Ryan: Joe Biden, born to Wing Ding

Photo by Sean Ryan

Along the walkway off the dancefloor of the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa men in funny little black hats waved signs that said "QUIET PLEASE." An order that nobody even tried to follow.

You know that feeling? When you're at a football game on a Friday night, and the entire county is dark except the stadium, because everyone for miles is there? Or when your favorite team wins the greatest honor they are able to win. Or when you walk through Times Square for the first time, and all the approaching pedestrians seems like salmon leaping upstream.

For reference, I was in Spain in 2010, when the Spanish men's soccer won the World Cup for the first time in the country's history. I have gotten caught on streets in Germany and Spain during riots. I have been to lots of concerts.

Yet I was puzzled by the energy inside the Surf Ballroom that Saturday night in early August, for the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding.

The way people's faces grimaced or fists clenched or eyes bulged, and how they skipped around the outside of the dance floor like you would at a decent skating rink, and it was the first time in the campaign that I thought, "Now what in the hell is this about?"

*

The ballroom had the muffled feel of an old comedy club, the kind of setting built for music and dancing as practiced in the 1940s, or earlier. So everything, every sound, felt close. And warm, like a worn LP album through some giant old speakers. So far, it was the closest a Democratic rally had felt electric.

Chaos. Wild. Wild! The place erupted as Elizabeth Warren strutted offstage. At the bottom of the stairs, Joe Biden shifted from foot to foot, surrounded by a small entourage, all wearing "Biden 2020" t-shirts.

Nearly as wild and transfixing as a Trump rally. Which is maybe why everyone was so fired up. Like they were practicing a mean face in the mirror before they use it in a fight.

For this very reason, it felt more like a high school dance than a major rally featuring 20 of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates, all in one place for the first time in who knows how long, as they vied for their chance to rule the world. Traditionally, that dream is ended in Iowa, by forfeit or defeat or preemptive removal.

Nonetheless, these were some powerful people. And one will become the Democratic candidate for President, then possibly President, for 2020-2024 — at least. Or the next one.

Any one of them could become President down the line. Or any number of indispensable positions. Five years is a long time in America, and nobody knows what's next.

But, for these candidates, future elections did not currently matter. What mattered were the media and the public. The locals.

Iowa is traditionally the Everyman State. Come to them with a solution that they can believe in, and they'll side with you.

Do they care about the middle parts of this country, all that land between the Oceans? How do they shape up as a person, as a potential boss? If they get the job, will they care about rural America? Can they shake a hand? Can they look you in the eyes? Can they leave the room and you feel their absence? How are the media reacting to them? Do they have a condescending tone? Are they putting on an act?

In Iowa, the candidates bring their answers directly to the voter, like door-to-door salespeople or traveling magicians.

Spectacle? you bet.

Pageantry? Big time.

In 2015, then-candidate Trump flew above the State Fair in a private helicopter, circling the stage as Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton gave her speech at the Political Soapbox. A lot of Iowans liked that. Many still do.

MSNBC:

A political Willy Wonka, Trump offered rides in his helicopter, which landed at a nearby baseball field, to randomly selected handfuls of Iowa children. 'Come here,' he said to the kids. 'Does anyone want to take a ride? It's nice, right? . . . Who wants to go first?'

Trump, they reported, "was out of his element here but undoubtedly in command."

*

Most of the audience had their candidate t-shirts on. There were candidate badges, too. And lawn signs. Banners. Bumper stickers.

A Springsteen song blasted through the speakers, a little too loud, almost clipping. The song riled Biden.

In his navy-blue suit he gripped the podium from each side. An American flag tassel hung limply over the top. Biden's eyes prowled for each person. A dual-frame mic stand held up two microphones. As backdrop, an American flag stretched two stories high and ran the length of the stage, nearly as big as the one at the Presidential Gun Sense forum.

Muscled and tattooed, men in bright yellow shirts that said "SECURITY" stood watch behind metal barriers. Can-lights shone down on the stage at various angles, held up by metal braces and elaborate rigging, a giant shining skeleton. At each side of the stage were six pole-mounted speakers in trapezoidal plywood cabinets.

The walls were a dark blue, like ocean at night, accented by the white pillars that divided the dancefloor from the walkways and the bars and the restrooms and the museum with so many signed guitars.

Rows of booths flanked the back, on this occasion occupied by journalists, huddles of them, turning each booth into a copse of wire and plugs and paper and computers. In front of them, a pathway to the bar that was always busy, all of it was, everywhere, then a line of cameras divided by a green railing. And men in funny little hats expected people to listen?

"Presidents," Biden said, "the words they say matter."

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

On Monday's episode of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn opened up about the tragic death of his brother-in-law, Vincent Colonna Jr., who passed away unexpectedly on April 5. He also shared some of the important thoughts and insights he's learned through the grieving process.

"Last Monday, I was sitting in this chair ... the two-minute warning comes and Stu said to me, 'You ready for the show?'' ... And that's when my wife [Tania] came to the door of the studio here at our house and said, 'I...' and she held the phone up. And then she collapsed on the floor in tears," Glenn began. "Tania's brother had passed. To say this was a shock, is an understatement."

Glenn described his brother-in-law as having "a servant's spirit."

"He was always the guy who lit up the room. He was always the guy helping others. He would never stop, because he was always helping others," Glenn said of Vincent. "He was on the school board. He was a little league coach. He was the soccer coach. He helped build the church. He took care of the lawn of the church. He was constantly doing things, raising money for charity, working over here, helping to organize this. But he was never the guy in the spotlight. He was just the guy doing it, and you had no idea how much he had done because he never talked about it.

"We also didn't know how much mental anguish he was in because he never talked about it. And last Monday morning, after spending Easter with the family ... he killed himself. This is now the third family member of mine that has gone through this. And I keep seeing it play out over and over and over again, in exactly the same way."

Glenn described his thoughts as he, Tania, and her family struggled to come to grips with the devastating loss.

"I learned some really important things as I was watching this wake. I'm seeing these people from all walks of life ... the people that were there, were there because [Vince] made a difference in their life. He was a true servant. As I'm watching this, all that kept going through my mind was, 'by their fruits, ye shall know them.' The fruits of his labor were on display. He was a servant all the time. All the time ... he found a way to love everybody.

"There are two great commandments: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul. And love your neighbor. So those two great commandments boil down to: Love truth. Because that's what God is," Glenn said.

"Love thy neighbor. That's where joy comes from. The opposite of joy is despair, and that is the complete absence of hope ... and how do you find joy? You find joy by rooting yourself in the truth. Even if that's a truth you don't want to accept. Accept the truth," he added. "But we have to stop saying that there's nothing we can do. What are we going to do? Well, here's the first thing: stop living a lie."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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.

After imprisoning a pastor for refusing to follow COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian officials barricaded his church. And when some church members retaliated by tearing down part of the fence, Canadian Mounties arrived in riot gear.

Rebel News Founder Ezra Levant joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to give his insight on the crazy situation. He described the new, armed police presence surrounding GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and how it not only encouraged hundreds of protesters to stand with the church in support but forced congregation members underground to worship as well.

What's happening is eerily similar to what occurs everyday in China, Levant says, and it must stop. Who would have thought this type of tyranny would be so close to home?

Watch the video below to hear Ezra describe the religious persecution taking place in Canada.


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.

Enough prayers? Why is supposed Catholic Joe Biden suggesting that Congress ought to stop praying for after someone commits acts of gun violence?

On Friday, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray filled in for Glenn and discussed President Joe Biden's remarks during his speech on gun control. "Enough prayers. Time for some action," Biden said. Stu and Pat were surprised how dismissive Biden appeared to be on the idea of prayer.

Watch the clip to hear more. Can't watch? Download the podcast 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.

Just days after Canadian pastor James Coates was released from prison for refusing to bow to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, several police officers showed up at another church to ensure restrictions were being followed. But Polish pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam Church in Alberta, Canada, knew his rights, telling the cops not to come back until they had a warrant in hand.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere played a video of the interaction.

"Please get out. Please get out of this property immediately. Get out!" Pawlowski can be heard yelling at the six officers who entered his church.

"Out! Out! Out! Get out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he continued. "Go out and don't come back. I don't want to talk to you. You Nazis, Gestapo is not allowed here! ... Nazis are not welcome here! Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable sick, evil people. Intimidating people in a church during the Passover! You Gestapo, Nazi, communist fascists! Don't you dare come back here!"

Watch this clip to see the heated exchange:

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.