Two incidents in my cab in the last couple months have led me to be unsettled. I wear a western hat. It’s a fine custom made one of a kind hat that fits my head to the millimeter, as a custom made hat should. I’ve had dozens of comments and compliments about the hat, but until lately I have never considered my hat as a catalyst for an emotional response.

A couple months ago, and again a couple nights ago, I’ve had customers accompanied by friends who were about to say something racist, paused to consider their present company. In each case, their friends already knowing them enough not to be surprised, the speaker looked at me and said, ”You’re wearing that hat. You get it.” And then proceeded to make a racist comment.

What?! How does a western hat imply that racism is OK? Like I’m part of some kind of club because of my hat. To that I say, bullshit. I called out the first guy and corrected him about his misperception of me. The second guy was on his way out the door and I let the door close behind him and just shook my head.

The perception of course is that by wearing my hat I proclaim an association with a conservative leaning lot of folks. To that I would say, “Yep.” And? What does that have to do with the price of rice in Tibet? How does one equate conservatism with racism? That is not a rhetorical question, but one that I am eternally asking the world.

In a recent poll amongst listeners of the Glenn Beck radio show, the question was asked; If they were running, who would be your top 25pick as President? The top 10 answers, (not positive about the order) were: Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Alan West, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindahl, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Mike Lee and Sarah Palin.

So, two black men, two men of Cuban Heritage, one man of East Indian heritage, two white guys and two women are surly a sign that conservatives are…bigots? Come again?

Back to my hat…sort of. I’m a registered independent-conservative-libertarian-constitutionalist. Some people that wear such a hat are Democrats (Toby Keith). Some are Liberal (Tim Mcgraw, Neil Young, Willie Nelson) and some don’t really give a rat’s ass. So, leave my hat out of your small minded tunnel vision view of what my values are. You have no idea.



By E.A. Cook

Those who understand and appreciate him are as diverse as the population. Penn Jillette, Rabbi Levin, Mike Rowe, John Haggee and Vince Vaughn are among those who are part of the mutual admiration club. Not one of them agrees with everything he says, nor should they. But they respect him as a reasoned man who genuinely cares about our society and the future of our children and our country.

Employees of his company are gay, straight, black, brown, Asian, Jewish, Christian and atheist. He abhors the weasels on both sides of the aisle and is not nor has he ever been a Republican. He is a recovering alcoholic, divorced and remarried, father of a special needs child and sweats compassion for those who are struggling.

Some liberal progressives and most Republicans froth and spit at the very mention of the name Glenn Beck. His detractors in the mainstream public are largely those who have never listened to him for 30 minutes but rather choose to watch craftily edited YouTube clips and run with blurbs from John Stewart. He thinks differently than they do and, after all, all-inclusive tolerance for other’s views only applies to such people as long as the holder of said beliefs believes the way they do ideologically.

His stated view of gay civil unions is,”I don’t care who you sleep with or who you want to spend your life with. If how you live doesn’t break my arm or pick my pocket, then carry-on.” However, from his mostly Libertarian point of view, the government has no business legalizing or being involved in marriage, gay or otherwise. The institution of marriage has always and should always be the purview of the individual’s church, synagogue or mosque.

He is a student of, and has a great appreciation for, the history of the country. Admitting that he is fully aware of the nations sins, he also openly yearns for and believes that if we come together as a nation that an It’s a Wonderfull Life/Norman Rockwell existence is attainable.

An abortion of a fetus, accepting the truth of the fact that said fetus is not a Lego, VW hood ornament nor a Dust Buster but is in fact a human fetus, is, in his opinion, murder. He does hold to the exception of Rape as a valid reason. I did mention that he sweats compassion?

But none of these things explain the brilliance that I refer to in the title of this piece. The brilliance of the man is that he is us. 7 million of us. Black, white, gay straight Independents, Republicans, Libertarians and even a few closet Democrats. He’s an ‘every man’; the son of a baker, a high school dropout, a Top 40’s DJ, former user of recreational drugs and an alcoholic. He’s not pretty, is not a psuedo-intellectual, knows nothing about sports and even less about cars. He believes every word that comes out of his mouth, and the few times in his career when he’s changed his mind about an issue, he has admitted it and moved on. His passion, sincerity, and search for the truth endeared him to people when he was still broke and struggling. That’s his brilliance, and it has brought him wealth and influence that only 13 years ago were not even on his radar. He is exactly who he claims to be.