I know you’re freaking out today. Your candidate just had her life’s aspirations to become the first female Commander-in-Chief dashed by a brash billionaire reality television host who decided he wanted to run for president.
That stings. The temptation to fly off the rails has to be huge – actually, I know it’s huge because social media is not a pretty sight today.
I’m here to tell you, no matter how tempting it may be to relocate to panic-town, it’s a huge mistake. The moment I saw Van Jones crying on TV last night, I realized I was uniquely qualified to urge you not to take the bait.
Jones’s rant is the pinnacle social-share for the upset Democrat today, the one out of a sea of complaints that you saw and instantly said, “yes! this encapsulates every bit of my inner most being right now,” and clicked the share button. Maybe you even added the sad emoji guy for good measure.
In the clip, Jones laments Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat by proclaiming people are “afraid of breakfast” today:
“It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome and you have people putting children to bed tonight. They’re afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight saying, ‘Should I leave the country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight. . . . This was a white-lash. This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president in part, and that’s the part where the pain comes.”
Those tears resonate with you. It’s how you’re feeling. But the fact that it’s Van Jones, of all people, who is the guy on TV crying over the perilous state of the country is laced, no, overflowing with irony.
See, eight years ago, I was the one on TV in tears, passionately warning millions of Americans of the dangers that lay ahead. One of those dangers I spoke of, ironically, was Van Jones himself.
Ok, it wasn’t me exactly. But it may as well have been.
At the time, I was head writer for the “Glenn Beck Program” on Fox News. We dominated the ratings game. You could find us on the cover of Time Magazine…and in Obama’s head.
That’s not to say Glenn was turning on a teleprompter and blindly reading whatever I wrote. No, it was quite the opposite. I was responsible for taking Glenn’s viewpoints and packaging them in entertaining and informative monologues. Reading Mark Sanford’s romantic letters to his mistress under a candlelit studio, warning of big government expansion by recreating the Pre-cog lab from Minority Report, explaining the slow crawl to socialism by boiling (fake) frogs – that sort of thing.
Our first show on Fox was right after Obama’s inauguration ceremony. Much like you today, we were terrified of the direction the incoming commander-in-chief promised for America.
Obama had referred to Christian conservatives like myself as “bitterly clinging” to God and guns, and his long-time pastor referred to America as “the KKK of A”. Obama openly expressed his desire to fundamentally transform America into something vastly different than what the founders intended. In one of many examples, Obama openly discussed how he felt the notoriously left-leaning Warren Court wasn’t radical enough because it failed to venture into “redistributive justice”, or what is more commonly referred to as socialism.
So, while you and your fellow Democrats were celebrating history, the other half of the country began to worry. If those initial suspicions weren’t enough, each special advisor President Obama appointed always held varying degrees of radical progressive or socialist tendencies. Carol Browner, Mark Lloyd, Van Jones, John Holdren, Cass Sunstein, to name a few.
The pattern was clear: Obama had a very different view of America, structurally, and was about to embark on a major construction project to drastically alter it.
When Glenn went on TV and cried, he was every bit as genuine as Van Jones was last night. The only difference is that the tears of Van Jones fell to the ground with heroism, or at the very least, free from mockery. Glenn’s on the other hand, was ruthlessly mocked for expressing heartfelt concern for the direction of the country — and still is to this day. The Daily Show, SNL, and others gleefully pounced onto the act. Somehow, I don’t think Jon Stewart will be doing a “break from retirement” bit in oder to mock the TV tears of Van Jones.
I’m not nearly as emotive as Glenn was when he cried on national television over the state of the country, but it did resonate with me. I imagine you feel the same way about the tears of Van Jones. You see Donald Trump as the personification of every GOP stereotype you’ve ever held: a bigoted, mean, evil white rich guy, and so on. Today you’ve risen, perhaps fearful, but devoted to do whatever you can to stop the madness.
I’m begging you, learn from my experience. Make like Elsa and “let it go.”
I don’t mean stop fighting for what you believe in. By all means, continue to do so. But I can tell you from personal experience, engaging in fear-mongering like Van Jones did last night will only make things worse. The idea that somehow you won’t be able to safely tuck your children into bed because Donald Trump is the President is a lie.
I can say this with authority because, again, eight years ago I was in exactly the same position you find yourself in today. I chose to go to the mat, fighting every move Obama made in the most dramatic and over exaggerated ways possible. If you engage in this type of behavior and rhetoric you will reap what you sow. In four to eight years you will have your very own Donald Trump rise from the ashes of your populist anger.
I can’t speak for Glenn, but I think he feels similarly. It’s not all his (or in some way my) fault we’re in the situation we’re in. But he has admitted several times that he regrets his role in dividing America. So do I.
You are Glenn Beck and Dan Andros, along with millions of other angry and afraid conservatives eight years ago.
Now is your chance to make sure you don’t repeat our mistakes of the past.
Now is the time to either purse a path to reconciliation or deepen the divide.
Now is the time to stop putting so much weight and personal energy into who our president is.
Now is the time to stop demonizing the other side and start listening.
Here’s a prime example: Huffington Post reported on something Glenn said about unity last night, and look at the headline:
Now, why would they say ‘Of All People’ in the headline? Because they want you to know they don’t like him. This is just one example, and there are many like it on both the left and right. This is our real fight. This is what we have to get past, as a people.
Yes, the presidency is important. But it is not the end all be all. Obama and Trump may be presidents, but Christ is still King.
We can choose to engage, listen, and respectfully disagree with one another in truth and love, or we can point fingers, demonize, exaggerate, and be irrational.
I’ve already tried the latter, and can tell you with certitude it doesn’t work. I wasted years of my life living in (at least when I focused on it) irrational fear of man.
You are me eight years ago. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.