Glenn Beck: Ramsey's bailout solution


Dave Ramsey

GLENN: Oh, yeah. Hello. Welcome to the program, from Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. Third most listened to show in all of America. My name is Glenn Beck. You know, my wife listens to Dave Ramsey every day. Every day, she never listens to my show. No, uh-uh. God help me if she ever did that. Every day I come home and she'll go, you should hear what Dave Ramsey says. Dave Ramsey says... (mumbling). So I thought, because my wife says Dave Ramsey is the king of the universe and, of course, he knows so much more than I know and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I thought I would get him on now and maybe you can solve it, O king of the universe, Dave Ramsey. How are you?

RAMSEY: Hey, man, how are you doing? Thanks for having me.

GLENN: So sick of hearing your name. I'm so sick of hearing, my wife every night.

RAMSEY: I don't know if it's any consolation at my house but it's the same way at my house. Mine never watches Fox Business Network, won't listen to me about money stuff.

GLENN: Yeah.

RAMSEY: And she says Glenn Beck says...

GLENN: What do you think about wife switching? I'm not into switching but, hey. You actually have a plan for a bailout. I can't wait to hear this. Go ahead. Because you know what? You know what America is? America is one of your callers. I listen to your show and I'm like, you've got to be kidding me. Because they are always like, "Oh, I bought a $14 million house and I've got $10 in the bank and I'd like to know if I should buy a new Maybach. And you're like, what! That's what America is.

RAMSEY: There's a certain percentage out there. I think me and Jenny Craig, we've got a long career ahead of us.

GLENN: Man alive. So what's your plan?

RAMSEY: Well, you know, you are hearing the same things I'm hearing and that is that 70 to 90% of Americans don't want us to go because of the Paulson peddled fear, $700 billion into debt. And we're heading headlong into it and yet there's a lot of people that are afraid right now. There's a spirit of fear over Washington and over New York as well. It's almost palatable. I was there where you guys are, walked right past Rockefeller, as a matter of fact. You know, because of that I think we're rushing to judgment here and I think we're about to pass very, very bad bill.

GLENN: Yes.

RAMSEY: And some of the greatest minds in America --

GLENN: Hang on just a second. Have you seen the new bill this morning that's being -- that's in the Senate?

RAMSEY: It's the size of a phone book and I've been on interviews all morning. So I haven't looked.

RAMSEY: It's pretty much the same but I think they added some tax benefits in it, et cetera, et cetera.

RAMSEY: Right. They put some window dressing, $250,000 on the FDIC, alternative minimum tax they are doing away with or something.

GLENN: You can still put lipstick on a pig.

RAMSEY: It's something they needed to do anyway. Lipstick is something we need. Pigs we don't.

GLENN: Yes.

RAMSEY: So, you know, there are other alternatives to give this market a powder, to give the stock market a volume and calm it down that are being talked


about by some of the better minds in America right now and some of the calmer ones.

GLENN: Let me ask you this before we get into this because I know you've got several -- I think you have, what, three or four, three things that you have. So before you get into that, I think you and I disagree fundamentally. You think this is fear, and fearmongering. I believe that we are, and have for quite some time, we are in deep, deep trouble just ahead. You don't believe that, do you?

RAMSEY: No. As a matter of fact, I'm very sure we're not.

GLENN: Okay. Well --

RAMSEY: The Great Depression is not --

GLENN: "You should listen to Dave Ramsey. You should listen to him. He's brilliant." Okay. So what are your solutions?

RAMSEY: Well, the bottom line is the Great Depression is not at our threshold. Now, I will agree with you on this. If we do not pass something out of congress, the market is having such a temper tantrum that we're probably going to have a pretty bloody winter and our 401(k)s and our Roth IRAs and my money and your money that's invested in the stock market's going to go down. I don't have any question about that. Are we going to go into the Great Depression? No. If Peter Schiff is the Yin, I'm the Yang. If he's a pessimist, I'm an optimist.

GLENN: Well, see, I don't necessarily agree with everything Peter Schiff says. What I do agree with is the Great Depression was not October 9th, 1929. The Great Depression really was in the 1930s, in 1933 when government started getting involved and saying we're going to do all these great things. Government is going to -- government is going to make this thing a Depression. Not the market.


RAMSEY: Well, that's a possibility. Not a Depression, but they could really cause a deep recession and could make this worse. And what you're dealing with there, you know, to go back, your observations are exactly correct because FDR --

GLENN: Hear that, Tania?

RAMSEY: FDR went to a guy named John Maynard Keynes to put together the New Deal and John Maynard Keynes, Keynesian economics, it was a socialist and he taught socialism and believed in socialism and so socialism was introduced to America as the New Deal. And the very crux of the New Deal was that. Now, did it cause us to revive? Yes, it did. But then we didn't do away with the Social Security system, we didn't do away with the TVA, the FHA, the VA, the Fannie Mae. We stayed in these businesses and they've all gotten progressively worse ever since. And so you're right that the roots of what we're dealing with today actually started in Keynesian economics back there and we see socialism continuing to creep through our culture. And Keynesian economics is taught, by the way, in college as truth.

GLENN: Yes.

RAMSEY: Versus Adam Smith which is free market as truth. So you've got to be a very wise business student today to stay a capitalist.


Anyway, what we're saying is what some of the best minds are saying is that we could insure these bonds rather than buy them all. Like FHA, we insure mortgages there, and we could do that for pennies on the dollar. The mark-to-market accounting thing has been talked about ad nauseam. As a matter of fact, last night the SEC, the Securities & Exchange Commission issued an accounting opinion loosening up the mark-to-market rules a lot. It was a good move.

GLENN: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I have -- maybe you can explain this one because I read that. They loosened it up but it's really kind of unclear. It's basically saying, "You, you get to decide what it's worth. You don't have to worry about the market. You get to decide what it's worth." And that doesn't, that doesn't do anything about its actual value. I mean, I know we have a mark-to-market problem and most people don't even -- let's just move on because this is really, this is C -- this is what you do on the business channel.

RAMSEY: It's for -- to stay very wonky, it's Tier 3 investments which are these bonds and they are the ones that have the least marketplace. They are the least liquid. So there's not a real market for them and it's very difficult to use the marketplace to establish a value. You've got to establish a value using some other methodologies and now they are allowing that. That's going to loosen things up.

GLENN: All right. Hold on just a second.

RAMSEY: If we did away with the capital gains tax, we would see a huge flood of money into the real estate market and we would see a healing in about a quarter like you've never seen before. Now, that's a political lightning rod because we can't have rich people making money. That's against the law. But, you know, it would be fun for one of these presidential candidates, maybe the one that's supposed to be a maverick, to actually bring some different ideas to the table and go against Washington and with 70 to 90% of the public, he might win the presidency, were he a real maverick.

GLENN: Right. But he's not going to.

RAMSEY: And he's going to lose.

GLENN: Hang on just a second. I need to run this disclaimer here.

VOICE: The host of this program is not Dave Ramsey, Jim Cramer, Neil Cavuto, Larry Kudlow or any other person who actually knows what they're talking about when it comes to picking stocks, identifying investment opportunities, saving money, cutting coupons or scratching lottery tickets. In fact, the only money-related advice that should be listened to from the host is how to quickly open and devour those little gold chocolate coins. Any losses incurred in the markets due to following the host's advice should be an indication of the intelligence of the investor and not an attack on the credibility of other financial professionals.

GLENN: I'm sorry. My attorney said I needed to play that now on this show.

RAMSEY: This is why we love your show. You're fabulous, man. I'm a huge fan.

GLENN: So the capital gains, let's just go through the odds of these. Any of these being listened to here, Dave. Because this is a plan, this is a plan that I actually would listen to and go, okay, wait a minute, I think I'm for this. Capital gains, not going to happen. Right?

RAMSEY: Not going to happen because the Democrats control congress. But you know what? If you stood up and said, okay, here's my plan, let's insure this stuff, let's do away with mark-to-market, let's go away with the capital gains tax, conservatives all over America that were cheering for Sarah Palin would line up behind the John McCain ticket.

GLENN: You are exactly right.

RAMSEY: He could point at the Democrats and he would become the next President.

GLENN: How about going a step further and saying all corporate income tax is reduced to 15% even if it's 10 -- even if it's for the next year, all corporate income tax is reduced. Because then you hit small businesses, which is 70% of business in America.

RAMSEY: Well, if we're building a bill to thumb our nose at the Democrats and not to get passed, I think you just keep piling that stuff on there.

GLENN: Okay, good. Well, those wouldn't be passed anyway.

RAMSEY: That's what I'm saying.

GLENN: That's what I'm saying.

RAMSEY: Not a snowball's chance. Let's have some fun.

GLENN: If you want to build a bill that will get passed, capital gains tax is not in, right?

RAMSEY: We have to make somebody king if it's the Democrats. So Paulson wanted to be king for 90 days before somebody else.

GLENN: See, that's another thing about this. Aren't you worried at all that Paulson has the right, in these bills, he has the right to just expand this? I mean, that's -- Dave, that's why I believe the Depression is coming. Not because we can't handle -- we can handle stuff, but there are other forces outside, there's Russia, there is the oil, there is Iran, there is all kinds of stuff out there that is breathing down our back. But beyond that you have things like Paulson just, hey, we can expand this any way we want.

RAMSEY: Well, and the problem is not Paulson. He is going to be gone in 90 days. The problem is who replaces him.

GLENN: Any idea who that might be?

RAMSEY: Well, it would be under the new Obama administration apparently.

GLENN: Does that frighten you?

RAMSEY: It terrifies me from a socialistic standpoint. I will tell you this, though, it frightened me when Bill Clinton was elected and I prospered in spite of it. I


cheered when George Bush was elected, and I prospered in spite of it. And, you know, as old as I'm getting and being a self-employed small business guy all my adult life, I have just figured out that really blessings and cursings coming out of Washington don't control my life. And I think that's one of the reasons this stuff, you know, we need to speak into public policy but at the end of the day I'm going to survive in spite of these clowns.

GLENN: I agree with that unless the government becomes so onerous that you can't get around it. And there's a possibility, if things would spiral out of control economically and you have somebody like Barack Obama in there who is a -- he's a Marxist. You could have a government that has gobbled so much stuff that, how are you going to get around it.

RAMSEY: Well, my only hope would be then that, you know, the folks of us out here that call ourselves fiscal conservatives or economic libertarians, there would be enough of us that woke up and believed in freedom to run them back out of office.

GLENN: I would love that.

RAMSEY: You know, and the problem is now I'm putting in a position where I'm going to be voting against Republican senators that vote for this because there's no way I'll ever back a candidate that votes for this mess. Republicans and Democrats alike. And you know the sad thing is Republican leadership, they are a bunch of wimps, man.

GLENN: They really are. They really are.

RAMSEY: They have not stepped up on this thing. Instead they are Bush's girl.

GLENN: Let me -- you know what, let me throw this out. I would like a bill that includes General Petraeus going in and fume gating Washington. I'd like General Petraeus to set up -- no, seriously set up a little court where, like, "Hey, Barney Frank, come here, sit down." Because they are looking for oversight. I don't trust any of these guys with oversight. I want somebody that I trust to have oversight of the overseers. You know what I mean? And I don't trust anybody in Washington.

RAMSEY: This is the problem. Every time somebody says you need to be accountable, I always go, well, who are you accountable to.

GLENN: Yeah, exactly right. Hang on. I guess we have some people on the phone that want to talk to you. Go ahead.

STU: Hi, Glenn? I try to call Dave Ramsey's show all the time and apparently he gets calls. So I was able to just get right through.

GLENN: So you are --

STU: What I wanted to say is I have three houses and my wife had a great job. Unfortunately she lost the job. So I bought the three houses with her job. Now


she was a volunteer, by the way. So I'm planning on my next Memorial Day party and I live on a lake and I want to buy a fleet of wave runners. Now, I make $12,000 a year. Should I finance it all, Dave, on convenience checks or is there another way?

GLENN: Dave, how --

RAMSEY: Payday lenders.

GLENN: How do you do it? I listen to -- listening to your show is like listening to Dr. Laura. People call Dr. Laura all the time and go, "Yeah, I've been whoring around for, like, the last four years. I have four children from four different fathers. Do you think I should go out Friday night? " How do you not just clobber some of these numbskulls?

RAMSEY: Well, because I'm a numbskull at heart. I got a Ph.D. in D-U-M-B and I just remember how much shame and guilt was in my spirit in those days and so I can return to their pain and help them try to draw out of that.

GLENN: Aye-yi-yi. Just, sometimes I wonder. Do you think the average person has any idea -- well, you disagree with where we are. I was going to say do you think the average person knows how much trouble we could be in here? But you disagree with me.

RAMSEY: You know, I think that Washington doesn't think -- I think there's a lot of arrogance and condescension coming out of our representatives on this. I think the average person does know that there's trouble and honestly believes that things like Home Depot and Microsoft and Coca-Cola and McDonald's are, you know -- to use a bad phrase these days -- fundamentally sound and are going to continue to make money, that this is a credit crisis and that all of those major national publicly traded corporations are not going to be worth zero anytime soon.

GLENN: Right, right. Okay. Dave, thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.

RAMSEY: Well, I'm honored to be with you. Thank you for having me. Let's do it again.

GLENN: You say hi to your wife for me and I'll say hi to my wife for you. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Bye-bye, Dave. I swear to you my wife says that all the time. "You should listen to Dave Ramsey."

STU: I love listening to that show for that reason.

GLENN: Oh, people, you just, you scream in the car. You're like -- and Dave is like the most --

STU: So calm.

GLENN: He's so calm, and I would rip people's heads off. I'd be like, I would have no calls. Because I'd be like, "What, are you stupid? What part of you thought that was a good idea?" I mean, nobody would call in. Nobody would call in. Well, it would be like this show. Here's our number, 888-727-BECK. 888-727-BECK. I have to -- man, these attorneys.

VOICE: Attention, attention. Any financial advice given by Glenn Beck or any person heard on the air at any time on the Glenn Beck program should not, repeat, should not be followed. Glenn Beck once bought stocks whose success was predicated on a late Nineties boom of the rotary phone and he also advised against buying Apple stock back in 1984. You will incur major financial loss, divorce, alcoholism and hard core drug addiction if you listen to any of the financial advice on this program. Thank you.

GLENN: Okay, the rotary phone thing was true, but the Apple, never. Well... okay.

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!