Ryan: Trump and the Louisiana funhouse

Part 1

The police car sharked onto Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway, strobing blue and red and white and wailing like a baby with a fever.

"I don't like it when they catch me," I said, slapping the dashboard. The same way President Trump slaps the dias at his rallies, glowering behind the decorous seal and the slanted glass teleprompters and the mayhem of a teenage nation.

This was outside Arcadia, Louisiana, about a potholed hour from Monroe, Louisiana, where we currently needed to be. Myself and fellow journalist Jade Byers, who needed a break from the story she'd just begun, an ethnography of Texas State Fair carneys.

Media check-in for the Keep America Great rally would end at 5:00 p.m and it was 4:00 p.m., and it wasn't the sort of occasion you could be late for, so in the afternoon pallor all I wanted was to keep driving, on and on and on past nowhere.

"Just slam the gas," said Jade, "ahead of that semi."

But life was no movie. Especially not in Louisiana, land of corruption and sky-high incarceration. And jail is awful. So we both shrugged, and I guided my white Subaru to the side of the bare grey highway.

We'd just been discussing the nature of justice. Was it a form of truth? Or an attempt to enforce it? I sensed that Louisiana was not just. Did you know that it has the highest murder rate in the nation? Later, Trump would bring this up, and, because Trump is a man of superlatives, it spun all the journalists into a fact-check scramble. Sure enough. Number One.

My mind had wandered, as usual. With a blink, I snapped back. This was no time for fanciful thoughts about justice.

The State Trooper pointed for me to get out of the car, then to the woody embankment 15 yards from the road. He pointed in that way that police could point but politicians are not supposed to because it sends the wrong message. Aggressive, capable of violence.

I loved it, every bit of it. Confrontation is lovely. So I strode to the cop in my white Birkenstocks and my stained white "Music for 18 Musicians" t-shirt and my white jeans, looking so much like a Millenial Big Lebowski.

The trooper had already started writing the ticket when he asked where we were going and why. His eyebrows sprouted when I told him I was a reporter for Blaze Media covering the Trump rally in Monroe, where, that very moment, Secret Service had begun letting the first round of rally-goers into the Monroe Civic Center.

"You work for Glenn Beck?" he asked. Then lowered his glasses and scoped me over again. "You're messin' with me."

At the sight of my press badge, he restrained a smile, as if fighting an eagerness to speak freely.

"I am not allowed to talk politics," he said, "being an guardian of the state and all."

Well I'd never heard anything like that and I suspected it was horseshit, so I smiled as he proceeded, unabashedly, to talk politics.
"Glennnnn-Beck," he said, ending with a "Hm." And, right on cue, "I listen to ole Glenn in the mornings, and Stu."

They're my bosses, I said. He liked that pretty well.

"You going to Shreveport too?" he asked. So I nodded and grinned and pretended to know what he was talking about. I smiled the way you smile when everyone around is speaking a language you've never heard and it's time to get going but nobody understands you.

Trump would mention Shreveport later. "I'm coming back here on Thursday, can you believe it?" he said. "I'm doing a double — I'm doing a double." Just six days after the Monroe rally, he would return to Louisiana, and so would I, this time with Jim Dale, an author and lifelong sailor.

Louisiana felt like a State Fair house-of-mirrors. Some kind of warp. Too much of yourself then none of you at all. A ghost following a helium-choked balloon. The homes seemed to rise from nothing, all shadows and grey shrub as if misshapen on purpose. And a wide shaggy green overtook the bare hills. Even the sky, the way it tilted, like a petri dish of glittery dark.

Much of America has untouched land and old-world buildings, but nowhere else I'd been left me feeling so indescribably odd. Not quite sad, but certainly not happy. Like when strangers in a dream know everything about you, and nobody acknowledges why or how.

*

The Trooper shifted in his tall shiny black boots. Was he still talking about Trump? Boy, I zoned out pretty hard. It was Wednesday and I could flip a coin for days.

"He sure has done a lot for the elections here," he concluded.

Then he gave me a rundown of the political situation in Louisiana. Explained how run-offs work, and why a Republican would be good for the roads and oceans or something, and how a majority was counted a little different in Louisiana. Something like that — I don't know. It was all so boring.

How long had we been standing there? Never in my life had I been so bored.

At the time, the big meme was "OK Boomer," which Generation Z used to disparage the Boomer Generation as part of a feud that popped up for no discernible reason, and which I hated because the joke was kind of mean and never funny yet all four generations kept repeating it and repeating it like big dumb squawking parrots. But in that moment, I understood it. And, may God forgive me, but I whispered that disrespectful phrase.

And I had to pretend to be interested, in case he got the urge to search my car. Whereupon he would find marijuana concentrate and sativa gummies. Paraphernalia. Not a ton. Not much, even. But enough. Some unopened beers, a flask. No guns, but a few knives. An ordinary amount of knives.

All of which would land me a night in the clink, no doubt.

And who had the time or the money for that. Not me, with a Trump rally to cover and a fiery career and a pregnant wife with our two dogs at home, waiting.

Then I felt rotten for getting bored while the guy was talking. The man risked his life every day just so he could protect the community. Never mind the exorbitant ticket. What was $300 when this guy risked everything every day?

You were supposed to listen to people when they trusted or admired you. To care. To give them a chance, no matter their rank or stature or political affiliation. Especially the police.

Before, in situations like these, I resorted to military-style salutes, gestures I had seen as a child in cartoons. However you were meant to signify honor. I was not a military type. But I felt a great reverence for them and their service and whatnot.

Turns out, that's not how they do it at all. The salute, the hard stomp down with the heel, the huge grunt, the serious face, the violent turns of the waist, the gibberish that sounded like military phrases.

So I didn't salute anymore, but that didn't make it any easier not to salute. Usually I boiled and boiled till all of a sudden I was shouting out a long-winded, hard-to-follow story. So I told him what it's like to work at Mercury Studios.

"We've got the Forrest Gump bench," I said. "For a while it was in the dining area and, one time, I saw an intern sitting on it, eating a burrito. We have the original Darth Vader mask, too. And Dorothy's shiny red shoes that were supposed to be silver."
His face spread in all four directions, like I was a child reciting Socrates.

"And the tree from Barney, you know, that dinosaur kids show? And JFK and Robocop and an Eric Clapton video and Guns 'N' Roses, all filmed there. And a few months ago Sean Spicer stopped by. Before all the Dancing with the Stars drama. Interesting people are constantly stopping by. Pat Boone told me that Elvis had stage fright. But, between you and me, I think Pat Boone has stage fright."

I don't care who you are, all of that is fascinating. So I yammered on about this election series and justice, ignoring the trooper's polite impatience. He'd stopped me so the least he could do was listen to my weird story.

Secretly, I wanted to rip the ticket from his gloved hand and wad it up and toss it into the grass below my feet. It was paper. I would litter. It would vanish and no harm done, anonymous among all the other garbage of Louisiana.

There are places where nothing is wasted. America is not one of them.

*

Jade slumped in the car, fidgeting. We'd never talked about it but I assumed she didn't like police all that much. I get it. Usually, when the police show up, someone's day is about to plummet. But I like them, personally. Which I made sure to tell the trooper again, as he blabbed about some recent mayoral election.

Then I laughed, because this situation had gotten pretty funny. There I was on the side of a highway named after former President Ronald Reagan, on my way to see current President Donald Trump, my hair dismantled by the violent wind of a passing semi-truck, as a Louisiana state trooper in a prim uniform gave me a civics lesson.

It was just barely November, and the cold had not descended. Not in the sunshine at least, all pale orange and soft still.

"Trump sure seems to be doing a lot of things right," said the state trooper. "Jobs, economy, all that. And as you know, he's a friend of the police."

Was that a wink? Best to wink back. WINK! A good one.

Oh great now my eye was twitching into rapidfire winks. Too many winks. Veering into sexual wink territory. Oh this will not end well. This will not end will. He will misread my winking and then what? Nothing good. But it stopped, thank God.

Then I spat out some crap about Trump and NATO, something that I'd heard someone at the studio say, something about the parameters of heroism and Milton What's-his-name.

Around us, the aroma of tree bark. Deciduous perfume. A piney landscape that rose out of mud. Forested swamp lined with rivers purging toward a fat, chubby delta. That was where freshwater meets the ocean. Or the other way around.

"Well anyway, here's your ticket, Mr. Ryan. You have a nice day." Then he, a real tough guy, smiled. That was pretty neat.

By habit, I was about to wink but stopped just in time.

Then, he paused, grabbed the ticket. Rip it, rip it, rip it. Be wild, my man. Rip. Rip.

But he just rewrote the station's telephone number, as if to say "Maybe things can change." Not justice. It could not change. Not for me, not in Louisiana. Not under God and all the angels that don't have a gender.

Plus, we all know I wasn't going to pay the ticket anyway. Better to just never return to Louisiana. Drive around it if need be. Fly over. And once the police car was out of view, I stomped on the gas pedal and we were lawless again. Like a comet, friend. A comet.

Welcome back to the election series. New installments are going to be Monday through Thursday leading up to the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

Critical race theory: The education trap

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

The fall semester isn't far away. If you aren't prepared for that, someone else is. Predatory behavior. The most important takeaway from this piece is, whatever is happening on campuses right now is what is going to play out through the rest of society in about 30 years. We're seeing it right now with Critical Race Theory.

It started on the campus. It started in the classroom. And our children are set to be the next victims in the cultural warfare for a nightmare that seems like it will never end.

Colleges are manipulating the system.

It's a little ironic that colleges are overflowing with Marxist professors who preach the Gospel of Karl Marx in their classrooms, because academia in America is the perfect example of capitalist achievement. If anything, colleges are manipulating the system in a way that should make Marxists furious. And they hurt the people that Marxism is supposed to rescue.

Colleges are an enterprise. They are Big Business. It means nothing to them to send thousands of students into debt—not if it means the campus will get a new fountain or another office for the Diversity and Inclusion department.

They'll never admit it, but a big part of their problem is that they have put so much into the myth of progress. They can't even admit that it's a myth. Because it's useful to them.

Roger Scruton once said:

Hence the invocations of "progress", of "growth", of constant "advance" towards the goal which, however, must remain always somewhere in the future.

In reality, they don't give a damn about actual progress.

That's how they have turned academia into instruments of social engineering. They use college to change society.

Their purpose is no longer educational. It's social. They're using the classrooms to cause social change.

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

On Monday's radio program, Glenn Beck and Stu Burguiere were joined by Pat Gray to discuss "woke" Olympic athletes.

In this clip, the guys discussed how "bravely" some athletes are for threatening to protest the national anthem, for twerking on stage, and for showing off how woke they are.

Glenn reminded America of actual bravery at the Olympics when Jesse Owens won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. "He [Owens] was oppressed," Glenn said.

Watch the clip to hear Glenn tell the full story. 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.

Political commentator Bill O'Reilly joined the Glenn Beck radio program on Friday made an important prediction about President Joe Biden's chance of reelection in 2024.

O'Reilly told Glenn that former President Donald Trump was brought down because of COVID. "if COVID had not appeared, O'Reilly stated, "he [Trump] would have won reelection."

O'Reilly went on to predict that like Trump, President Joe Biden would lose reelection because of COVID. People saw a president who could not put out an intelligent fact-based message about COVID and people will remember that," he explained.

O'Reilly later added that "Trump and Biden are one-termers because of COVID."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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.

Critical race theory: Marxism is a religion

Uttam Sheth/Flickr

Marx didn't actually tell his followers that the system needed to be destroyed. And it's not what Marx actually believed. Very few Marxists actually understand what Marx laid out.

Marxism isn't a list of demands and instructions. It's Marx's attempt to tell the future. Some of it he got right, most he got wrong. For example, he predicted the rise of automation.

Believe it or not, Marx was not an anti-capitalist. If anything, he revered it.

In a letter to Engels, he complained that too many people misunderstood his message, that his plan is to merge with capitalism. To make it new. He wanted to reify his brand of socialism, reify is a Marxist term, actually. It basically means to make an abstract idea concrete.

Marx didn't hate capitalism. He actually thought it was necessary. And he knew communism would never happen without the aid of capitalism.

Marx didn't hate capitalism. He actually thought it was necessary.

From there, he takes these ideas to some weird conclusions. Horrible conclusions. The main one being revolution.

What does the first phase of the Marxist revolution look like? How will we know if it has started? How can we tell if it's already begun? Marx's idea of the "dictatorship of the proletariat," where the working class would rise up in revolution and earn their freedom.

But what did Marx mean by freedom? Like so much of Marxism, it involves giving up your individuality, in service to the collective: "Only in community with others does each individual have the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible."

That's from his book The German Ideology, which he co-wrote with Friedrich Engels, the guy who paid all of his bills: "Free competition, which is based on the idea of individual freedom, simply amounts to the relation of capital to itself as another capital."

His idea here is that capital ruins any idea of freedom or individuality. And competition is what he uses as proof. In other words, Marx's definition of freedom has nothing to do with actual freedom, freedom as we know it.

He wrote, in Capital: "It is not individuals who are set free by free competition; it is, rather, capital which is set free."

He's saying that Capital manipulates our individual freedom and forces us to exploit ourselves. For someone who didn't believe in God, he sure had some fanciful ideas about the forces that control the universe.

For someone who didn't believe in God, he sure had some fanciful ideas about the forces that control the universe.

Marxists have always argued that capitalism is a religion. That our debt to capital is no different than our debt to God. Critical Theorist Walter Benjamin wrote an entire book called Capitalism as Religion, and wrote that capitalism is "the first case of a cult that creates guilt, not atonement."

There were many strains of socialism before Marx. There were entire movements, named after socialist and anarchist philosophers. But Marx was the one who figured it out, with the help of a rotating cast of people paying for his sloth, of course.

Marx's influence on socialism was so profound that socialism was practically re-named in honor of Marx. Marx has been deified.

He created a utopian society. Very hypothetical. It requires a working class that is devoted to daily readings of The Communist Manifesto.

This assumes that people who work all day — at a real job, where they can't just sit on the couch all day as Marx did — even have the energy to read dense theory when they get home.

Marx made a religion.

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