Like I said last week in my introduction to The College Conservatives podcast, it’s great connecting with other conservatives and getting to promote their content. Other notable examples of podcasts for which I have done so are The New Movement, One Nation United, and The Average Conservative Podcast. It was also great to connect with a young patriot who attended the Virginia 2nd Amendment rally and hear about his experiences there. All of those are great podcasts run by terrific young conservatives. This week, it is my treat to inform you of another great conservative podcast that you can tune into, The Political Spirits podcast. Enjoy this guest article written about it by the host of it, Franklin Rye! -Gen Z Conservative
What is the Political Spirits Podcast and Why Should You Listen to It?
I’m often asked why I launched my podcast, Political Spirits. The answer is so personal that I sometimes am reluctant to provide it. Often professional changes arise from tragedy. I’m not quite sure how often changes arise from two tragedies.
But before addressing the origins of the podcast, let’s talk about the message of Political Spirits. It delivers the positive message that the Left and the Right need to have a few drinks and talk. People often mistakenly believe that by saying that I intend to promote compromise. I don’t intend that at all. That’s the reason I say in every episode that “compromise is not a requirement.”
What I mean when I say the Left and the Right need to talk is that for our society to function we have to talk to each other. We have to know what our fellow citizens think, and we shouldn’t lose a friend or be ostracized at work or in our social circles just because our political beliefs are different from those of our friends or coworkers.
I recognize however that what should happen and what has actually happened, especially recently, often doesn’t match. I’m trying to change that. To be brutally honest, I have an ulterior motive. Political Conservatism is a better idea. When we talk, over time that becomes apparent, and frankly our political system was designed to function when we talk. It was designed to promote the advancement of better ideas. We’ve moved away from that, and I’m trying to nudge us back in the right direction with the podcast.
And we haven’t just veered slightly off course. Conservative views and those expressing them have been demonized by the left. And unfortunately in our society, the persons with the bullhorns, with the amplified voices that influence our culture, are predominantly on the left, in Hollywood, the news media, academia and corporate entities that are either controlled by those speaking from a left-wing perspective or who operate in fear of backlash from the left.
In fact the modern left is dramatically farther to the left than in the past. A pew research study looked into the issue and found that from 1994 to the present the Democrat Party moved dramatically farther to the left than the Republican Party moved to the right. This graph from Pew shows that the Democrats moved roughly nine times as far as the Republicans.
That movement of the Democrat Party left me extremely concerned about the future of our country, and for years I would express my concerns to my friends and, most of all, my wife.
It made me want to return in some way to an earlier period in my career, when I spent 16 years in Government Affairs, working public policy matters at the federal, state and local level nationwide. Perhaps I could in some way help turn the country around.
So how did such a positive podcast, Political Spirits, arise from tragedies, and what were those tragedies? The first tragedy was sudden, unexpected and incredibly jarring. It brought the kind of change that throws everything into turmoil, in one horrible step ripping away nearly all my assumptions and expectations for the future. My wife passed away suddenly and unexpectedly and far, far too young.
Not only had I lost my soulmate and the mother of my children, and the person I expected to spend the rest of my life with, but I also lost my sounding board, the person who I burdened with all my protestations about the state of our country’s politics and the terrifying direction in which the Democratic Party was taking our country, and I needed a sounding board.
In the aftermath of her death I thought about starting a podcast, but frankly my focus was elsewhere. We had a traditional marriage where my job consisted primarily of working long hours to make as much money as possible while she managed the home, supported our kids in school in every way possible and logged so many volunteer hours in support of the school that those efforts alone were almost a full-time equivalent. Now all of her support was gone and I was a single parent trying to get two kids through the remainder of their high school years.
Even though I needed to start a podcast, it wasn’t the right time because I needed to get the kids through school.
But as I struggled to get the hang of single parenthood and assist our kids through the end of high school, and help prepare them for college, tragedy number two struck, and this tragedy was felt far beyond my family. It was felt all across my state and even beyond. Two of our kids were in their senior year, and the high school they were preparing to graduate from was Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
My kids were impacted. I was impacted. But we were among the lucky ones. My kids weren’t in the 1200 Building, where a crazed gunman shot 34 of their fellow students, teachers, and friends, killing 17 of them. Instead, they were in the building right next door, perhaps 50 feet away, and they could hear the shots, one after another. I know people whose kids were killed. I know people whose children were right next to other children when they were shot and died. As bad as it has been for my family, it has been so much worse for so many others.
In the days after that tragedy, as the town struggled, as we all struggled, I watched the news coverage and I became more and more dismayed. Even as I have become increasingly disenchanted with the news media, I think I still expected to see some semblance of journalism. I expected that the media would make some attempt to get at the truth of what happened and whether it could have been prevented. Instead what I watched was the media, in essence, reach into their files and pull out “mass shooting because no gun control laws story” and run with it, and CNN was the worst offender. CNN helped turn the tragedy into a full-on political event.
In the end, CNN did perform one useful journalistic function. They were the network on which Broward County’s incompetent Sheriff, Scott Israel, appeared and made a fool of himself by declaring that he showed “amazing leadership” in connection with the shooting. That interview helped secure his downfall, and I was one of the parents who traveled to Tallahassee to ensure that the state Senate removed him from office after the governor suspended him.
The first EIGHT officers from the Broward Sheriffs Office to arrive on scene hid behind their cars or walls or trees or left the area of the 1200 building, instead of going inside to engage the shooter, where kids were still being killed and the gunshots could be heard and took up distant positions. It was an institutional level failure, perhaps not surprising because the Broward Sheriff conducted a fraction of the active shooter training conducted by the neighboring Coral Springs Police and the Broward Sheriff had changed protocol to advise that deputies “may” rather than “shall” engage an active shooter. In contrast, when the Coral Springs police arrived, they went right into the building, but the shooter had already snuck out.
Fellow conservative Parkland father Andrew Pollack has written a moving and disturbing book, “Why Meadow Died”, which details the nearly endless string of government failures that culminated in the Stoneman Douglas shooting in which his daughter died. He has described it as the most preventable mass shooting in history, and I think he’s right, and none of what made it preventable has anything to do with gun control. Instead, it has everything to do with incompetent and unaccountable bureaucrats, political correctness and government changing the rules so that it can pretend it is solving problems when it is actually making things worse.
And the news media’s failure to investigate in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and to instead turn it into a political event, is what finally drove me to start my podcast. If the news media isn’t going to tell the truth, or even try to find the truth, then at least I can do what I can to do so. At least I can present the public with news and opinion that doesn’t stick strictly to pushing the mainstream media narrative.
My podcast has not been focused on the shooting. However, one Episode, “Broken PROMISE” tells how a fundamentally flawed government program helped create the atmosphere where the shooter could avoid the arrest which might have prevented the shooting, and another episode focused on my trip to Tallahassee to help secure the Sheriff’s removal. Andrew Pollack has done the lion’s share of the work publicizing the government failures that led to the tragedy.
I have focused on a myriad of other issues, including getting the word out (i) that we have to talk to each other, (ii) that the Democrat Party is on a dangerous course for the future of the country, (iii) that words are not violence and those who treat them as such are a threat to the First Amendment and to our freedoms, (iv) that illegal immigration harms those at the bottom end of the economy most, (v) that educational institutions which don’t present a diversity of opinions are not educational institutions at all, (vi) that allowing biological males who identify as females to compete against biological women in women’s sports is wrong and threatens the existence of women’s sports and (vii) that for the good of the country, and also of the Democrat party, Donald Trump must be reelected resoundingly in 2020 so that he can finish the work he has begun and the Democrat party can finally realize that it must move towards the center.
I can truly say that my podcast is a labor of love. Each new episode never fails to invigorate me, and with each invigorating new episode, I find that I move further from those tragic events of Valentine’s Day, 2018. Sometimes the politics of our country seem tragic, but I have faith that in the end we just tend to do the right thing. And when I look at polling of Generation Z and the conservatism that comes through in the results, my faith is borne out. In the end, America does just tend to do the right thing, and if the Political Spirits podcast can help nudge it in that direction, that’s an achievement of which I can be proud, and would certainly qualify as a recovery from tragedy.
You can listen to Political Spirits at PoliticalSpirits.libsyn.com or just search for Political Spirits podcast in your search engine. And I’ve launched my exciting new website, Political-Spirits.com, with lots of exciting content, including The Eleven Maxims of Political Spirits, video snippets for the most recent episodes, a link to all the episodes, plus articles and a Forum are on their way, all of which will raise your Political Spirits.
By: Franklin Rye, Host of Political Spirits