I live in Johnson County, Iowa….or as we like to call it “The People’s Republic of Johnson County”. Liberals have been in control of this county for the better part of the last 40 years. The last Republican office holder was the sheriff who retired over 20 years ago. The University of Iowa is located in Iowa City, the county seat of Johnson County; so the presence of a major public university has had an influence on the politics and the culture here. One of my favorite examples of the political correctness that is pervasive here is something that happened right after I moved here in 1993. The Iowa City Community School District put out a memo to the parents of the district as Halloween approached requesting that the children refrain from wearing any costumes which might be offensive to various segments of the community. Included in this “do not wear” list were; witches, native Americans, pirates, gypsies, leprechauns, and ghosts. It was strongly encouraged that the children dress up as vegetables. You can imagine the run on green pepper, eggplant, and carrot costumes that year!
Welcome to my world….
So, last evening, my husband and I attended the rebroadcast of the “Bold and Fresh” Tour with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. It was shown in a local theatre in Iowa City. We met up with my husband’s brother there and much to my surprise on a cold, snowy Iowa evening in early February, the theatre was about two-thirds filled with approximately 125 people who paid $20 each to see this program.
The show itself was entertaining and not really what I had expected. Glenn Beck was his usual off the wall, consipracy-theory self, but in an entertaining and amusing way. O’Reilly was the usual haughty, edgy crumudgeon and very much the foil of Beck.
While the disclaimer at the beginning of the program indicated that this was a taped re-broadcast, the audience was really quite engaged: cheering, clapping, laughing almost as if they were attending the live performance.
Beck started out with a monologue and the strongest reactions came from the audience when he mentioned that President Obama’s staff had wanted to book this very venue in Tampa where the performance was taking place for a visit from the President. The White House was told that this arena was not available that day because Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly had sold out two performances with approximately 15,000 tickets per show. Beck was giddy when he said that he would have loved to have seen the reaction from the person scheduling the President’s event when confronted with that news.
O’Reilly came out to do his monologue for about 20 minutes, pacing across the floor the whole time. Beck had worked behind or just in front of a lectern. O’Reilly’s movements made me think that he was trying to be moving target to deflect any incoming…whatever. Reading his body language here! 🙂
Then the two men came back together after intermission for some banter that has become so popular on O’Reilly’s nightly show. Again great response from the audience assembled in Tampa, as well as those in the theatre in Iowa City.
The program ended and we exited the theatre. There were some women there whom I know from local GOP activities and one of them grabbed my arm and exclaimed, “Can you believe that there were so many conservatives here for this?”
Now, while you may not think that in a county of 100,000 people a gathering of .1% of the people to attend an event is a big deal…especially when the University of Iowa doubles the population of Johnson County any weekend that there is a home football game.
What I find more significant, is that this morning as I have been in my office and talked to various people in the area, responded to email and the such, to a person, I have been told, “I wish I had known about that, I would have loved to have been there”. I was thinking if this event had been better publicized and perhaps on held on a weekend night, imagine the possibilities.
The $20 price of admission while providing some great entertainment, also bought me some of piece of mind. Maybe, just maybe, this bastion of liberalism in which I reside has more “closet” conservatives that I had originally thought…and if they are here in Johnson County, Iowa, they must be in other places as well.
Glenn Beck said that he knows now that everything is going to be alright. I share with him an abiding faith in the American people to right this ship that seems to have sailed into some rough seas. The sleeping giant has been awakened, I am optimistic for our future…and it only cost $20.