on March 6th, 2015 No Comments
Until this week, I wouldn’t have associated radio personality Glenn Beck with compassion. And when Jim Doty, MD, director of Stanford Medicine’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education invited Beck to the Stanford campus, he realized the right-of-center author and provocateur might be a tough sell to his audience accustomed to guests such as the Dalai Lama and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
“Please trust me,” Doty tweeted last week.
Yet fireworks were absent from the nearly two-hour conversation, which ranged from Beck’s struggle with addiction to his Mormon faith and his passion for radio.
Beck came across as human, a man who had endured struggles, made mistakes and is striving to learn from them. He is a father and husband, who organizes charity efforts and volunteers in his church. He said he’s gone from a person for whom the audience size was just a measure of his success to a man who cares deeply about people and his audience members. He prays for humility and said he is not trying to be divisive.
“I spend a lot of time, at the end of my day, saying, ‘Okay, am I that guy? What could I have done better,'” Beck said. “You self-examine all the time and with that self-examination you grow. It’s good. I know who I am because I’m pushed up against the wall all the time.”
Americans share a certain set of principles in common, Beck said. The rift begins when people replace their principles with specific interests and policies.
“For example, if I said to you, ‘Do we torture?’,” Beck said. Nearly everyone would say no. But once threats from terrorists are introduced, the conversation becomes more divided.
“The left and the right have principles in common. We may disagree on interests, but we have to start anchoring ourselves in the principles.”