Glenn Beck: Rare 'R' in Hollywood




An American Carol trailer

GRAMMER: Hi, Glenn, how are you?

GLENN: Very good. I have run into you in the street several times. You are always with your family. I see you on the street all the time.

GRAMMER: Oh, no kidding. Which streets?

GLENN: Which streets? You know, the streets you hang out on. So -- 

GRAMMER: Listen, I've become quite a fan of yours. I think you are doing a hell of a job.

GLENN: Thank you very much.

GRAMMER: Please come up and say hi next time.

GLENN: I will. How are you feeling, first of all.

GRAMMER: I feel great. I had a pretty severe, you know, situation back in May and then I had a little bit of a redo, a do-over in August which ended up putting a pacemaker in me. So that's okay. You know, I mean, it's a little bit of an adjustment but frankly I feel strong and good and I've lost a little weight and I'm not eating salt anymore.

GLENN: Jeez. You know, did you ever think -- when they're starting to tell you about, you know, the food that you can't eat anymore, do you ever think, I don't know.

GRAMMER: You know what, they've really come up with some great, a lot of colorful and rewarding food options. So it's really not horrible.

GLENN: Colorful? What do you mean?

GRAMMER: Colorful and rewarding. Well, you know, I first had -- I had my heart attack on the island of Hawaii. I ended up on Oahu, Queens Medical Center, a really advanced, great facility, especially the intensive care unit. They had prepared their own cookbook because apparently a lot of Hawaiians have heart trouble and I guess it has something to do with their diet and in some cases massive size.

GLENN: You couldn't think of the diet. They are eating fish all the time.

GRAMMER: Yeah, but all that other stuff that goes with it. Until last year it was the Spam-eating capital of the world.



Glenn Beck on Cheers

GLENN: Was it really?

GRAMMER: Yeah, yeah.

GLENN: You live in paradise and you're eating Spam? That kind of stinks.

GRAMMER: You know what, there's just something about it.

GLENN: Kelsey, last night I saw American Carol.

GRAMMER: Oh, you did?

GLENN: You are brilliant in it. I'm trying to remember his name. The lead character, yeah, surprisingly looks so much like his brother but, you know, usually when the brother comes along, you are like, okay, not so good. Really, really good.

GRAMMER: Very funny. Wonderful guy, too. He's got a warmth and a charm and honestly, I mean I really think we've served Michael Malone much better than he would have served us or Michael Moore.

GLENN: Oh, yeah.

GRAMMER: You start to really like the guy. Even for standing up for what he believes in, you know?

GLENN: I thought it -- obviously I thought it was a little too fair quite honestly.

GRAMMER: Maybe that's true.

GLENN: Have you seen the finished piece yet?

GRAMMER: I have only seen a rough cut that had a water mark over the top of it. So, you know, it looked like an illegally distributed thing that, you must show this to no one and blah, blah, blah. It looked like crap on my television.

GLENN: I will tell you this, Kelsey. When I watched it last night, I think there are some real "Laugh out loud" parts, but did you ever think as watching it or doing it that there are parts that, that ain't just -- that's just not funny because it's true.

GRAMMER: Yeah.

GLENN: I mean, a lot of the stuff, you come back as Patton and, you know, he's sitting there with a rat eating pizza which is just hysterical but, you know, you come back as Patton and the stuff that you guys put in there, it's almost, in some ways I want my kids to watch it because it's true.

GRAMMER: Yeah. If it weren't true, it would be funny. But it is and that's the thing. So there are definitely some moments that impact you. Certainly the moment where George Washington says "Dust" took my breath away when I read it even. It was just, oh, my God. But, of course, I don't know how much time you spent there right after the bombing but when the towers went down, I went a couple of times in that first month and it was as devastating as anything I've ever seen in my life and I don't like people feeling the distance that they feel from it and I don't like the complications that the political climate has sort of, you know, heaped on top of it. It's a pretty simple thing. We were blasted big time and that's not something that goes away and it's not -- there's no way to just have it go away without fighting it.

GLENN: You know, I've said it a million times. I went to the towers right after they came down and it's the only thing -- because they were still -- you know, they were still looking for people and then the smoke was billowing. It's the only thing that I've ever done that in some ways I'm glad I saw it because I'll never, ever forget but it's also the thing that I wish I wouldn't have seen. I'll never get that out of my mind. I can still smell it.

GRAMMER: Yeah, me, too.

GLENN: Do you feel that way?

GRAMMER: Me, too, absolutely. No, it's an indelible mark. We cannot allow people to forget about it. And I guess in some ways, to the people who died there as well as the people that gave their lives in trying to help others and what will be I think an eternal vigil at least by Americans that remember. You know how we have to stay vigilant.

GLENN: Do you -- the opening scene where -- you are not in it yet but where the Al-Qaeda members, they are up on a hill and they say -- 

GRAMMER: This is the virtue of the film. We have kept one of our greatest arrows in our quiver, let us say. Because Hollywood definitely has. Is to go after these people with humor. I mean, I constantly think about, you know, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, like Road to Baghdad, stuff like that.

GLENN: Yeah, yeah.

GRAMMER: We've forgotten that we can do this. I think the greatest weapon against these guys honestly is to make fun of them, is to ridicule them. And what we discover in the American Carol is that this is a bunch of inept idiots who some are clinging to a really warped ideology and the rest are kind of just being dragged along. I love the guys in it. I mean, I love our terrorists and our jihadists.

GLENN: I love the one that's voting. He is in line, he's a terrorist and he's in line. He's like, what are you doing voting, you are not supposed to do this? And he said, I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. It's just great. Do you think, are you worried at all about backlash in a couple of ways? First of all, the opening scene where it is Mohammed and everybody stands up and they are like, no, no, no, I mean Hussein, and everybody stands up. Are you worried at all about the -- about political correctness?

GRAMMER: No. The great cover of the movie is that it is a Dave and Zucker movie and they have never been politically correct, nor should they be. I mean, this is the style that David and his brother championed of course but now they have split on the basis of politics and it's just David on his own. But no, no, I mean, you know, he has never, he has never pulled his punches in terms of being politically incorrect and I think that's to his credit.

GLENN: Did you see Sarah Palin last night?

GRAMMER: Yes, I did.

GLENN: Do you mind talking about it a little bit when we come back?

GRAMMER: Don't mind at all.

GLENN: Okay, good. Back with Kelsey Grammer in just a minute and your phone calls. The number's 888-727-BECK. And if you missed any of the show today, a lot of really important stuff on the show today. Please go back and grab it online at GlennBeck.com or you can sign up for our free e-mail newsletter.

Also, I had kind of a running commentary of the debate last night. Stu, can we throw that in the newsletter today, make sure that everybody can see kind of the running commentary that I had on the debate. You'll find it in your newsletter in your e-mail box, free at GlennBeck.com.

(OUT 11:42)

GLENN: 888-727-BECK, 888-727-BECK. Opening this weekend, an American Carol. It's a spoof from Zucker which, the guy, the maker of Airplane and all the rest and it is, they are laugh out loud, mainly when Michael Moore's getting hit in the face by Kelsey Grammer or an have anvil or an oar or et cetera, et cetera better there are laugh out loud parts in this movie. It will make you feel good. It's for conservatives. Boy, it is a vet movie but a lot of parts you are thinking, he I can't, that's exactly how I feel. We're talking to Kelsey Grammer and what did you think of the -- what did you think of the debate last night with Sarah Palin?

GRAMMER: Well, of course, I watched and I am -- you know, I was cautiously optimistic about Sarah Palin and I certainly am blown away by her when she spoke at the convention.

GLENN: She was great.

GRAMMER: I think she could be a formidable politician in the years to come. I think she's got enough time to fully, you know, sort of cocoon herself and emerge as the butterfly that she can be. I am very impressed with her. I thought she held her own against Joe Biden who clearly is, you know, more knowledgeable about a lot of things. But honestly he made a lot of misrepresentations on the partisan scale, so to say.

GLENN: And he may be more knowledgeable but he's wrong on a lot of issues.

GRAMMER: That's what I said. I listened to his diatribe about John McCain's voting record and I said that's not true. There were several that are not true and I hope you guys are doing your job in correcting him. I mean, I know the left has stopped listening to voices like yours and certainly not mine but I think rational Americans do remember. I mean, one of my chief objections to this whole financial crisis thing is that we haven't hung this albatross around the necks of the Democrats. I mean, honestly this is Democrat-inspired policy. There's no question about it. I mean, the Republicans jumped on board and it was certainly popular.

GLENN: Yeah.

GRAMMER: But there were those, especially John McCain, that said, hey, wait a minute, you know, we're in a world of trouble here.

GLENN: Why do you suppose they're not doing that? I mean, they didn't even do it last night. Sarah Palin did not -- she should have said, look, I -- 

GRAMMER: I think John McCain has taken the stance that he's not going to do tit for tat in terms of a political harangue.

GLENN: You don't -- I don't want tit for tat but I do want someone to understand. The media is not uncovering this. The media is not doing it. When Charlie Rangel was in the well of the House lecturing on how important this bill is, I'm thinking, Charlie Rangel? You've got to be kidding me.

GRAMMER: You've got to be kidding me. I mean, it seems absolutely unbelievable. I mean, I listened to Barney Frank and I thought, why aren't we just running this guy out of town.

GLENN: This guy, you know the name, Andrew Fastow.

GRAMMER: Yeah.

GLENN: Ken lay?

GRAMMER: Come on, these guys should be going down. Honestly I can't believe, he's one of the biggest recipients from these failed organizations. It's just disingenuous to the extreme and I find it incredible that they stand there and even, you know, just sort of face it out that they're, you know, under scrutiny. But somehow they're ducking that bullet.

GLENN: So let me ask you something because you're an actor. You can act and you can do things and say things that you don't believe and you're like, well, I'm acting, I'm doing a movie, I can sleep at night, right?

GRAMMER: Yeah.

GLENN: How do these people say these things and sleep at night?

GRAMMER: I don't know because honestly, you know, an actor's job is to actually lend a sense of truth to whatever fantasy's been written for him honestly. And actors are terrible liars. I mean, they are really good actors don't know how to lie. They accept, they discover the truth of the character that they are playing, but these guys are charlatans, these guys are hustlers. I find it, it's reprehensible. Honestly the folks from the other side of the aisle, they've got to clean house. They talk about all this integrity and, you know, graft among politicians. They are living, breathing examples of it. It's just been horrifying to me.

GLENN: Where do you think we are as a nation today? If we don't wake up soon, we don't turn our lives around, where do you think we are as nation?

GRAMMER: We're in a crisis of a Civil War basically, just not a shooting one. That's been my feeling for some time now. I was honestly, I said it years ago but I mean, the guy that did anything to really bring us together was Osama Bin Laden and that's a pretty awful situation. And, you know, when people were going down in those planes, and I knew several people on board, they weren't Republicans and Democrats. They were Americans. And I attended several memorials where actually they were used as opportunities to punch George Bush around and I thought, already? This is already happening? I mean, there's a sickness. It's like decay from the inside, and it scares the hell out of me. I mean, otherwise rational, you know, cordial human beings have lost their minds about -- I recently spoke at one of these McCain campaign things and I said simply that in my community it has been impossible since George Bush was elected to have anything but a tortured and dysfunctional conversation. I mean, it's as though we stand in completely different worlds and that does still make me nervous.

GLENN: But we do. You know, to kind of go off on your Civil War thing, I was, two weekends ago I met with a guy who was I believe the first person to say a global terror network. That was his phrase. And he said this is not -- we're treating this like a police action. This is not. This is a global terror network. And I said to him, I asked him, you know, where are we in our history, where do you think we are. And he said, people don't understand. We're in 1860.

GRAMMER: Oh, yeah. There you go.

GLENN: We've got to have a leader that steps to the plate that says united we stand, divided we fall, and can actually unite us.

GRAMMER: Yeah.

GLENN: Do you think there's a chance that Barack Obama can unite us? Do you think that's possible?

GRAMMER: Well, certainly that's been his rhetoric but, you know, his actions are all, at least the policies will just drive wedges between us. I mean, that's the problem. As soon as you start to criminalize success in this country, you are taking a big jump to the kind of country that I don't believe in and that's going to be very hard. That's going to be very hard to, you know, stuff down most of our throats because I'm all for doing my patriotic duty which has been always when I had a good year, the U.S. Government had a better year. I have never paid less than half my salary to the U.S. I think that's patriotic enough in terms of my donation to the wellbeing of the federal government.

GLENN: Yeah. Kelsey, I would say I -- 

GRAMMER: I do not know if he's the guy. I like the way he talks but I just doubt he has the juice to make it happen. Or even the will to really make it happen. I think that under the veneer we see is the gentleman who really does have very little regard for those of us on the right.

GLENN: I will tell you that I think you are doing your patriotic duty with this movie. As I watched -- 

GRAMMER: That's nicely brought back around.

GLENN: We're running out of time unfortunately. I'd love to talk to you anytime again, but as I was watching it, part of the unfunny part for me was watching me going, where are these movies, where have these movies been. You know, where you love America, where it's okay to say you love America, we're if good guys.

GRAMMER: It's time for that slack a little bit and all of us really have a right to.

GLENN: Kelsey, what a pleasure, sir, and we'll talk again.

GRAMMER: Thanks, Glenn.

GLENN: American Carol opens up this weekend.

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!