Glenn Beck: Heston passes

GLENN: We called Wayne this morning and asked if he would share his thoughts on the passing of somebody I know is a good friend of his, Charlton Heston.  Hello, Wayne, how are you?

LaPIERRE:  Hi, Glenn, it's nice to talk with you.

GLENN:  Good to talk to you.  Would you be willing to share the story that you told me about Charlton Heston and his fight against the cop-killing songs?

LaPIERRE:  Oh, sure.  It's one of the most amazing pieces of political, if you could call it that, I've ever seen, to tell you the truth.  I mean, Heston was a guy who had values and he acted on them and it was when Time-Warner came out with that song by Ice-T called Cop Killer which actually advocated killing police officers, and the police groups had had a meeting in Los Angeles the night before the shareholders meeting asking to please withdraw the song.  It's endangering officers.  It's a horrible, hateful song and will you please, Time-Warner, withdraw it.  And Time-Warner kicked the police officers in the face and told them, look, you know, you can have a few fun protesting about this for a few days but we have First Amendment rights and we're not going to withdraw it and that's the end of it.  And the police groups told Charlton Heston the story and he said, we'll see about that.  I'm a shareholder; I'm going to their meeting the next day.  And he walked into a packed ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, just packed full of people at the Time-Warner board meeting.  They saw he was there.  They had some idea what he was going to do.  They kicked out all the electronic media so there wouldn't be a record of it, which is kind of ironic.  The largest electronic media outlet in the country kicking out the electronic media.  Anyway, they said, "Mr. Heston, we have a busy meeting here but if you have something to say, we'll let you interrupt our meeting."  And he said, no, no, when you are through with your business, I have something I'd like to say.  Well, they eventually got to him, he took the floor of the meeting and he said, you know, you guys up there say this is about the First Amendment, this song, and why you have to do it.  He said, no, no, no.  I've been in this business for a long time.  He said, if it was about the First Amendment, you would print every record from every struggling artist.  You would take every screenplay from every struggling script writer.  No, when you guys do it, it's about making money.  So I want to sit here and read to you every filthy word of what you've decided to make money off of.  And he sat there and read every word of Cop Killer and then he read every word to the shareholders about raping, the one about raping Al Gore's daughter.  You could see the heads bow in shame in the room, and Heston walked out of that room.  You just knew Time-Warner was going to have to withdraw that song, which they eventually did.  And he walked out and I remember he looked at me and he said, "Well, I'll probably never get another movie from Time-Warner, but I bet you I'll never get another speeding ticket, either."  And the funny thing is, Glenn, Time-Warner did withdraw the song, which was the right thing to do as a result of what Heston did, and Heston used to have a Corvette and he did like to, you know, speed around L.A.  He got stopped on the provide a month or two later and the police officer walked up to the car and Heston was like, oh, I'm in trouble now.  The police officer said, "Look, you do need to slow down but that's not why I stopped you.  I stopped you to say thanks on behalf of all the officers for what you did at the Time-Warner board meeting."

GLENN:  When was the last time you saw him, Wayne?

LaPIERRE:  About a couple of months ago and, you know, Alzheimer's is a terrible disease and it had progressed, you know, pretty much toward the end.

GLENN:  Did he recognize you at all?

LaPIERRE:  No.

GLENN:  I've never lost anybody to Alzheimer's.  It must be, especially somebody like Charlton Heston, who you just remember as -- well, I mean, Moses, or Ben Hur and to see them slip away has just got to be just mind-boggling.

LaPIERRE:  Yeah, it is.  I lost my dad to Alzheimer's and it was like going through it again with Charlton Heston.  I had a psychiatrist tell me, you know, when I was going through it with my dad.  He said, Wayne, you know, he said the mind is like -- imagine cattle trails out there where they've gone through for years and he said, and yet it started to rain and the more it rains, the more they're washing away.  And he said, eventually, you know, they're -- all those trails are going to wash away and the deepest ones are the ones that wash away last but eventually he will not remember you or not remember your mom.  And it's just a horrible disease and it's just, his experience was no different than any other family across America that has gone through it or is going through it.

GLENN:  Have you read anything yet this weekend after you heard about it?  Have you read anything or heard anything that you thought, that captured it or is there something that you thought, I wish, I just wish people would know this, or I wish someone would say this about Charlton Heston?

LaPIERRE:  You know, I have heard a lot of people from all walks of life talk about the fact what a nice, gracious gentleman, kind person he was.  And that really sums him up.  He was just a great guy.  He was a kid that grew up in Michigan and became a legendary actor but never bought into the Hollywood stuff and never lost his values.  He was married to Lydia -- my gosh.  He met Lydia, his wife, when he was in the first year of Northwestern University.  I think she was his -- the only girl he ever went out with and she was the love of his life.  Whenever I was on the road with him, he couldn't wait to get back home with her and it was a true love story between the two of them.

GLENN:  How is she doing?

LaPIERRE:  You know, it's hard.  That was the love of her life and she's coping but it's tough.

GLENN:  Wayne, I'll leave you.  I know you need to run and I appreciate you interrupting your busy schedule today to talk to us about this but I just wanted to leave you with this and I just, I find so offensive in his obituary and it's in all of the papers around the country.  Playing larger than life hero seemed to carry over into his real life politics for Heston.  He was one of the major Hollywood stars who marched with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights era but Heston's politics soon veered right.  They are making some sort of statement that you couldn't be a conservative and for civil rights and march with Martin Luther king.  It's just obscene.

LaPIERRE:  I agree with that.  I picked up that, too.  I've known Heston for 27 years.  His political beliefs flowed from the fact that he deeply believed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  I mean, he thought that the sanctity of American freedom was defined by the Bill of Rights and, you know, whether it was the First Amendment under attack or the Second Amendment under attack or the others, I mean, that's what his political philosophy was flowing from and that's what guided his life in politics and took him from Dr. King to integrating the unions in Hollywood with Dr. King, to John Kennedy, to Ronald Reagan, to the NRA.

GLENN:  The NRA, he wasn't -- I mean, I don't want to -- I don't mean it this way but he wasn't like a gun night like, "Bury your guns."  He was a guy who just believed, I have a right to this.  Is that what brought him to the NRA was just his, like you said, his love for the Constitution?  Or was he a gun aficionado or anything like that?

LaPIERRE:  No, it was his love for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States and this freedom that Americans have to own firearms which was, you know, written by our founding fathers who lived under the oppression of King George and in this new country they never wanted anyone to have to live through that oppression again.  And they wrote these freedoms right into the Bill of Rights and Heston took them to heart and said, I'm going to defend them.  It's like when princess di was in that car accident.  The New York Times and the L.A. Times were all trying to separate themselves from the paparazzi.  And Heston believed one of the great things about America is anybody can be a journalist.  You don't have to have a government license.  And at the national press club he scolded the New York Times and the L.A. Times for, oh, how quick you are to try to draw a line in the sand, separating yourself where there is none to be drawn.  I can still remember him saying that.  I mean, he was deeply committed to the First Amendment, the Second Amendment and all the other amendment in the Bill of Rights and what our Constitution said.

GLENN:  Wayne La Pierre from the National Rifle Association and dear, dear friend of Charlton Heston.  Thank you so much, sir, and I'm sorry for your loss.

LaPIERRE:  Thank you, Glenn.

GLENN:  You bet.  Bye-bye.  We'll see Wayne in Louisville, Kentucky.  You remember the NRA, they have asked me to give the keynote speech for the NRA national convention in Louisville, Kentucky here in a few weeks and it's really, it's an honor and I'm sure there's going to be a lot on Charlton Heston this year at the NRA convention.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.