Ryan: The Ascent of Kanye West

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Apollo, god of poetry, light, prophecy, dance. Star of Greek mythology, rivaled only by Zeus, his father. God of justice. God of purification, knowledge, healing. God of the Sun. But most of all, god of music. So they called him the Leader of the Muses.

And on a bright Sunday morning midway through November, at the tail end of a decade, Kanye West looked out at the congregation of Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church, a 16,000-seater originally built for the Houston Rockets, and said, "Jesus has won the victory: Now the greatest artist God ever created is now working for him."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye's newest album, Jesus Is King, had been out for three weeks, and like every Kanye album, it was controversial, as adored as it was unaccepted.

Critics had shown a mostly tepid response, but nobody could tell if their disinterest was genuine, or if it was politically motivated.

After all, for the past year, Kanye had once again managed to penetrate the epicenter of American society. The last two Presidents had literally shamed and cursed Kanye, but, still, who could've guessed he would befriend this one?

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The week after Kanye's Olsteen appearance, at the House impeachment hearings, as the entire country watched and listened, Congressmen and diplomats would mention longtime Kanye collaborator A$AP Rocky no less than five times, in casual reference to the Kardashians and the deal between Trump and Sweden, struck at the urging of Kanye West.

Meanwhile, Jesus is King became the ninth consecutive Kanye album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 — a feat he shares with Eminem and The Beatles — and the sixth time in the 2010s alone. And, to be fair, his only studio album not to debut at number one was The College Dropout, his first, which went triple platinum and earned the third-most Grammy nominations in one night, winning Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song with "Jesus Walks."

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Jesus is King was also the first record ever to top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums, Christian Albums, and Gospel Albums simultaneously. All eleven tracks charted on the US Billboard 100, joining the other 96 Kanye songs to have landed on the Top 100.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

This album was different, and not just because of Kenny G. For the first time, Kanye was not a god or a self-destructive fallen angel. He was a father, a husband, a son, and, most important, a man full of belief, with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a choir.

"I remember sitting in the hospital at UCLA after having a breakdown," he told the congregation, "and there's documentations of me drawing a church and writing about starting a church in the middle of Calabasas."

That night, following an afternoon of ice-skating at the Galleria, Kanye returned to Lakewood Church and performed a concert. Imagine hearing a his electro-gospel opera in an arena designed, acoustically, for professional basketball games. Only better, because everything had been padded. With LSD graphics on the swirly blue carpet.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When we experience art, it changes us.

So there I was, four rows from the stage, crying in front of FoxNews. Because Kanye had brought his Sunday Service choir with him, and they were singing "Ultralight Beam," one of the few perfect songs ever made, a song that played during my wedding ceremony, the song my daughter, God willing, will be born to, a song I have never once listened to without at least tearing up.

“Jesus Is King" A Sunday Service Experience at Lakewood Church with Kanye Westyoutu.be

"This is a God dream, this is a God dream. This is everything."

Kanye was the only person onstage dressed in his own clothing, a neatened blazer. The choir were draped in grey, like holy silhouettes.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

So who cares about FoxNews and their snotty reporters in their shoulder-padded blazers. The rest of us had drifted into the immediacy of it all. And I wasn't about to play stoic journalist here. I wasn't a reporter first and a human or an American later.

The choir zigzagged on the loft flanking the stage. Each of them had a headset microphone, like Garth Brooks.

God only knew how they sang so perfectly. How did they project their voices like that? More beautiful than anything we had ever heard, more beautiful than water.

After "Ultralight Beam," it was "Every Hour," the mesmeric opening track of Jesus Is King.

Sing every hour, Every minute, Every second, Sing each and every millisecond, We need you

Every Houryoutu.be

The performance felt all the more sacred because this was church, where people gathered to lose themselves, to sing as a chorus, to confront who they really are.

Across the street, one protestor stood hollering.

Meanwhile thousands of people waited at the entrance, giddy to get in. They would join us in no time. Soon, they would fill every seat in this church.

*

That morning, Kanye told Olsteen,

"It's like the devil stole all the good producers, all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people and said, 'you gotta come over and work for me.' And now the trend, the shift, is going to change."

Jesus Is King was the result of a new cultural and artistic movement that more or less started with 2016's Life of Pablo, Kanye's closeted gospel album. Which was a surprising departure from 2013's Yeezus, with its tangled social commentary and fashionable solipsism. And that drum sound, the one every half-decent producer has spent the last six years failing to emulate.

The 2010's saw him grow more cerebral. He even teased a book of philosophy titled Break the Simulation.

Then, in 2018, he released Ye, the second of five albums in a Kanye-produced series, all recorded at his Wyoming studio. In keeping with the criticisms of hip-hop he voiced on "Ye vs. The People"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye eschewed many of the themes he'd embraced for so long, replacing them with meditations on mental illness, fatherhood, suicide, love, and addiction. The album's working title had been "LOVE EVERYONE."

On "I Thought About Killing You," he raps,

The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.

The title "Ye" is not just the diminutive of "Kanye."

As he said in an interview

I believe 'ye' is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and, in the Bible, it means 'you,' so it's [saying] "I'm you, I'm us, it's us." It went from being Kanye, which means the only one, to just ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything, that I'm just more of a reflection of who we are, just as beings.

Philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer wrote that

All individuality is a manifestation of universal life, and hence everyone carries a tiny bit of everyone else with him, so that divination is simulated by comparison with oneself.

In the months following the release of Ye, Kanye would live out this idea, and build his own movement, a reflection of who we are, then begin his church in Calabasas.

*

At 10:30 that morning, the three of us — Samantha Sullivan, my wife Caroline, and me —- strolled into the arena and claimed seats in the media section.

That place resembled the inside of an ant colony. We were three ants.

The service began with errorless music, then shifted into a quick, stirring message by Osteen, who always seemed to appear onstage from nowhere, privvy to the kind of big-money stage tricks you find at a Shania Twain concert.

The entire place and all the Jumbo-Trons and all the people, it all had a cinematic presence.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

A preliminary giddiness spread through the room. Then, Kanye emerged, there on the stage, and the place erupted.

A man in a "Jesus is King" shirt danced around his seat.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Everyone took their seats, but one man standing in the crowd shouted affirmations. "Speak truth my brother," he shouted.

The man shouted several more times, then Kanye politely told the guy to hold off on the support because it wasn't helping, because Kanye needed relative quiet to capture and release his flow.

The ceiling glowed in skittish purple.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Kanye described the corrupting force of the media. A chill came over the room. Behind him, the unapologetic blue of Jesus Is King.

It was my first encounter with Joel Osteen, and I was surprised and somewhat baffled to find him likeable, based on everything I'd ever heard about the man.

Kanye said as much, that Osteen is nothing like the version of Osteen many people have broadcast.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Osteen laughed, "When you've got Kanye defending you, you've made it, man."

Rays of light danced through the arena. I'm talking Pink Floyd light show levels.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

With 21 Grammys, Kanye is tied with Jay-Z as the most decorated hip-hop artist of all time.

Osteen asked Kanye what he would say to his younger self, if he could go back in time.

"You know, it's nothing I can say to the younger Kanye through words," he said. "I could speak to the younger Kanye through music."

*

Osteen played the middle section of "God Is," arguably the focal point of the album.

And Kanye danced and rapped along with it. And the surreality of the situation was daunting. Was that really Kanye West up there? with Joel Osteen? dancing to his gospel song?

Six or seven years ago, I saw Kanye a mile away at the Toyota Center — coincidentally, the current home of the Houston Rockets — for his and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne tour. It was a much different experience than this.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When Kanye finished, the media flooded out. As did a quarter of the people in the congregation. This bothered many of the regulars.

Security and ushers yanked big grey mop buckets from cabinets, and dispersed them down aisles, and money music played.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then the time for prayer. Prayer leaders lined the walls and pews. And anyone could walk over to them and pray. Men and women clung to strangers, crying sometimes, hugging. Holding hands, whispering phrases.

*

One of the media coordinators pulled us out of the sermon, led us through passageways and elevators, past classrooms and security guards, through a black sheet, then behind a barricade.

This is where all the media had rushed off to like old folks trying to get the best seat for bingo.

Each news outlet was allowed one question.

After 15 minutes, the energy changed and you could tell they were near.

Then, Kim Kardashian-West was walking our way, holding her daughter's hand, followed by Kanye, who was followed by Osteen.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

"Nice tags," Kanye said, referring to my "GOOD" necklace.

Then:

Brief interview with Kanye West and Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Nov. 17 in Houston, TXwww.youtube.com

Some of the outlets asked more than one question, but that was on them. They were the ones sinning in church.

*

As Kanye and Olsteen shuffled away, down the line of journalists, I said hello to a small crew from FoxNews as they packed their equipment.

"We're from TheBlaze," I said, smiling. To which they sneered and glanced at one another then got back to their conversation.
Samantha rolled her eyes and the three of us wandered around for an exit.

"Did we just get stiff-armed by Fox News?" Said one of us. "I didn't think they were allowed to look down on anybody."
"I've had that with people from Fox on several occasions," one of us replied.

"I mean, I thought I was doing them a favor a favor by acknowledging them. Nobody else does."

Then it happened again, a few minutes later, this time with someone we had worked with, someone who knew us.
You bet we were salty.

Bad as it felt to be judged like that, it was good to be underestimated. A relief. It meant we could perform without anyone caring or watching.

They had no idea who we were or what we were really doing. Good.

*

In November 2007, Kanye's mother died during a routine surgery. He and his mom, Dr. Donda West, had always been incredibly close. She raised him alone, after Kanye's father left, when Kanye was three.

A few months later, his engagement with Alexis Phifer abruptly ended.

He was 30 at the time.

Oddly, this tragic sequence of events would cause the birth of auto-tune in rap. Broken-hearted, Kanye wanted to sing. So he ran his voice through a vocoder.

Kanye's album 808s & Heartbreak, which like Jesus is King has no curse words, shoved music ahead at least two decades, into a world of synth-driven robotic R&B/Rap love songs belted out in janky auto-tune. That description doesn't sound ridiculous today. But that's only because Kanye eschewed the stale hip-hop of the early 2000s and reinvented the genre, something he has accomplished with every album.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Then, he went on tour. But he never took off any time following his mother's death. And, by the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he'd fallen to what he calls his sunken place.

He and then-girlfriend Amber Rose brought a bottle of Hennessy with them to the award show. They took slugs in the limo. Then on the red carpet.

When Taylor Swift won the award for Best Female Video, Kanye stormed the podium, sunglasses on, and grabbed the microphone, said "Imma let you finish," then let everyone know the award should've gone to Beyoncé, for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."

He was kicked out immediately. He tweeted, "Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real."

Followed by an apology. Then a few days later, during an appearance on debut episode of "The Jay Leno Show"

Leno asked Kanye, "What do you think [your mom] would have said about this?"

That hit Kanyelike a punch to the jaw. He teared up, froze.

He publicly apologized to Swift. Several times.

But it did little to quell the blowback. Once again, it felt like the entire nation hated Kanye. Compounded by a hot-mic recording of Barack Obama — the country's first black President — calling Kanye a jackass.

So the embattled Kanye retreated to Hawaii to record a masterpiece, 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

*

"We are a Christian country," Kanye said at one point, to uproarious applause.

The vast majority of Americans, 90 percent, believe in a higher power.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

And America has the largest number of Christians in the world, with roughly 167,000,000, comprising 65-to-70 percent of the population. But that's down from 80 percent, as part of a downward trend over the last two decades.

The percent of Americans who attend a religious service of any kind — church, synagogue, or mosque — is even lower, less than half.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

One political scientist blamed the public's growing distrust in institutions. Another blamed conservatives. A writer from New York Magazine took it a step further.

Meanwhile, David French.

As always, the issue is far more nuanced than either side will admit.

Somehow, in the last twenty years, church and religion had become not just uncool, but slightly villainous.

All day, every time I looked around — at people singing, at people dancing, at people crying in joy or in the relief and recognition of their pain — I thought, "How could this ever be a bad thing?"

Photo by Caroline Ryan

I had spent my life going to concerts, had seen Kanye West numerous times, and this was something other than a concert, and unlike anything I'd seen from Kanye. It was also more than just religious or spiritual.

A family of strangers in a city of 6 million, in a world of 7-and-a-half billion, broadcast live, led by a man who fought off the devil in front of us for years. Who struggled with life just like we do, only we could nitpick through the one-way mirrors of our phones and our TVs.

But, now, he had been baptized in public.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

Some people were still negative about Kanye's recent faith, especially Christians. As Kanye raps on "Hands On"

What have you been hearin' from the Christians?
They'll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Consensus was, they couldn't believe him. As a Kanye fan since I was 13, I can tell you that he is genuine. It's really his only setting. Plus, his spiritual transformation has been building for quite some time.

*

By the time we returned to Lakewood that evening, the sky had turned dark blue, and frantic with airplanes.

The sidewalks around the arena overflowed with people. Police cars jutted out in crooked lines to block entrances or exits, the strobe of red-white-blue whirling onto pedestrians' faces.

Across the street, facing the giant arena, a man with a bullhorn ranted about the evils of sinful music.

Earlier that day, sheepish protestors had occupied the spot, holding red poster-sized letters that spelled out "I M P E A C H." There were only four of them, though, so they had to double up and share, and sometimes the "H" slanted down or the "I" slipped loose.

"Impeach Kanye?" one of us said, laughing.

"Kanye 2020," shouted someone.

The air was electric. People bounced when they stepped, or walked faster than normal, or turned oddly as they spoke like a third-year professor.

They sang along as they passed traffic-jam cars, most of which were blasting Kanye.

A chorus of police whistles and the usual rumble of semi-trucks passing on US-59. Just down the street, porn shops and strip clubs and a Ferrari dealership. Immediately Southwest, the Mahatma Ghandi District. West, the Galleria, home of the opulent Galleria mall, where Kanye and Kim and family gone ice-skating earlier.

Inside the arena, a different world, low-lit and glowing. A dreamscape of lambent crimsons and violets, a deeper, warmer, slower take on the lights atop the police cars outside. Globular squares of blue were arrayed along the ceiling.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

When the musicians emerged to their instruments, the arena was still half-empty. The show had already been delayed 40 minutes. The demand to get in was so ferocious that the security gate was jammed up like a glass Ketchup jar.

Then, like spirits, men and women drifted onstage in all-grey uniforms and matching hats that looked like they should say "VIETNAM VETERAN" but actually said "Sunday Service."

Every single member wore brand-new grey YEEZY Boosts.

From the start, the performance was cinematic, a sort of new-world opera sung by a chorus of young American muses with nose rings or gold chains or dreadlocks or pink hair.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

From the huddle, a young man rose, and began reciting a poem. It was the invocation of the muse.

Gadamer wrote that poetry "becomes a test of what is true, in that the poem awakens a secret life in words that had seemed to be used up and worn out, and tells us of ourselves"

*

After a whirling rendition of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," the choir began "Ultralight Beam."

They let the song spread. It grew enormous.

The air swirled as the song widened.

Kanye waited out of view, then appeared without ceremony.

A collective gasp when people recognized the melody of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Which sounds like a dream already, with all that wilderness.

So it was even stranger when the song morphed into SWV's "Weak," a skating rink anthem written by Charlie Wilson of the GAP Band. A classic.

The choir were their own countervailing force. Yet they also connected us to the drama of the performance.
Looking back, I wish I could live in those moments forever.

*

Then came their cover of "Father Stretch My Hands" by Pastor T.L. Barrett And the Youth for Christ Choir.

Father Stretch My Handswww.youtube.com

Kanye has paid homage to Barrett's track on two different songs, from two different albums.

It was his prayer.

Pastor T.L. Barrett, a man who's lived an exciting and at times difficult life, only to become a Pentecostal preacher on Chicago's south side, and form a choir of 40 teenagers from his weekly choir practice.

If you dive into Barrett, you'll better understand what Kanye is doing.

*

Ten seats from Kim Kardashian-West, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) stared ahead in a neat grey suit, occasionally poking at his phone and blasting people on Twitter.

Which means there were at least two people in the building who have appeared on Saturday Night Live.

There were other politicians, including Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. And even more at the earlier service. You could tell they were politicians the same you can tell a vegan burger from a real Whopper. Several times, Kanye held up his phone up and read the words from his newer songs.

Like "Selah," which built into "Hallelujah"s at the end, intoxicating and perfect, like being sucked into an undertow. Which led into "Follow God," a continuation of "Father I Stretch My Hands."

Kanye uses the image of stretched hands to express his own submission and the process that leads to his healing. As a reference to John 21:18

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

But the song is also about Kanye's literal father, and an argument they had. Then, under it all, he adds a sample of "Can You Lose By Following God" by Whole Truth. He ended the song with his Kanye shriek, somewhat confusing and abrasive with a choir present.

Then — something I did not expect. The thumping bass of Cajmere's "Brighter Days (Underground Goodie Mix)."

And now this was cosmic gospel.

It felt like a rave. Have you been to a rave? It's people dancing, taking MDMA. That is what it felt like.

Flourishes like that were part of Kanye's genius. No other gospel performance would dare. You won't find that kind of diversity at any other hip-hop show, either. The acoustic instruments, the choir. Maybe during a set by electronic musicians like Moodyman or DJ Koze. But, no choir. Yet here Kanye was, at Joel Osteen's church, blasting classic techno.

Oddly enough, though, the most popular song of the night was "Closed on Sunday," Kanye's ode to Chic-Fil-A.

Everyone in the arena knew the words. So then there were two choirs, in a dialogue. I didn't think it was possible, but the collective harmony got even more intense and engulfing than it had all night. So much so that the house speakers started to peak in one corner of the arena.

Photo by Caroline Ryan

The Ancient Greeks were the first to use a chorus. In the 5th Century B.C., 50 actors would gather in the orchestra pit and sing in unison, commenting on the action of the play, describing scenes to the audience. They were a collective force. They represented one character, who was able to connect the audience to the characters and events onstage.

Kim Kardashian was front and center filming with her phone, as two of the West kids jumped around on the trippy blue carpet.

The performance was nearing its end, and suddenly Kanye was dressed like everybody else in the choir. Grey Yeezy kit and the Sunday Service hat. His transformation. From Kanye West to Pastor Ye, stretching hands.

Then, he was gone.
One by one, the choir began fluttering off the stage, to the Clark Sisters' "You Brought the Sunshine."

Half were gone, when I noticed the singer with braided hair crying. With every exhale, she collapsed her hands into the floor. Let them fall like tired flowers. Arrayed in fitful blue. She gasped. She heaved her shoulders like a wingspan. For a moment it was like she would actually take flight.

A security guard peered over the railing from above the stage. He looked like God.Symbolically, he was.

New installments of this series on the 2020 elections come out every Monday and Thursday. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

6 things every voter needs to know heading into the 2024 election

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Election season is coming up and every vote matters. Over the last four years, our country has experienced some of the lowest lows it has seen in a long time. From horrors at the southern border to government overspending, it is clear: our country is in trouble. Everybody needs to get out and vote.

When you look at the numbers, there are some noticeable trends in who actually votes... and who doesn't. According to Pew Research, the more mature crowd (30 and up) gets out there and does their civic duty, while the younger crowd (18 to 29) just doesn't make it out to the polls. If you are a young or first-time voter, the process can seem daunting. You have to jump through some bureaucratic red tape before you can head to the polls, which can be frustrating and discouraging for someone who has never done it before.

If this describes you or someone you know, you're in luck. We compiled everything you need to know to get ready to hit the polls this election season in a convenient guide below.

Get an I.D.

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The first thing you'll need is a valid state I.D. These can take a while to acquire, so if you don't yet have one, it's time to get on it. Not all states require I.D., and every state has different requirements. You can check to see if your state requires an I.D. to vote here.

Register to vote

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Every state, except North Dakota, requires prospective voters to register, so it is important to make sure you are registered in the state and county you reside in. Every state has a different registration process. You can find your state's registration website here.

Confirm date of election day

You want to make sure you arrive at the polls at the right date and time. Most states have a set election day, and often there are even a few days or weeks of early voting that lead up to it. Check out this list of election dates to find out your election day and mark it in your calendar.

Find your polling location

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You can find polling locations on your state's voter information website, which can be found here. Keep in mind that you will likely have to find a location within the county where you reside. These locations often include public schools, public libraries, city halls, and other public buildings.

Research candidates on the ballot

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Before you vote, it is important to be educated in what you are voting for. Find out who will be on the ballot (and don't be surprised when it's not just the presidential nominees), and do a little digging. Don't assume that because a candidate has a little "R" next to their name they share your values. You can visit this website to find out who will be on the ballot in your local area.

Actually go vote

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There is nothing else to to but get out there and vote! Go out there and make your voice heard!

What do clay pots have to do with to preserving American history?

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Editor's note: This article was originally published on TheBlaze.com.

Why should we preserve our nation’s history? If you listen to my radio program and podcast, or read my columns and books, you know I’ve dedicated a large part of my life and finances to sourcing and preserving priceless artifacts that tell America’s story. I’ve tried to make these artifacts as available as possible through the American Journey Experience Museum, just across from the studios where I do my daily radio broadcast. Thousands of you have come through the museum and have been able to see and experience these artifacts that are a part of your legacy as an American.

The destruction of American texts has already begun.

But why should people like you and me be concerned about preserving these things from our nation's history? Isn’t that what the “big guys” like the National Archives are for?

I first felt a prompting to preserve our nation's history back in 2008, and it all started with clay pots and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1946, a Bedouin shepherd in what is now the West Bank threw a rock into a cave nestled into the side of a cliff near the Dead Sea. Instead of hearing an echo, he heard the curious sound of a clay pot shattering. He discovered more than 15,000 Masoretic texts from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D.

These texts weren’t just a priceless historical discovery. They were virtually perfect copies of the same Jewish texts that continue to be translated today. Consider the significance of that discovery. Since the third century B.C. when these texts were first written, the Jewish people have endured a continued onslaught of diasporas, persecutions, pressures to conform to their occupying power, the destruction of their temple, and so much more. They had to fight for their identity as a people for centuries, and finally, a year after the end of the Holocaust and a year before the founding of the nation of Israel, these texts were discovered, confirming the preservation and endurance of their heritage since ancient times — all due to someone putting these clay pots in a desert cave more than 2,000 years ago.

I first felt a prompting to preserve our nation's history back in 2008, and it all started with clay pots and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

So, what do these clay pots have to do with the calling to preserve American history? I didn’t understand that prompting myself until the horrible thought dawned on me that the people we are fighting against may very well take our sacred American scriptures, our Declaration of Independence, and our Bill of Rights. What if they are successful, and 1,000 years from now, we have no texts preserved to confirm our national identity? What kind of new history would be written over the truth?

The destruction of American texts has already begun. The National Archives has labeled some of our critical documents, like our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, as “triggering” or “containing harmful language.” In a public statement, the National Archives said that the labels help prepare readers to view potentially distressing content:

The Catalog and web pages contain some content that may be harmful or difficult to view. NARA’s records span the history of the United States, and it is our charge to preserve and make available these historical records. As a result, some of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance.

According to this statement, our founding documents are either “outdated, biased, offensive,” “possibly violent,” or a combination of these scathing descriptions. I’m sorry, the Declaration of Independence is not “triggering.” Our Constitution is not “outdated and biased,” and our Bill of Rights certainly is not “offensive and possibly violent.” They are glorious documents. They should be celebrated, not qualified by such derogatory, absurd language. Shame on them.

These are only the beginning stages of rewriting our history. What if they start banning these “triggering” documents from public view because they might offend somebody? Haven’t we torn down “triggering” statues before? What if we are no longer able to see, read, and study the actual words of our nation's founding documents because they are “harmful” or “possibly violent”? A thousand years from now, will there be any remnant to piece together the true spirit behind the nation that our founders envisioned?

The Declaration of Independence is not “triggering.”

That is why in 2008, I was prompted to preserve what I could. Now, the American Journey Experience Museum includes more than 160,000 artifacts, from founding-era documents to the original Roe v. Wade court papers. We need to preserve the totality of our nation’s heritage, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We need to preserve our history in our own clay pots.

I ask you to join with me on this mission. Start buying books that are important to preserve. Buy some acid-free paper and start printing some of the founding documents, the reports that go against the mainstream narrative, the studies that prove what is true as we are continually being fed lies. Start preserving our daily history as well as our history because it is being rewritten and digitized.

Somebody must have a copy of what is happening now and what has happened in the past. I hope things don’t get really bad. But if they do, we need to preserve our heritage. Perhaps, someone 1,000 years from now will discover our clay pots and, Lord willing, be able to have a glimpse of America as it truly was.

Top 10 WORST items in the new $1.2 TRILLION spending bill

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Biden just signed the newest spending bill into law, and Glenn is furious.

Under Speaker Johnson's leadership, the whopping $1.2 TRILLION package will use your taxpayer dollars to fund the government through September. Of course, the bill is loaded with earmarks and pork that diverts money to fund all sorts of absurd side projects.

Here is the list of the ten WORST uses of taxpayer money in the recently passed spending bill:

Funding venues to host drag shows, including ones that target children

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Money for transgender underwear for kids

Funding for proms for 12 to 18 year old kids

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Border security funding... for Jordan and Egypt

Another $300 million for Ukraine

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$3.5 million for Detroit's annual Thanksgiving Day parade

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$2.5 million for a new kayaking facility in Franklin, New Hampshire

Acey Harper / Contributor | Getty Images

$2.7 million for a bike park in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, a town with a population of less than 2,300 people

$5 million for a new trail at Coastal Carolina University

$4 million the "Alaska King Crab Enhancement Project" (whatever that means)

FRED TANNEAU / Stringer | Getty Images

There is no doubt about it—we are entering dark times.

The November presidential election is only a few months away, and following the chaos of the 2020 election, the American people are bracing for what is likely to be another tumultuous election year. The left's anti-Trump rhetoric is reaching an all-time high with the most recent "Bloodbath" debacle proving how far the media will go to smear the former president. That's not to mention the Democrats' nearly four-year-long authoritarian attempt to jail President Trump or stop his re-election by any means necessary, even if it flies in the face of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Biden is doing worse than ever. He reportedly threw a tantrum recently after being informed that his polls have reached an all-time low. After Special Counsel Robert Hur's report expressed concerns over Biden's obviously failing mental agility, it's getting harder for the Democrats to defend him. Yet he is still the Democratic nominee for November, promising another 4 years of catastrophic policies, from the border to heavy-handed taxation, should he be reelected.

The rest of the world isn't doing much better. The war in Ukraine has no clear end in sight, drawing NATO and Russia closer and closer to conflict. The war in Gaza is showing no sign of slowing down, and as Glenn revealed recently, its continuation may be a sign that the end times are near.

One thing is clear: we are living in uncertain times. If you and your family haven't prepared for the worst, now is the time. You can start by downloading "Glenn's Ultimate Guide to Getting Prepared." Be sure to print off a copy or two. If the recent cell outage proved anything, it's that technology is unreliable in survival situations. You can check your list of supplies against our "Ultimate Prepper Checklist for Beginners," which you can find below:

Food

  • Canned food/non-perishable foods
  • Food preparation tools
  • Go to the next level: garden/livestock/food production

Water

  • Non-perishable water store
  • Water purification
  • Independent water source

Shelter

  • Fireplace with a wood supply
  • Tent
  • Generator with fuel supply
  • Go to the next level: fallout shelter

Money

  • Emergency cash savings
  • Precious metals

Medicine

  • Extra blankets
  • Basic first aid
  • Extra prescriptions
  • Extra glasses
  • Toiletries store
  • Trauma kit
  • Antibiotics
  • Basic surgery supplies
  • Potassium Iodate tablets

Transportation

  • Bicycle
  • Car
  • Extra fuel

Information

  • Birth certificates
  • Insurance cards
  • Marriage license
  • Immunization records
  • Mortgage paperwork
  • Car title and registration
  • House keys, car keys
  • Passports
  • Family emergency plan
  • Prepping/survival/repair manuals
  • Go to the next level: copy of the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and other important books/sources

Skills

  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Sewing
  • First Aid
  • Basic maintenance skills
  • Go to the next level: farming/ranching
  • Self-defense training

Communication

  • Family contact information and addresses
  • HAM radio

Miscellaneous

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Lamps and fuel
  • Hardware (tools, nails, lumber, etc)
  • Extra clothes
  • Extreme weather clothes and gear
  • Gas masks and filters
  • Spare parts for any machinery/equipment