the perfect society is by radically changing and even destroying the current society. It's what they mean when they say things about the "status quo" and "hegemony" and the "established order." They believe that the system is broken and the way to fix it is to destroy, destroy, destroy.

Critical race theory actually takes it a step farther. It tells us that the racist system can never be changed. That racism is the original sin that white people can never overcome. Of course, critical race theorists suggest "alternative institutions," but these "alternative institutions" are basically the same as the ones we have now, only less effective and actually racist.

Marx's violent revolution never happened. Or at least it never succeeded. Marx's followers have had to take a different approach. And now, we are living through the Revolution of Constant Whining.

This post is part of a series on critical race theory. Read the full series here.

Americans are losing faith in our justice system and the idea that legal consequences are applied equally — even to powerful elites in office.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to detail what he believes will come next with the Durham investigation, which hopefully will provide answers to the Obama FBI's alleged attempts to sabotage former President Donald Trump and his campaign years ago.

Rep. Nunes and Glenn assert that we know Trump did NOT collude with Russia, and that several members of the FBI possibly committed huge abuses of power. So, when will we see justice?

Watch the video clip below:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.