Transcript

600:

Will I Know Anyone at This Party?
Transcript

Originally aired 10.28.2016

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Full audio: http://tal.fm/600

Prologue.

Ira Glass

OK, so there is, of course, a seismic historic change going on right now in the Republican Party this year. And one of our producers, Zoe Chace, told me about this place where you can eavesdrop on a group of friends, idealistic Republican friends, as they fret and cope and argue about that change week after week. And there is a lot of pain. Zoe has been covering Donald Trump and the Republican Party for our show all year, and every week she listens to this podcast called Ricochet as soon as it goes up.

The three hosts of Ricochet describe themselves as center-right. They're basically Reagan Republicans. In fact, one of them was actually a Reagan speechwriter. And like old school Republicans all over the country, this year, they've been trying to square their old school conservative ideals with their game changing nominee and with what they see their party turning into. Here's Zoe.

Zoe Chace

And the thing that's emerged is, one of the hosts, Rob Long, he cannot be convinced to get behind Donald Trump. And he's in pain over the whole thing. And then one of the other hosts, Peter Robinson, is a reluctant Trump supporter. And he brings on people that try to make all of them feel OK about supporting the Republican nominee for president. And Rob Long just isn't buying it.

Like, one time this scholar named Larry Arnn, who's also president of Hillsdale College, he came on the show with research into Donald Trump's writings and statements going back years.

Larry Arnn

And we find things going back to 1990 or in '91, and they are consistent. Donald Trump is engaged in a major assault upon the regulatory state. And it is the most full-throated one that I have heard since Ronald Reagan.

James Lileks

Rob Long is also on the line.

Rob Long

I'm having a mini stroke here.

Peter Robinson

Rob, we'll come to you in a moment.

Zoe Chace

And then Rob comes in always in pain.

Rob Long

I guess I would start by saying something from the movie Jaws-- I'd be worried a lot less if I thought you were worried a little more. The idea that you've used the word "consistent" to describe Donald Trump is, to me, ludicrous. Have you followed Donald Trump's business career? He has been an emphatic, full-throated supporter of government intervention. He has used those levers to get buildings built and to get bankruptcies disposed of. I don't know what--

James Lileks

Rob is now curled into a little ball, I think.

Rob Long

I retreat to my Never-Trump safe room.

Ira Glass

Zoe and I invited Rob Long into our studio to talk about how Donald Trump is changing the party. Rob Long says that it's pained him, hearing his friends say we have to win this year.

Rob Long

Winning under those principles is really not worth it. I mean, win? Win and what? Raise tariffs 25% on imports? It's crazy. That's a crazy, crazy, crazy ignorant idea. And I think that Trump isn't even-- I mean, this thing on the bus, the audio on the bus, I mean, anyone who was surprised by that? I mean, give me a break. We knew he talks like that.

To me, it's more like, at any point, Trump could have chosen to be a big person. He could have chosen. He could have just sat there in Trump Tower and said, "You know, I'm going to have a speech about how great Martin Luther King was, and how great America is, and how we all need to come together. I'm going to give a big-- somebody write me a big speech. I don't know the words. You give me the words, but I want a big, big, big speech."

He could have done that. It would have cost him zero. He just chose each time the small route. And I just find that offensive. I just am offended by that. I think it's a great, great, great gift to run for president. It's a great gift to be an American. And for him to do that and to treat it that way, callously, that's wrong.

Ira Glass

But it's not just Trump. For all three Ricochet guys, what's disturbing is the issues that Republican voters are abandoning this year and the issues they've decided to move towards. In one of their episodes, the Ricochet hosts had this Republican political guy, Avik Roy, who's been a policy adviser to Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney during their presidential campaigns. I interviewed him too. Roy has gotten some attention in the press for saying how dismayed he is that traditional Republican ideals have been cast aside this year. He says the issue these days that really animates Republican voters is immigration. What the party is about is racial resentment.

Avik Roy

What I saw the Republican Party becoming was a vehicle for the grievance of disaffected whites who believed that the Republican Party should be an interest group for whites.

Ira Glass

Do you feel like this is your party, the party that you see now?

Avik Roy

No, I don't. And I don't know if I consider myself a Republican anymore. I think the Republican Party is a lost cause. I don't think the Republican party is capable of fixing itself, because the people who are most passionate about voting Republican today are the Trump voters. And what politician is going to want to throw those voters away to attract some unknown coalition of the future?

Ira Glass

This is the big question for all these guys- what's their party going to be after November 8? What's it going to stand for? Again, here's Rob Long.

Rob Long

Look, everybody I know who's in my position is just sitting there, waiting and seeing. We're going to sit and wait and see. December 1, we'll probably start climbing out from the smoking ruin and say, "anybody else alive around here?" It'll be like The Walking Dead, right? We're going to try to come up with bands of people and walk across the country, and just not get ourselves killed or eaten, and hook up with people we think are not insane or horrible or in some way murderous. That's exactly what it's going to be like.

Ira Glass

The problem for old school traditional Republicans like Rob Long and Avik Roy is that all the things that they saw as the central tenants of their party-- free trade, cut entitlements, shrink government- what they learned this election is that their fellow Republicans don't care about that stuff. Well, lots of them don't, anyway. The ones who voted for Trump in the primaries, which was 45% of Republican primary votes, what those people voted for instead was "pull the drawbridge up," "close the borders," "protect American jobs." Very different from the old Republican values. Rob Long says that after the election, the two sides are going to have to rethink what the party is.

Rob Long

It is going to be a fight for the soul of their party, right? Those two groups cannot occupy the party at the same time.

Ira Glass

And does rethinking mean that it makes you think "oh, well, maybe let's get rid of the entitlement reform. Let's not argue for cutting Medicare and Social Security. People don't like that."

Rob Long

Yeah, but the whole point of being Republican is that you're supposed to say things that people don't like but that are true anyway. Like, nobody wants to put missiles in West Germany, but that's how you beat back the Soviet menace. Nobody wants to say to a 35- or 30-year-old wage earner, "by the way, your retirement age is going to be 73 or 75. So just take care of yourself or don't. But in any case, you better save something." Nobody wants to say those things. Nobody really wants to be the party of that.

Ira Glass

Yeah.

Rob Long

But that's what being a Republican means-- you're supposed to say the stuff that's true, even if nobody wants to hear it.

Ira Glass

From WBEZ Chicago, it's This American Life.. I'm Ira Glass. The fact is, this fight over what the Republican Party is going to be, it's already happening. It's not waiting for the election. It's happening right now. The battlegrounds are all over the country. And that's what our program is about today. We take you to one town. It's one of the front lines.

Meanwhile, in Washington, like right now, the Republican leadership, well, for months Zoe's been saying that, basically, they seem to be going through the same thing the Ricochet guys are. They're looking at their own party and they're saying, "wait. Is that us? Like, what's happening?"

Zoe Chace

So you look at somebody like Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, right, or Reince Priebus, who's head of the RNC, and even somebody like John McCain. It's like they've been fighting this battle for their ideals to run the country. And they thought they had this big band of voters behind them. And then, with Paul Ryan in particular, it feels like he just turned around and he's like, "oh, my god. Nobody's there."

Ira Glass

Right, Republican voters rejected those ideas when they voted for Trump. But then Ryan is still going around, trying to sell them on cutting Social Security and the kind of traditional Republican stuff, which Ryan has put together into a plan he calls "A Better Way."

Zoe Chace

Yeah, in this election, people don't want that.

Ira Glass

Also, at the personal level-- Ryan is this super disciplined guy who exercises, and he's careful about his diet, and he's a policy nerd, and he's polite, and he's kind of proper. And he's watching his voters cheering this guy who's the total opposite.

Zoe Chace

It seems incredibly lonely for Ryan. And it looks incredibly sad, and it looks very, very painful.

Ira Glass

And for months, Zoe, you have been saying that these Republican leaders just seemed like tragic figures to you, like somebody should write a tragic opera.

Zoe Chace

Someone should.

Ira Glass

As you know, because of your wish, we considered commissioning a tragic opera about Paul Ryan or Reince Priebus.

Zoe Chace

Mhm.

Ira Glass

And then we decided as a staff--

Zoe Chace

You preferred a musical. A musical is more fun than an opera.

Ira Glass

That is correct. And with that in mind, I am pleased to present now, not a musical but a song, a world premiere by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. They did the songs in Frozen. And basically we told them that Paul Ryan has all kinds of feelings that he can't express publicly right now, but they are the sort of feelings that a person might sing. Could they help us imagine those feelings? Neil Patrick Harris sings the part of Paul Ryan.

Neil Patrick Harris

(SINGING) I knew some time ago you didn't want what I could give you anymore. I knew some time ago this was not the party that it was for us before. The truth sets in but the dream persists. I don't believe you're all white nationalists. It hurt to see you running to him. I hope in time you'll see right through him.

And I'll be there when the nightmare has ended. Yes, I'll be there in the light of day. Turn your back on that troll you befriended. Then come on back to me when you're ready for a better way. I know he's what you want. I know he says the things that make your passions flare. I know he's fun and all. Maybe I'm no fun, but it's because I truly care. It's only for your sake that I endorsed. I'm sure you could tell it was completely forced. Now the guy is calling me a wussy. I wish I could grab him by the lapels and tell him--

I'll be there to pick up all the pieces. I'll be there, no matter what they say. Cut him loose and don't let him near your nieces. Then come on back to me, because you'll be ready for a better way. Cut Medicare. A better way! More fossil fuels! A better way! Social Security privatization! Get the poor off welfare for good. Defund Planned Parenthood. Gay marriage, abortion, and gun control are all unconstitutional. Your conservative ideals, no spending tastes as good as a balanced budget feels. And I'll be there with policies a plenty. Yes, I'll be there rising above the fray. You'll see me one fine day in 2020. At least, I hope you will. God, I hope there's still a better way.

Ira Glass

Neil Patrick Harris. The orchestrator and music director for our song was Stephen Oremus. Which leads us to Act 1, Party in the USA.

Act One. Party in the U.S.A.

Ira Glass

One way to track the changes in the Republican Party and understand the split inside the party is to look at immigration. Obviously, it was Donald Trump's biggest issue during the primaries. There was the wall. There was the ban on Muslims. He even opposed certain forms of legal immigration, like the H-1b visa program.

Remember that guy, Avik Roy, the one you heard a little earlier who advised Marco Rubio and Rick Perry and Mitt Romney during their presidential campaigns? Avik Roy believes that immigration is the issue that is deciding Republican presidential primaries now. He says that he watched two of his candidates, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, get into situations where Republicans simply would not forgive them because of their positions on immigration. They were seen as soft. Rubio would get booed at grassroots events. Perry went from being the frontrunner in the Republican primaries, back in 2011. He was far ahead of the other candidates, in fact, but got knocked out of first place after a debate on September 22 that year, where Romney attacked Perry on this issue, and Perry was booed.

Avik Roy

The crowd booed, and overnight, Rick Perry went from first to fifth in the race. What was remarkable about that was that Rick Perry in every other way was a rock-ribbed conservative, on every other issue. But because of that one issue, immigration, the equation flipped and the voters went with Romney over Perry. He was sunk.

Ira Glass

So immigration is this urgent, emotional issue for much of the Republican Party these days. But why? The facts on the ground on this issue are not changing dramatically. There is not a big surge of new immigrants into the country all of a sudden. As we talked about last week on our show, illegal immigration has been flat since 2009. Legal immigration has fallen in the last decade. So why is this the issue now? Why not the deficit, or the slow economic recovery, or the squeeze on the middle class, or taxes? Like, why a wall?

All this year, when our producer Zoe Chace was at Trump rallies and Republican events around the country, she would ask voters why is this your issue? Did you lose your job to a foreigner? Do you live in a place that's been negatively impacted by immigrants? And people were like, no. It's hard to understand how this became the issue for so many people this year. And then, in July, when Zoe was at the Republican National Convention, she met somebody. And she heard about a place that gave her a better sense of why.

Zoe Chace

The person is Bobby Benson. The place is Minnesota. I first met Bobby at a barbecue at the convention, right outside the arena. He was drinking beers at a picnic table with the rest of the Minnesota delegation. And he'd brought along his best friend, Scott. These two grew up together in Hugo, Minnesota.

They used to have similar views but they've split recently. Scott's saying stuff that drives Bobby crazy. For instance, they disagree on that thing that's splitting the party, the main plank of Trump's platform-- immigration. Scott addresses the whole picnic table.

Scott

The wall's coming. And who's going to pay for it, everybody? Mexico!

Zoe Chace

Your friend just choked on his beer.

Scott

I know.

Zoe Chace

Bobby basically does a spit take. He's anti-wall.

Bobby Benson

I guess I just believe that America is for everyone. And the symbolism of a wall is just-- it's not me.

Zoe Chace

Scott, Bobby points out, had a wall around his house when they were kids. So maybe that's why he loves it so much.

Bobby Benson

You should have seen this guy's house growing up. He had a nine-foot fence. I'm not lying at all. A nine-foot wooden fence. You couldn't even see between the slats. I'm not lying at all!

Scott

They just wanted us to be safe and secure.

Zoe Chace

Bobby's very Minnesotan to me, what I have in my head as Minnesotan, anyway. He's got this round, pleasant face. He can't handle hot sauce or anything spicy. He actually says "I don't like anything with flavor." And he's really, really nice. He doesn't like to disagree or call people out. This has put him in a hard position lately. The GOP just wrote "build a wall" into its platform. Which means Bobby's views on immigration are in no way represented at this convention. It's uncomfortable for him, because he loves being a Republican, like really loves it. He's got school spirit. This should be a fun party for him, but he's feeling weird about it.

Bobby's friends go into the arena. We stay outside and watch Newt Gingrich on this huge television screen. He's scrupulously listing all the terrorist attacks committed by Muslims over the past 37 days.

Newt Gingrich

Let me refresh your memory.

Zoe Chace

And that's when Bobby spills what's bothering him. He's like, "speaking of Muslims, there is a large Somali population in St. Cloud, Minnesota," right near where Bobby lives.

Bobby Benson

And people are furious. It's insane up there. I feel so bad.

Zoe Chace

He's dodging the mic at first, but then he tells me this upsetting story. A few months ago, Bobby was at an Applebee's in Coon Rapids. It's like an hour away from St. Cloud. And this hate crime unfolded right in front of him.

Bobby Benson

This woman, this-- I don't know if she was Somali-- this African woman was with two of her friends and their children, just minding their business. And they happened to be speaking Somali or whatever language. And this other white woman and her husband took offense to it and just started cursing at them in the restaurant, like "speak English," "you're awful," this, that. And one thing leads to another.

And the management in Applebee's, great people, they kicked the angry couple out. And they're working on that. And the woman has one of those big beer glasses and just sloshes it in her face. And again, strictly because a group of people were not speaking English. And then she sets her drink down. They start walking out, and she picks up her drink and smashes it in the woman's face. And then just pandemonium erupts. The kids are crying.

Zoe Chace

The African woman's face was cut up and bloody from the glass. The incident made the news. Lots of people heard about it and talked about it. What happened that night was horrifying enough, but what really started upsetting Bobby was the conversation about it afterwards. Some people around him were siding with the woman who smashed the glass, not the victim.

Bobby Benson

Talking to other people about it, they say simple things like "well, you know, she could have just been speaking English." And it's like, "oh, well, they could've just left well enough alone." It's like, no!

Zoe Chace

Every time I asked Bobby to explain who exactly was talking this way, Bobby would squirm in his seat and hold his breath like a kid scared to tattle tale. Like he was being disloyal.

Bobby Benson

I have to choose my words very carefully. A lot of them are my friends and they're like good people. I know people who-- I'm trying to think of the most-- no, well, can we pause this for a second.

Zoe Chace

Basically, he doesn't want other Republicans in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to think he thinks they're being racist. These are his friends and family he's talking about. He let me start recording again.

Bobby Benson

I don't know. You understand where I'm at, the precarious, wanting to be-- I definitely don't want to have it out there like, "look, this is Bobby Benson saying these people are wrong." Even though they're wrong, I don't--

Zoe Chace

And just why?

Bobby Benson

Because I want to be part of steering the party, at least at a local level, to a better place. You can't change things if you're not at the table.

Zoe Chace

And that's what Bobby wants to do. He wants to change things in his party. I've been looking to understand better how Republicans were dividing over this immigration stuff. And here were Bobby and Scott and this whole city of Republicans who used to mostly agree on stuff. And now these Republicans have ended up on opposite sides of a wall.

Bobby told me he started freaking out about this exactly one year ago. It was in July of 2015 at a town hall meeting in St. Cloud.

Tom Emmer

And I wish all of you guys would give him a big hand here at Aces.

Zoe Chace

This is Bobby's local congressman, Tom Emmer. They're at the Aces Bar in downtown St. Cloud. The room is packed. People are squished in around the bar. This is one of many town halls Emmer does regularly all over the district. And it's going normally, a little awkwardly, till this guy says "I think most of us are here to find out how you feel about assimilation of immigrants." Assimilation of immigrants. The congressman is confused, so the questioner clarifies.

Man

We did not ask for those Somalis. Nobody asked us if we, in St. Cloud, want those Somalis. And we understand that social groups, like the Lutheran social service and the Catholic charities, they're dumping them in areas like St. Cloud. OK, and so the question is, how many more are coming? We didn't ask for these people. Everybody that you read about is talking about this. So that is a main issue in this city. There is no control. The people have no control over any immigration. The mayor doesn't. I don't know.

Zoe Chace

Congressman Emmer is like, what are you even talking about it? If someone's here legally, you don't get a say in whether they come into your city. And he fires a warning shot at the implicit racism here against Somalis, as if to say "don't go further down this road, you guys."

Tom Emmer

And if you're asking me how I feel about immigrant populations who are in this country legally, and who are actually trying to find a better way for themselves and their families, I support it wholeheartedly. I mean, the Germans had the same problem when they came over. The Polish had the problem. The Chinese had the problem.

Man

They did it on their own, though.

Man

We have a different problem. They didn't come to subvert the Constitution.

Man

You're not addressing the idea that they're not being assimilated. The other--

Tom Emmer

I'm going to tell you, the Somalis, according to the measurements that have been used over time, are some of the fastest-assimilating populations that we've had.

[GROANING]

Man

Oh, you gotta be kidding me.

Zoe Chace

There are Somalis in the room too.

Somali Man

I hear all the time the word "assimilation." I feel myself assimilated.

Zoe Chace

I speak English. I have a job. I have a family. I drive the same streets every day, just like you. What's the thing that's missing? You should not be afraid of Muslims here.

Somali Man

If you guys have any questions, anything to talk about, come to us. We'll answer all your questions. We will address your fears. But I don't think there's nothing we have to fear in America.

Zoe Chace

Some people in the room don't buy it. They push back and demand a vote on refugees. Emmer pushes back too.

Tom Emmer

I'm going to say it out loud-- when you move to a community, as long as you are here legally, I am very sorry but you don't get to slam the gate behind you and tell nobody else that they're welcome. That's not the way this country works. And if we're going to talk about--

I didn't think it was a problem until somebody I knew really well, because they got upset--

Zoe Chace

This is Tom Emmer talking about that night.

Tom Emmer

They said "it sounds like you're telling us. You're not listening to us."

Sue

We also work hard, and we also pay our taxes. And we also have kids to raise and go to school. And there's a huge economic burden placed on us now. And I think part of the fear-- some of you talked about our fear-- is that we don't feel in control of what's happening in our city. It is out of our control. Where is our say on what happens to our schools? I don't know that you've heard us. I feel you told us.

[APPLAUSE]

Tom Emmer

And I thought I had been listening all night. So I stopped, because then I thought, "this is a problem, because this person is not that way."

Zoe Chace

Say what you mean, "this person is not that way." What does that mean?

Tom Emmer

They're reasonable. They listen. They're compassionate. They have definite, strong views, right? Their views are much like mine. I've known them for a long time. And this person was clearly frustrated, so I stopped. And I said, "I apologize. What is it that you would like your congressman to do?"

Sue

You're our only chance.

Tom Emmer

For what, Sue? What is it that you want?

Sue

OK,

Tom Emmer

What is it that want from me?

Sue

I think I speak for a lot of people. I think the city of St. Cloud needs a breather. And we need to assimilate with the people that are--

Tom Emmer

What does that mean? What does that mean?

Sue

It's a break on the influx for a period of time, so we could take a little breather.

Tom Emmer

Here's the thing, your last statement, though, "take a little breather."

[SCATTERED APPLAUSE]

You guys, could you just hold on. Say it out loud. Are you suggesting that no more immigrants should be allowed to come to St. Cloud?

Sue

A moratorium for a short time.

Woman

For the whole United States!

Man

The whole United States, yes.

Tom Emmer

All right. All right, here's the thing. All I can do is respond as open and honest as I can, Sue. That's not something that I can do. That's not something that our constitution says that we do with people who are--

That was the first time that I think I realized that even good people, really good people, because I know this person. This person is not a xenophobe, not a racist. I know this person for several years.

Zoe Chace

This was a big moment for Tom Emmer. This is when he understood two surprising things. First, his voters want a ban on Muslims. They want no more Somali immigrants coming to their town. And second, the voters who want this, they aren't fringe weirdos. These are people he knows, and likes, and respects.

Some background here. There are a lot more Somalis in town than there used to be, over a short period of time. 15 years ago, there were only a handful of Somali residents in St. Cloud. Now there are approximately 10,000, about 5% of the St. Cloud metro population, which is 190,000. But still, almost 90% of St. Cloud is white, majority Catholic or Lutheran. It was and still is, relatively speaking, a monolithic place. People up there are always saying this thing. "Yeah, this place used to be called White Cloud, because it was so white." A place that was closed off and suspicious of outsiders. Now there's this whole big new group of Somalis there too.

The reason Somalis came to St. Cloud is because there was civil war and famine in Somalia 25 years ago, which forced people into refugee camps, mostly in Kenya. The US government contracts with different non-profits that specialize in refugee resettlement. One of those is based in St. Paul, with an office in St. Cloud. And so a lot of the refugees end up in towns and cities in Minnesota after years spent in a camp.

The Aces Bar town hall back in 2015 felt like a dress rehearsal of the anti-immigration feelings that fuel the Trump campaign. They were calling for the Muslim ban before he was.

It was hard at first to get the long time residents of St. Cloud to talk about when did they first start to resent the growing population of Somalis in their town. It's a sensitive and awkward thing to confess. Some people hung up on me. I was thrown out of a meeting. I finally got some answers from Carol Rupar, head of the County Republican Party. She kindly did some research, printed out some old emails, and marched into Caribou Coffee with a stack of papers for our interview. She had a time line.

Carol

OK, well, I looked back at the first information that I had where this started. And I wrote down some thoughts on that.

Zoe Chace

Anti-refugee resettlement feeling.

Carol

When this whole thing started.

Zoe Chace

According to Carol, it started in 2013, when the Islamic Center of St. Cloud tried to build this mosque/community center on Clearwater Road. This would be the fourth mosque in town, but the location was pretty controversial.

Carol

It was a residential area, and that if they were going to build this big complex, that was going to change the whole-- I mean, there's a lot of traffic on Clearwater Road.

Zoe Chace

Carol says she was not involved in opposing the mosque. She just knew some people who were. And those people formed a little group. They started calling themselves St. Cloud Citizens for Reasonable Zoning. And their complaints about it were, in part, all the normal things you hear in a zoning hearing-- traffic, congestion, "when I bought my house I didn't know about or want this kind of thing."

When the time came for the hearing, 300-odd people showed up at the city council meeting. It was a contentious night. Lots of Somalis and non-Somalis showed up, with big signs for and against.

Moderator

Please try to remember that the religion of this group is not the issue tonight.

Man

Mr. President.

Moderator

Sit down, please.

Man

Your statement--

Moderator

If you would like to get in line, get in line. There's people waiting to speak.

Zoe Chace

The whole meeting was bitter enough that by the end of the night, the Islamic Center had withdrawn its proposal. In fact, they said they could find a better place for it. They did, and it exists today. Out of this organizing against the mosque, some people in this group decided to keep meeting. It was like after being in that room together and actually getting what they wanted, they realized, "oh, lots of us feel this way. We should stick together." St. Cloud Citizens for Reasonable Zoning morphed into another group-- Peace in St. Cloud.

Carol

And it was in July of 2015 when the situation started ramping up, according to what I could come up with.

Zoe Chace

Yeah.

Carol

And the residents in the area were feeling intimidated by the behavior. One quiet Sunday afternoon, there were a group of Somali women they described as a mini parade. On three occasions that afternoon, just parading through, making loud noises, taking pictures, and so that some of the little old ladies in the area got intimidated by that.

Zoe Chace

I tried to run this down. It seems like it might have just been a handful of people out for a walk. People in the group were noting all sorts of situations where suddenly they, white people, were in the minority. And they didn't like it. White kids were outnumbered by Somali kids in music class, four or five to one. Someone in the group actually counted them up.

Someone in the group described going by Schmidt Park and seeing 20 to 30 Somali boys on the basketball court, mothers and kids, and quote, "no white people." This person wrote, "the entire area looked and felt taken over. It was eerie."

Carol

They also found-- one gentleman found some Somali boys in his garage and going into neighbor's garages. And so that did not sit well. So that's when they called a neighborhood discussion, from what I understand. OK, and they said look, "you know, there's an awful lot of these people here. We need to get together and do something. We feel that our neighborhood is being taken over."

Zoe Chace

Carol and most people I talked to insist this is not about race. I heard this over and over. "It's not about race." They say it's about money. How much are the refugees costing taxpayers? What's the drain on our county and on our school? That was the issue the group Peace in St. Cloud got organized around. Can we see an audit of how much is being spent on these Somalis?

Carol

I feel that they are reasonable people with legitimate concerns. And they have a right to find out what this is costing. They have a right to find out how this works, because they just do. And what I got from it is that people felt they had no say in this, that here this whole group of people from a different culture descends on the town and it's changed forever. And Governor Dayton has made the comment at least four times that, "Well, if you don't like it, you can leave." Well, no. I wouldn't leave.

Zoe Chace

That same month as the intimidation parade and the basketball court was the town hall, where they asked their congressman, Tom Emmer, for a ban on Muslims moving to St. Cloud, and he told them, "No, that's un-American." Soon enough, someone stepped forward saying, "No, no, no. That's perfectly American." This local opinion writer for The St. Cloud Times, a woman named AJ Kern, started going around, talking to Republican groups, gearing up to run for Congress to challenge Tom Emmer over this issue. She starts calling for a moratorium on refugees coming to Minnesota and to the US.

AJ Kern spent time in Iran in the '70s, and she wrote some opinion pieces about how potentially dangerous Muslims can be. The Peace in St. Cloud group asked her to speak with them about life in Muslim countries. Kern officially announced her candidacy in February of 2016. In her speeches, she talked about the terrorist attacks happening in France and Belgium, the one in San Bernardino, the Syrian migrant crisis. She warned there is no way for the US or foreign governments to vet which refugee might be a terrorist.

Aj Kern

If there's no government office in Syria, with a computer in some corner office that has a database to say who each Muhammad is-- was there one in Somalia? It's the same war-torn terrorist hotbed country.

Zoe Chace

That's from her announcement speech at the Pickled Loon, a bar in downtown St. Cloud. Bobby, my Minnesota Republican worrier from the convention, he went to some of her events, and they disturbed him.

Bobby Benson

She told this imaginary story to everyone. And it was just-- it was an older crowd. And so it was "imagine your granddaughter comes home now one day from school, and she says, 'Grandma, I'm in love with my new boyfriend. He's right here. He's little Muhammad.'" And I immediately start like-- But then she went on, saying, "well, what happens if they fall in love and they get married? Are they going to have a Christian wedding or are they going to have a Muslim wedding?" And the people there were like, "oh my god, what kind of wedding would they have?" And then she just took it up a notch and said, "what happens when little Muhammad and your granddaughter have children of their own? And they're Muslim now, and so Muslims-- genital mutilation is part of their culture. And so what are you going to do when little Muhammad wants to do that to your great-grandchildren?"

And not all of the group, but when some of the groups were like, oh my gosh, I don't know what I'll do. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. That's when I was like, wow, this is an issue. This line of thinking is an issue.

Zoe Chace

Kern ended up losing the sixth district congressional race to Tom Emmer. It wasn't even close. But in Stearns County, where most of St. Cloud is, she won by 77 votes. That's about as big a divide as you can get between two Republican candidates. About 3,500 people voted. Carol Rupar, head of the Republican Party in St. Cloud, the one who met with me in Caribou Coffee and told me about the mosque, she did not vote for AJ Kern in the primary. But she thinks she understands what Kern's supporters were drawn to. They're anxious about things changing too fast.

Carol feels the same way. She's lived in this area all her life. She grew up on a farm. Today, she's a realtor. And she does this thing. When she wants to say something even slightly controversial, she does this grimace. Like, "hmm, I don't know, but maybe." That's the face she gives me when she tells me this story to explain what motivates the Peace in St. Cloud group.

Carol

Well, and I had a little granddaughter-- have a little granddaughter. When she was three, she was at Crossroads. And there's that little play area.

Zoe Chace

Crossroads is a mall in St. Cloud.

Carol

And her mother and a friend were chatting, and they let the kids play in this area. And so my little granddaughter-- and she's a blue-eyed blonde. And she was about three. And so this little boy was talking to her, and nice. So no problem. He was a little Somali boy. All of a sudden, he grabbed her around the neck and shoved her head into the wall. And she had a lump on the side of her head, like you took a baseball or a softball and cut it in half. She had this lump on the side of her head. She had to go to the emergency room. But that's behavior that we haven't seen.

Zoe Chace

That felt new to you, even though those are three-year-olds, right?

Carol

Right, I know. But she was told that-- well, this little boy was probably four or five, but that is not normal behavior that a child would do, that it's learned behavior. I don't know if it is or not. So now, after that, that was the end. They were never allowed to go back. She never let them play in that play area again.

Zoe Chace

You're worried. You're worried that things are changing.

Carol

Yeah, so I think that's it. When people see things that are not what they're used to, that's scary. I think the Peace in St. Cloud group is trying very hard. They want peace in here, in St. Cloud, but don't run over us. We're here, and we like it the way it is. So don't change it.

Zoe Chace

Of course, there were other ways for her to think about this incident at the mall. Like, this kid is emotionally disturbed. He had a bad day. There's something upsetting at home. Kids just hit each other sometimes. She could have concluded any of those things rather than "we're being run over by Muslim immigrants who behave differently than we do." One reason that's where she went was that this was the explanation that was emerging all around her. People were talking about Muslim immigrants at meetings, on her e-mail, on Facebook, and at talks that were popping up in the area.

This was another new development in St. Cloud. Central Minnesota was becoming a place where speakers were coming, speakers who spread the word about their perceived threat of Muslim immigration. Three years ago, 2013, Carol had gone to one of these talks in Little Falls, just outside St. Cloud. It was sponsored by the Central Minnesota Tea Party. She even bought the book written by the speaker, Brigitte Gabriel. It's called Because They Hate. She has not read all of it.

Ira Glass

Zoe Chace. Coming up, Zoe goes to one of those meetings, where they talk about Muslim immigrants, and she meets an elected official who believes that Sharia law has already taken over American cities. That's in a minute, from Chicago Public Radio, when our program continues.

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Today's program, Will I Know Anyone at This Party?

So if you're just tuning in, we've been talking about how the Republican party is changing this year. Lots of Republican voters apparently are not so excited about the old Republican stuff, like shrinking the size of government and having free trade. Instead, this year, they are excited about cracking down on immigration. Zoe Chace is doing a story about St. Cloud, Minnesota, which is one of the front lines of this conflict in the party.

In her reporting, Zoe went to a talk-- they have lots of talks like this out there-- about the dangers of Muslim immigration to the United States. We pick up her story from there.

Zoe Chace

One of the repeat speakers on the circuit is a local guy named Ron Branstner.

Ron Branstner

First off, what we want to do is we want to stand up. We always say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Crowd

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

Zoe Chace

Ron Branstner, he's kind of bumbling and informal, but he does not hesitate to get up in front of a crowd and claim his authority on how immigration works.

Ron Branstner

There is a movement that is going throughout the United States to try to change our culture, try to change who we are.

Zoe Chace

He spent time in California, where he volunteered as a Minuteman along the US-Mexico border to help spot people crossing illegally. He lives in the St. Cloud area. He has a super regular job in which he deals with the public, so doesn't want me to say what that is. He's become a sort of traveling prophet. He warns about the bad things that will happen to your town when the new group of immigrants come. He used to do these presentations about Mexicans, but as immigration from Latin America slowed and refugee resettlement increased in Minnesota, it seems he picked up a Quran and swapped out Mexicans for Muslims.

I saw him in person at a meeting in Aberdeen, South Dakota, which isn't far from the Minnesota border.

Ron Branstner

So what you see now and what you see five years from now, you're not going to recognize the state.

Zoe Chace

Ron Branstner is where a lot of the members of the Peace in St. Cloud group get their ideas. He has a lot of theories, a lot of slides. I'm going to sum up those theories in three parts.

One, refugees are costing you money. Branstner is very specific about this. It's costing taxpayers $14,000 per immigrant.

Ron Branstner

You are not contributing to the United States at all. You are a welfare case.

Zoe Chace

Two, nonprofits are getting rich off bringing refugees into Minnesota. This is something I heard from a lot of people. I also heard repeatedly that there is no transparency, no audit, no one has any idea how they're tax money is spent by non-profits on refugees.

Ron Branstner

And it's a moneymaker beyond anything. It's the largest industry, probably, in the world, moneywise.

Zoe Chace

Three, and this is the one that really riles people up, as soon as enough Muslim refugees get to your town, they will institute Sharia law as the law of the land.

Sharia is Islamic religious law as derived from the Quran and other religious texts and scholarship. It's not an all spelled out thing, like the Ten Commandments. Branstner says women will become second-class citizens, non-believers will be killed. Basically, Central Minnesota becomes part of the caliphate.

Ron Branstner

Because they did a study and a large percentage of the new immigrants in this country want Sharia law. I studied the Quran every day for two hours. I know the Quran. I know Islam. Sharia law does not believe in man-made laws. It's against the religion. All laws come from their god. If you go outside of their laws in Sharia, you will be considered apostate and you will die.

Zoe Chace

Ron concludes his talk by explaining Hillary Clinton has taken an oath that she will punish anyone who speaks ill of Islam when she is president.

Ron Branstner

I want to thank Aberdeen for everything!

Zoe Chace

OK, this presentation seems to be pretty effective with the people in this room in Aberdeen. They really want information. This feels like information. 200-odd people in there, most of them applaud and put money in the basket. There are a few people who aren't buying it. One woman runs out in tears yelling, "you're crazy."

Woman

You are really crazy!

[CHEERING]

Zoe Chace

At one point, an American Indian stands up to address the crowd saying, "You are all illegal immigrants."

[LAUGHTER]

The entire room burst out laughing. Somehow, this joke works for everyone. Although, of course, it's not a joke.

I want to say clearly here the overall message of Ron Branstner's presentation is not true. He's right that the refugee resettlement program is a federal program. Locals don't have a say in it. But St. Cloud taxpayers are not getting screwed by this program. Ron's claim that each immigrant costs taxpayers $14,000 comes from this widely discredited study on the cost of the amnesty, which, anyway, is a separate issue.

The economic consensus is that in the long run, immigrants do not cost taxpayers money. Yes, they use government services. That's generally offset by the taxes they pay and the fact that their presence expands the economy. It is true that refugee resettlement programs often put a strain on hospitals and schools initially, because they aren't necessarily prepared for the influx. Interpreters, for example, do cost St. Cloud's county an increasing amount of money, about $250,000 in the last year. But this is out of an annual budget of $54 million. As for the nonprofits who settle refugees in Minnesota, they get $2,025 per refugee from the State Department. Most of that, they spend on the refugees.

In this hotel ballroom in Aberdeen, South Dakota, people aren't interested in a debate over the economics of immigration. This is a conversation about fear. The most memorable conversation I had was with this state rep Al Novstrup. He's been in state government for 14 years, and he came to this meeting to get more information on Sharia law potentially taking over his city. Like it has other places, he says.

Like where?

Al Novstrup

Dearborn, Michigan?

Zoe Chace

Have you seen that happen there?

Al Novstrup

I haven't been to Dearborn, Michigan.

Zoe Chace

From my perspective, as a national reporter, there's still the Constitution. There's no Sharia anywhere.

Al Novstrup

You don't think there's Sharia anywheres in the United States?

Zoe Chace

Correct.

Al Novstrup

I think you need to read more.

Zoe Chace

I do read.

Al Novstrup

You don't think there's Sharia any place in the United States? You don't think-- wow. OK. You don't think there's Sharia? I'm just blown away. We're living on two different planets.

Zoe Chace

Sharia is a really big talking point in pushing for a moratorium on refugees. The mayor of St. Cloud, Dave Kleis, told me he heard that rumor about Dearborn so many times he finally picked up the phone and called a member of Dearborn city council-- the city is about 40% Arab American-- and double-checked. Sharia law does not govern Dearborn or anywhere else in the United States.

Another talking point, the weirdest one, Somalis are systematically ruining rental properties by either trying to plant crops inside their apartments or raise fish in their bathtubs. I heard this in Minnesota and South Dakota both, the same basic story. This is how this movement works. It looks homegrown and grassroots in a hotel ballroom with xeroxed handouts, but all the things Branstner talks about-- Sharia, multiple wives multiplying the demographic changes, the Muslim Brotherhood plan to take over the government-- there is a national movement of people repeating these things all over the country and they're all saying the same thing. They feed off each other.

Nationally, a major group pushing the same anti-Muslim talking points, it's called ACT for America. It has local chapters in many states, kind of built off the Tea Party. Peace in St. Cloud recently morphed into an ACT for America chapter. One of the members just told me. ACT for America coordinates much of its work with this thinktank in DC, called the Center for Security Policy. The Southern Poverty Law Center now classifies both as hate groups.

What this means is that if you're someone who lives in St. Cloud, or Wilmar, or Aberdeen, and you're worried about a mosque coming to your neighborhood, or a random parade going by weirds you out, and you google, say, "mosque, refugees, zoning," there is a whole web of anti-Muslim information sources out there, ready to respond to you. Like the blog Refugee Resettlement Watch, Creeping Sharia, all informed by the work of ACT for America and the Center for Security Policy. And then there you are-- you have a connection to speakers, and tactics, and talking points. It's this interconnected web of misinformation.

Then there's this national speaker.

Donald Trump

And then I looked at poll numbers. And I don't mean polls where I'm winning. Those numbers I like looking at. These numbers I hated to look at.

Zoe Chace

Here's Donald Trump announcing his Muslim ban idea back in December in South Carolina.

Donald Trump

25% of those polls-- and this was from the Center for Security Policy, a very highly respected group of people who I know, actually--

Zoe Chace

The Center for Security Policy, the group that works with ACT for America.

Donald Trump

25% of those polls agreed violence against Americans is justified as Muslims. 25%. 51%-- 51%, highly respected number of polling groups, want to be governed according to Sharia. You know what Sharia is.

Zoe Chace

These poll numbers have been discredited. And groups like the Center for Security Policy weren't just giving talking points to Donald Trump. They had people on Ted Cruz's campaign. And they fed the same ideas to speakers in little towns and cities like St. Cloud. This created a receptive audience for any political candidate making those talking points.

The Somalis in town or not just passively watching the white people fight among themselves about Muslim refugees, of course. There are also small organized groups trying to push a different message in St. Cloud about new immigrants. They have speakers too. You can get really busy in St. Cloud, actually, going to speakers and panels on both sides of this thing.

Ayan Omar

My name is Ayan Omar, and I am a Somali refugee Muslim American.

Zoe Chace

I met Ayan Omar at this interfaith dialogue meeting at St. Joseph's Church in St. Joseph, Minnesota, 15 minutes away from St. Cloud. She does these panels where she goes around to churches and tells her story of being a Somali Muslim refugee in America. Ayan's intense. She's 28, bright white hijab, dark red lipstick. When she does these panels, she takes questions. And the people in the room write them down on a piece of paper so that they're anonymous and pass them to the front. The questions are remarkably candid. Father Peter Meyer reads them out.

Father Peter

I've been told by several reliable sources that Muslims believe that people that are not Muslim are to be destroyed. This makes me fearful. Please help me understand.

Ayan Omar

OK, so I was raised in the way that the Quran says-- "if you take one life, it's as if you've taken all of humanity."

Zoe Chace

Ayan goes on and explains the Five Pillars of Islam and does this demonstration for the room, how she prays five times a day.

Ayan Omar

At sundown and right before [INAUDIBLE]

Zoe Chace

She kneels and touches her head to the church floor. People stand on their tiptoes to see. The next question, "Are Muslims allowed to be polygamous? Do we have to pay for multiple wives?" Jama, people call him an elder in the Somali community, he takes this question.

Jama

I say, OK. Here, in the United States, we are allowed to have one wife. So we abide by the rule, and we have one wife. But--

Zoe Chace

The room tenses up.

Jama

As I learned here in the States, you can have one wife, but you can have five or six girlfriends.

Zoe Chace

Ayan is a teacher at a high school in town and she's the mother of a three-year-old. When she hears that people feel afraid of Muslims, she says, "I understand having a feeling. You can't argue with a feeling."

Ayan Omar

To those individuals who are afraid, or who feel threatened, or who feel that their world is shaking, you have a right to feel that way. You don't have a right to lash out. I tell my daughter this whenever she cries. I say, "It's OK to cry." And when she gets angry, "It's OK to be angry. Everyone gets angry. But you don't have a right to slam the doors."

Zoe Chace

The way she sees it is like St. Cloud is having a tantrum. And tantrums end. So she's patient. She's an optimist about St. Cloud. There are plenty of people in the city that don't feel this way at all. And for those who do, they just learned bad information. She can win them back by giving them good information.

Then, in September--

Newscaster

Breaking news out of St. Cloud tonight. The Crossroads Mall remains on lockdown after several people were stabbed.

Zoe Chace

On September 17, there was a stabbing at Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, same place actually that Carol's granddaughter got hit in the head. It was national news. You probably heard about it. Both presidential candidates have addressed it. It was a violent and awful act, this guy running around the mall with two knives, asking people if they're Muslim. Nine people ended up at the hospital. All were released by the next day. The guy who did it was Somali Muslim refugee American. He was killed by an off-duty police officer. Again, here's Ayan.

Ayan Omar

You know, it's funny. I was at the mall. I missed it by 15 minutes. I was shopping at Kohl's and I received a text message, just as I was checking out. "Hey, are you still at the mall?" I said, "No, I left. Sorry. If you wanted to go, maybe we can go some other time." She goes, "No, didn't you hear?" I said, "hear what?" She said, "Oh, there was a stabbing."

And I went online and I read it. And I remember thinking, oh, please, don't let it be a Muslim. Don't let it be Somali. Because I've been working so hard and creating a community. This, I don't need this. And then I found out. It was a heavy-hearted week, emotionally exhausting.

Zoe Chace

In St. Cloud, there were two ways to read the stabbing. For the people who wanted a moratorium, it was proof. Some people I'd been talking to for months were like, "I told you so. We knew it would come to this." To be clear, they were scared of violent extremism. One guy told me the day after the stabbing he applied for a carry license. For those on the other side, unity rallies, press conferences, Somali leaders in the area running around, giving interview after our interview, saying that guy does not represent all Muslims.

Newscaster

AM 1450, FM 1033, KNSI's Ox in the Afternoon.

Zoe Chace

Congressman Emmer went on talk radio right after the stabbing, trying to keep everyone calm on all sides.

Tom Emmer

If somebody commits an act, like we saw on Saturday night, it really drives a deep concern in the community-- fear.

Zoe Chace

He knows that his constituents who want a moratorium on Muslims now, they want it more than ever. The old Peace in St. Cloud/ACT for America group met up the week of the stabbing. So did AJ Kern's supporters. One of them tells me they're gearing up either for her next campaign or someone with the same message to replace Tom Emmer.

When I spoke with Emmer, he told me something like what Ayan might say. These are good people in his party who came under the influence of bad information. And you have to let them vent, and you have to listen, and then figure out what to do.

Tom Emmer

I can give you this. I think it went on far too long. I think nobody confronting this allowed it to grow past what people in St. Cloud are comfortable with and people within the Republican small group are comfortable with.

Zoe Chace

The local Republican Party, just like the national one, has to figure out where it's going to stand on this issue going forward. Are they going to be a party that welcomes immigrants, refugees, Muslims, or not? The problem for Emmer is, his constituents went from having no opinion on the Somalis to a really strong opinion. Once that switch has been flipped, once voters have decided they want Somalis out, it might be hard to flip it back.

I met up with Bobby again before I left St. Cloud, in the Coon Rapids IHOP. He's been in lots of those conversations already, including this one that summarizes the problem facing the party pretty succinctly.

Bobby Benson

I remember one time a guy stood up at one of the other meetings. And he's active in the party. He's one of the better volunteers in the area. Everyone loves him, but he just stood up and he said, "This is why we lose. Whether you're right or wrong, you're coming off extremely racist. And if you want to make an argument that the reason the refugees coming is bad is because economically this, that, the other, we'll have that conversation, but right now it sounds like refugees are bad because they're Muslims." And he was pretty passionate about it. He got up and left. And he said the right thing and I think he looked better for it. But everyone else was like, oh, wow. I can't believe he thought we were racist. We said we're not racist.

Zoe Chace

That guy got up and left. Bobby is still in it. He still goes to his local party meetings in a slightly different part of the state. I asked Bobby, is the Republican Party going to be more like you in the future or more Donald Trump? And he said, "I see that conflict as between old and young, and the younger people will win out." And in the long run, sure. The short run, though, it's going to be messy.

Ira Glass

Zoe Chace is one of the producers of our program. Act 2, Party Guy.

Act Two. Party Guy.

Ira Glass

So as we said at the beginning of the show, so many people in the Republican leadership seem like tragic figures this year, not so happy with their nominee Donald Trump but having to hold their tongues. Even as his poll numbers are now looking very, very bad, they have to stick by him. The head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, he has the job of holding the whole party together, including things like trying to get his nominee to play nicely with the house leader Paul Ryan and vice versa. That is clearly a thankless, grueling job.

We asked Broadway composer Michael Friedman, who did a political musical called Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, to imagine what Reince Priebus might be thinking but not expressing publicly. John Ellison Conlee sings the part of Reince Priebus.

John Ellison Conlee

The Speaker of the House calls and says, "Tell Trump I'm not speaking to him anymore." Then the candidate tweets [SNIFF] "Ryan's a traitor. Also, Miss Universe is a whore." A two-hour call to say, "Donald, please, just make an apology." Then Breitbart adds, "Just don't tick off the core constituency." Meanwhile, half the Republican leadership called to say, "We are shocked, shocked and appalled."

And I just smile. I'm a party guy. Smile, toe the party line. Smile, even when you don't know why. Fox News asks me "Is Donald Trump a good role model for the youth of today?" And I say, "You know, I think everybody is a role model in their own way." My biggest donor to The New York Times, "Reince Priebus should be fired!"

You want to know how it's going? Honestly, I'm tired, but I smile. I'm a party guy. Smile, toe the party line. Don't let 'em see you cry. On Monday night, my finance guy told The Washington Post, "The RNC is sinking fast and it's our own fault." On Tuesday, my director of communications said he wasn't sure if grabbing genitals was sexual assault.

The Wall Street Journal says, "Republicans in an all-out war," and late at night, I ask myself what were we even fighting for? Smile, you're a party guy. Smile, you can't say that I didn't try. Smile. I don't need your flipping thanks. Just don't blame me up when your country tanks.

You take whatever victories you can get. So I'm not pouring Bailey's in my cereal yet. Smile, whatever will be, will be. I'll still have the party, Reince and the party. The party and me.

Ira Glass

John Ellison Conlee, arrangements and musical direction for that song by Justin Levine.

Our program was produced today by Susan Burton and Zoe Chace. Our production staff for today's show, Dana Chivvis, Sean Cole, Neil Drumming, Emmanuel Dzotsi, Stephanie Foo, Chana Joffe-Walt, David Kestenbaum, Sarah Koenig, and Miki Meek, Jonathan Menjivar, Robyn Semien, Matt Tierney, and Nancy Updike. Research help from Lily Sullivan, Christopher [? Sutala, ?] and Benjamin [? Failan. ?] Music help from Damian Graf.

Special thanks today Kirsty Marone, Sally Jo Sorensen, Haji Yussef, Natalie Ringsmuth, Kathleen Virnig, Linda Radin, Paul Brandmire, Sue Ek, Matt Westland, Jeffrey Baum, and Giovanni Peri, Cindy Kent, John Esposito, Engy Abdelkader, David Neiwert, Mark Sizer, Jody Avrigan, Kalia Abiade, Kevin Genachowski, Robert Costa, Mark Leibovich, and Stephen Merritt.

Our website, thisamericanlife.org. This American Life is delivered to public radio stations by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. Thanks as always to our program's co-founder, Mr. Torey Malatia, who you know we hear from every week here at the end of our program. He told me he feels like he is just not getting enough airtime.

Rob Long

Someone write me a big speech. I don't know the words. You give me the words, but I want a big, big, big speech.

Ira Glass

I'm Ira Glass, back next week with more stories of This American Life.