Glenn talks with actor Jon Voight

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Voight ignites a blog storm in Hollywood

GLENN: Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the career of academy award winning actor Jon Voight died suddenly last week. It's sad. Lab results aren't all available yet, but most experts believe that his career's death was caused by a column that he wrote in which he argued that Barack Obama and the Democrats were using Marxist propaganda to usher in a new socialist era. No. Ended soon after when later he called general Wesley Clark. I didn't think I would ever agree with somebody in Hollywood as much as I agree with Jon Voight. God speed Jon Voight's career, Jon Voight's career, dead at 62. Jon Voight, the actor, currently on the phone with us now. Hey, Jon, how are you? Jon, are you there? Jon?


VOIGHT: Yeah.

GLENN: How are you?

VOIGHT: I'm good. Can you hear me?

GLENN: Can you hear me?

VOIGHT: Yeah.

GLENN: Well, there you go. How's your career doing now?

VOIGHT: I think just fine, Glenn.

GLENN: You know, Jon, I have to tell you.

VOIGHT: I always wait for your introductions. A couple of things. Your introductions are fantastic to me. You know, and the other thing is you are such a visual person, you know, that I actually even on radio, I see you. I see the way, you know

GLENN: I apologize for that.

VOIGHT: I'm telling you, you're fantastic.

GLENN: So Jon, I saw this story, what, about a week ago, week and a half ago and, A, I mean, I don't know what would make you say that

VOIGHT: Well, you read my op ed piece.

GLENN: Oh, yeah, sure did. I can't imagine what would make you say that there's a Marxist or socialist era that they are ushering in with universal healthcare, free college tuition, universal national service, universal 401(k), free job training, wage insurance, free child care, universal preschool, more subsidized private housing, fatter earned income tax credit for the working poor and a Global Poverty Act. I don't know why you would say that they are bringing in some sort of a socialist era. But you know what I find interesting, Jon, is, and I'd like you to talk about this.

VOIGHT: Yeah.

GLENN: The way that the new Hollywood blacklist or the McCarthy era is alive and well in the one town where they should know this is evil to do this kind of stuff.

VOIGHT: Yeah, absolutely, Glenn. As heinous a thing as you can imagine to intimidate people, to try to squelch any kind of, you know, any kind of opposition to this fellow with this kind of intimidation.

GLENN: You had one of the big entertainment writers, I guess, Jeffrey Wells said and I'm just amazed at this statement. He said, quote: You'd think an arch conservative which I don't think, are you you don't think you are an arch conservative, do you?

VOIGHT: No.

GLENN: You lean to the right but you're generally center.

VOIGHT: I would you know, it's very hard. These kinds of, you know

GLENN: Labels.

VOIGHT: Labels that people put on people, I don't go for that anyway. I just think that I'm a person who's trying to find the truth and express it as I, you know, get the opportunity.

GLENN: So this guy said, think an arch conservative, working in an overwhelmingly liberal town, would think about restraining himself for expedience sake if nothing else. They are basically saying you can't have an opinion in your town if you want to have a job.

VOIGHT: Yeah, that's what they're saying.

GLENN: What do you

VOIGHT: Expedient say. Interesting, huh? That's held up as an interested of some sort.

GLENN: How do you how did you react to this? What have you done since the column?

VOIGHT: You know something, I've been kind of I haven't been as aggressive perhaps as I should have been in regard to this, you know, intimidation because it is a very pernicious act and it seems like one of the reasons why I wrote the article was because nobody knows about Michelle Obama. The people who are supporting him and cheering him, you know. If you ask them why they are voting for him, you don't get very, you know, very substantive answers.

GLENN: Yeah.

VOIGHT: You get, well, he's a nice looking fellow, I like the way he talks, he's I like change, I want change. They have no idea what the change is that this fellow is going to usher in.

GLENN: Right.

VOIGHT: And he helps them. Obama helps these people by saying very vague things. Nothing that they can put their finger on. He says things like, he said during one of his speeches he said I don't want you to just believe in me. I want you to believe in your own dreams. Well, what does that mean? It means, of course, that I'm anything you want me to be. But on the other side there's an agenda that he has that is very clear and it's and if you look into his background, you can see very clearly the agenda. And as you mentioned, when I say socialism, all those things you mentioned are part of the package, of course, if Obama becomes President. So they are trying to keep away from any understanding of what he's going to do. And the way they do it is by cutting any kind of inquiry off with this kind of intimidation. So it's a real you know, it's a really very disturbing package that we're looking at here.

GLENN: Jon, you were if I'm not mistaken, weren't you an antiwar activist back in the Sixties?

VOIGHT: I was. I was caught up in that movement as most people were.

GLENN: Sure.

VOIGHT: And probably because of that, I see a little bit more clearly now what's going on.

GLENN: What happened to you? Because you were, along with the Jane Fondas of the world and you went down that path and then what happened? Where did you change? What

VOIGHT: Well, a couple of things changed. First of all, I spent a lot of time with the Vets. I was always considerate of the Vets, thank God for that. And then I saw what happened at the end of the war which I allude to in my article. I heard from the left. And, of course, this leftist movement, it was filled with slogans and propaganda and we just went along with the crowd. It was a very popular thing. And the left was saying that the Vietnam situation was our problem, that we were the problem, that once we pulled out, everybody was going to come together and hug and it was going to be fine. And then, of course, we saw after the Paris peace accords and we pulled out, we saw what happened. The communists came in and there were, you know, two and a half million people slaughtered in Cambodia and South Vietnam. And the peace movement, looking at that carnage just turned away and walked away and never looked back. And it was very disturbing to me, and it didn't the dime didn't drop for a little while but that was the beginning of it.

GLENN: How do they because they're still doing they are still doing this and in many ways the people on the extreme left, for instance, I mean, you can even take it to oil. They don't want us to drill for oil but yet they will buy it from Saudi Arabia, a country that is so oppressive, they will buy it from Russia. They don't have a problem with what Russia is doing. And Putin is an evil guy.

VOIGHT: Pardon?

GLENN: And pow continue is such an evil guy. Where is that disconnect? Why is it just, do you think it's just a is it just a hatred for America or what is it?

VOIGHT: Well, I guess it's many things but it really is a blindness, isn't it? They don't seem to see what they're doing. Of course we would be more environmentally clean than anybody. If anybody was going to raise the environmental question, we would be the best people to be distributing oil and delivering the oil to folks throughout the world because we'll do it in a much cleaner way than anybody else. And besides the economic consequences that we're suffering now and the enemies around the world that are being benefitted by our money. All of that stuff, you know, it just seems like it seems like a no brainer that you would say, well, yes, we should be drilling for oil and we should be developing all those other alternative methods of energy as well at the same time. And then you see this phenomenon that we're looking at with Nancy Pelosi closing down the shop when people obviously want this vote to happen. And

GLENN: And, you know, I was talking about this today, Jon. There's not a single, there's not do you remember when George Bush went on vacation like two years ago and everybody was like, where is George Bush, why is he on vacation. I have not heard that from the media. Where is, where's Nancy Pelosi? Where are the Democrats when America needs a vote on oil?

VOIGHT: Exactly right. And you wonder where you know, obviously it's not it doesn't take very much to know that everybody's pretty upset. And what is the what are the senators and congressmen doing with that anger? I really, I can't, I don't get it. But, of course, the media is in the pocket of the Democratic party and no one's really reporting this.

GLENN: I have to send you some pictures of some pictures that a friend went down, I think it was in Peru, went down to Peru and there were Support Obama posters in the subways and on the highways.

VOIGHT: Amazing.

GLENN: In Peru. And you're like, what? And it was those very socialist iconic kind of images. You know what I'm talking about?

VOIGHT: Yeah.

GLENN: And he goes, I thought of you when I saw them. I have to send them to you. I saw them and I thought, this is exactly what you were talking about, that they're using the propaganda. But it is so odd. Have you ever, have you ever seen a presidential campaign that is global in its nature?

VOIGHT: Yeah. Well, you know, this is there's a strange thing going on, this alliance between the far left and the Islamists. This is a very pernicious and dangerous phenomenon we're looking at.

GLENN: What do you mean?

VOIGHT: Well, somehow the left, you know, look at the crowds that he gathers in Europe. They're lefties. And these lefties are the remains of the communist movement.

GLENN: Right.

VOIGHT: You know? And I saw I had a front row seat at that when I was in the antiwar movement. That was all manipulated by Marxists.

GLENN: And you didn't know it at the time or you just ignored it?

VOIGHT: I put it together later. And then, you know, of course there have been very good books coming out about it. David Horowitz's book was very clear.

GLENN: You remind me a lot of him.

VOIGHT: He was really on the inside of that. I saw little, you know, sprinklings of it but I really wasn't on the inside of that movement. But, of course, SDS took meetings with the communists and it was a communist victory, the antiwar movement shutting down that war.

GLENN: The reaction in Hollywood, I know they went after I love this. The editor in chief of Variety, Peter Bart, went after your quote, intellectual equipment, made fun of your relationship with your family, just went personal on you.

VOIGHT: Uh huh.

GLENN: Really just a hatchet job all around.

VOIGHT: Yeah.

GLENN: What is the reaction for the from the conservatives that you know that are afraid to come out, Jon, that don't have an Oscar?

VOIGHT: Well, you know, obviously there is I don't feel so much listen, I care so much about this country, Glenn.

GLENN: I know you do.

VOIGHT: I'm very concerned about the country, much more concerned about the country than I am about my work but, of course, I'm an older fellow.

GLENN: Yeah.

VOIGHT: You know, people know who I am. I have less ability to be intimidated in a sense than others coming up. You are absolutely right. And with these kind of attacks, they are meant to silence people. And I say that to Peter, jeez, this is as bad as it can be, fellas.

GLENN: But talk to them, did you

VOIGHT: No, I didn't. But, you know, I probably should. I've been running around doing a bunch of things, but I should talk to Peter and let him have it about this. This is really as bad as it can be. This is stuff that we've seen in the past, you know, in Nazi Germany they squelched criticism that was coming up. In every regime and throughout the history since that time, this has been in evidence. And when we've seen it, we've, you know, come out against it. But that is happening in our own country, in our own in this political campaign is quite disturbing.

GLENN: Jon, if you don't mind, I just want to share something. The first time I met you, we had dinner with some friends. And I was really impressed by you for a couple of things. You tried to set the record straight between the two of us right away, and it took a lot of courage to approach me and say the things that you did that we don't need to go into. But you were a courageous man. I looked at my wife when you walked away and I said, wow, there's a man of integrity. And then I watched you the rest of the night, and in the conversation with some very smart people, you were taking notes and what I got from that is you are a man that is still learning. You are a man that still cares enough about this country

VOIGHT: You bet, uh huh.

GLENN: that when you hear viewpoints that you may or may not agree with but you want to find out more about, you were taking notes to be able to research it more. And I have to tell you, very few people are still actively engaged in the learning process, and the learning process of the history of our country and the current history of our country in the future, and I am very impressed with you.

VOIGHT: Oh, thank you so much, Glenn. You know, in terms of learning, I might say, and I probably should say this every time I'm asked to speak, is that there are there's a hidden agenda in this, in this election. People are keeping Obama a mysterious object. But there's some books coming out and everybody should get those books.

GLENN: Yeah.

VOIGHT: There's the Corsi book, Jerome Corsi book, the Obama Nation.

GLENN: What's the other one, Stu? I'm trying to remember.

VOIGHT: The case against Barack Obama, the unlikely rise and unexamined agenda of the media's favorite candidate. These are good books for us to anybody who doesn't know what he's done, who has who every time they are asked a question, what has he done, what are his qualifications and they have no answers, they should read these books.

GLENN: Yeah.

VOIGHT: Something's happening here and we should be aware of it.

GLENN: Jon Voight, we'll talk to you again.

VOIGHT: Thank you, sir.

GLENN: You bet. Bye bye.

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!