The poetry of small towns

I have been in our small town in Idaho for the last ten days. Simple. Farmers. Salt of the earth.

People who rely on God for their crops. Pray when to plant, pray for rain, pray not too much, pray for heat, not too much, pray on when to cut the fields, pray that there is no rain until you can bale it (three days), pray for thanks and begin again.

Most farmers are broke financially. Yet spiritually they are the richest people I know. Two reasons:

1. You must remain a partner with God and trust He knows what He is doing because at best you are still guessing when to plant and cut.

2. Because someone around your farm is going to fail even if you don't and if you succeed this year, you may be the one that fails next year. Thus: You have a reason to help your neighbor. You all know that "there by the grace of God go I."

As I watch these people and see how they live I see the solutions. Nations forget as they become industrialized. They move into cities and no longer even see the canvas of the master painter. The full expanse of the sky. It seems as we grow rich financially, the more arrogant and spiritually bankrupt we become. We no longer see ourselves as partners with The Eternal, we begin to see life as dog eat dog and our problems become bigger as our neighbors become invisible.

What a simple answer to our problems. Yet, how difficult, possibly impossible, to actually do without a farm.

As I was in church today I listened to the choir. For a while we attended church right at Lincoln Center in NYC. I remember one Sunday, as we all began to sing, that somehow, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was visiting and all sitting all around me in the pews. No, it was just a place on earth where some of the most talented performers happened to attend church. Today, my neighbors stood to sing. The farmers, the guy who works at the car lot, a few retired heroes, their wives and children. What I heard was not what those at Lincoln Center would describe a technically flawless, but the music I heard was more perfect than I ever heard in any of the great concert halls.

I have carried that sound in my head all day and tried to understand why it effected me the way it did. There was something more to it than just lyrics, notes and singers. As I picked up John Steinbeck's ‘Grapes of Wrath’ to read this afternoon it hit me. Almost every word in that book is poetry. Beautifully written. But, at first, you are left with the impression that he as a writer, is almost mocking who and everything these Okies are. I don't know Steinbeck's history well enough to know his motivation but in his writing I found the answer I was looking for. What I heard today was the original.

It was authentic. It was real.

In the big city it is easy to find things and talented people that can paint, act, write or sing songs that make your heart swell with that warm, sweet feeling of something bigger than you, me or the piece of art. But, most times, what you are finding is what I found in Steinbeck: a mere reflection or echo of the authentic art that those simple people in the small no name towns live everyday. All of the great art of America was composed to reflect the people I listened to in this small church on the edge of a town that only has maybe two stop lights.

What we are looking for to uplift, inspire, and model is found here in the small town at the base of a mountain in Idaho. Real people who rely on something bigger than themselves and in the end each other.

The world mocks these people and the way they live. The children, including in my case as a teenager race to leave these towns to head to the cities. People will say, there is "nothing to do or see there" or that these towns "don't have any culture." They are right if you believe that art hangs on a wall.

There aren't any museums, concert halls or poetry corners in America's small towns, because the music is in the peoples spirit love and charity, the art is in their weathered faces and calloused hands and the poetry is in the way they live their lives.

On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck sat down with chief researcher Jason Buttrill to go over two bombshell developments that have recently come to light regarding former Vice President Joe Biden's role in the 2016 dismissal of Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

"Wow! Two huge stories dropped within about 24 hours of each other," Jason began. He went on to explain that a court ruling in Ukraine has just prompted an "actual criminal investigation against Joe Biden in Ukraine."

This stunning development coincided with the release of leaked phone conversations, which took place in late 2015 and early 2016, allegedly among then-Vice President Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Ukraine's former President Petro Poroshenko.

One of the audiotapes seems to confirm allegations of a quid pro quo between Biden and Poroshenko, with the later admitting that he asked Shokin to resign despite having no evidence of him "doing anything wrong" in exchange for a $1 billion loan guarantee.

"Poroshenko said, 'despite the fact that we didn't have any corruption charges on [Shokin], and we don't have any information about him doing something wrong, I asked him to resign,'" Jason explained. "But none of the Western media is pointing this out."

Watch the video below for more details:


Listen to the released audiotapes in full here.

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A recently declassified email, written by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and sent herself on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, reveals the players involved in the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and "unmasking" of then-incoming National Security Adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Rice's email details a meeting in the Oval Office on Jan 5, 2017, which included herself, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Barack Obama. Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell, fully declassified the email recently amid President Trump's repeated references to "Obamagate" and claims that Obama "used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration."

On Glenn Beck's Wednesday night special, Glenn broke down the details of Rice's email and discussed what they reveal about the Obama administration officials involved in the Russia investigation's origins.

Watch the video clip below:

Fellow BlazeTV host, Mark Levin, joined Glenn Beck on his exclusive Friday episode of "GlennTV" to discuss why the declassified list of Obama administration officials who were aware of the details of Gen. Michael Flynn's wiretapped phone calls are so significant.

Glenn argued that Obama built a covert bureaucracy to "transform America" for a long time to come, and Gen. Flynn was targeted because he happened to know "where the bodies were buried", making him a threat to Obama's "secret legacy."

Levin agreed, noting the "shocking extent of the police state tactics" by the Obama administration. He recalled several scandalous happenings during Obama's "scandal free presidency," which nobody seems to remember.

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Colleges and universities should be home to a lively and open debate about questions both current and timeless, independent from a political bias or rules that stifle speech. Unfortunately for students, speaking out about personal beliefs or challenging political dogma can be a dangerous undertaking. I experienced this firsthand as an undergraduate, and I'm fighting that trend now as an adjunct professor.

In 2013, Glenn Beck was one of the most listened to radio personalities in the world. For a college senior with hopes of working on policy and media, a job working for Glenn was a ticket to big things. I needed a foot in the door and hoped to tap into the alumni network at the small liberal arts school where I was an undergrad. When I met with a career services specialist in early March 2013 about possible alumni connections to Glenn Beck, she disdainfully told me: "Why would you want to work for someone like him?" That was the beginning and end of our conversation.

I was floored by her response, and sent an email to the school complaining that her behavior was inappropriate. Her personal opinions, political or otherwise, I argued, shouldn't play a role in the decision to help students.

That isn't the kind of response a student should hear when seeking guidance and help in kick starting their career. Regardless of the position, a career specialist or professors' opinion or belief shouldn't be a factor in whether the student deserves access to the alumni network and schools' resources.

Now, seven years later, I work full time for a law firm and part time as an adjunct teaching business to undergraduate students. The culture at colleges and universities seems to have gotten even worse, unfortunately, since I was an undergrad.

College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions.

I never want to see a student told they shouldn't pursue their goals, regardless of their personal or political beliefs. College is a time to explore, dream big and challenge assumptions. I never got access to the alumni network or schools' resources from the career services office.

Lucky for students in 2020, there are several legal organizations that help students protect their rights when an issue goes beyond what can be handled by an undergraduate facing tremendous pressure from a powerful academic institution. Organizations like Speech First and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), for instance, are resources I wish I knew about at the time.

When I experienced mistreatment from my college, I spoke up and challenged the behavior by emailing the administration and explaining what happened. I received a letter from the career services specialist apologizing for the "unprofessional comment."

What she described in that apology as a "momentary lapse of good judgement" was anything but momentary. It was indicative of the larger battle for ideas that has been happening on college campuses across the country. In the past seven years, the pressure, mistreatment and oppression of free expression have only increased. Even right now, some are raising concerns that campus administrations are using the COVID-19 pandemic to limit free speech even further. Social distancing guidelines and crowd size may both be used to limit or refuse controversial speakers.

Students often feel pressure to conform to a college or university's wishes. If they don't, they could be expelled, fail a class or experience other retribution. The college holds all the cards. On most campuses, the burden of proof for guilt in student conduct hearings is "more likely than not," making it very difficult for students to stand up for their rights without legal help.

As an adjunct professor, every student who comes to me for help in finding purpose gets my full support and my active help — even if the students' goals run counter to mine. But I have learned something crucial in my time in this role: It's not the job of an educator to dictate a student's purpose in life. I'm meant to help them achieve their dreams, no matter what.

Conner Drigotas is the Director of Communications and Development at a national law firm and is a Young Voices contributor.