Back in America
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Back in America

Bryan Price in Back in America Podcast
Bryan Price

Listen to Back in America

In this episode, I talk with Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price about the current racial unrest, about meritocracy, the values, culture, and identity of this country.

We speak about the separation between the military and the government and of the current administration.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price is known for his published research on terrorism and counterterrorism. He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy in U.S. history, an M.A. in international relations from St. Mary’s University (TX), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.

Bryan and I talk about leadership — he is the Founding Executive Director at the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University.

During the interview, Bryan shared a story that exemplifies George Washington’s leadership skills, he then asked: “You can probably guess some individuals that that are in power today. What if they were the George Washington at that time? How differently would our country have a look like?”

I ask him if he thinks that the military will escort Donald Trump from the White House should the president loses the election and refuse to leave his office.

Bryan Price

In this episode, I talk with Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price about the current racial unrest, about meritocracy, the values, culture, and identity of this country.

We speak about the separation between the military and the government and of the current administration.

Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Price is known for his published research on terrorism and counterterrorism. He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy in U.S. history, an M.A. in international relations from St. Mary’s University (TX), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.

Bryan and I talk about leadership — he is the Founding Executive Director at the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University.

During the interview, Bryan shared a story that exemplifies George Washington’s leadership skills, he then asked: “You can probably guess some individuals that that are in power today. What if they were the George Washington at that time? How differently would our country have a look like?”

I ask him if he thinks that the military will escort Donald Trump from the White House should the president loses the election and refuse to leave his office.

For my guest, American is a dream, not a reality. Yet he believes that American is the greatest experiment of democracy that the world has ever known and that’s a worthwhile cause to fight for.

Book List

Alexis de Tocqueville — Democracy in America

David Lipsky — Absolutely American

Ron Chernow — Washington: A Life


Twitter @BryanPrice7

Top Mental Game


Bryan C Price 0:11

It wasn’t the institutions that were protecting us, because there were no institutions no one knew what a democracy was, like, you know, no offense to France. You know, no one knew what like that experiment was gonna be like over here. And so it depended on Who were those people at that time. Not to name any names, but you can probably guess some individuals that that are in power today. What if they were the George Washington at that time? How differently would our country have a look like I think a lot of Americans like to look back on the fact that we’ve enjoyed this experiment over time as because we’re Americans. And I look back at that seminal moment with Washington and I say, maybe we’re not good. Maybe we just got really lucky early on, and we had the right person at the right time to put us on this path. We’re not there yet. But I think the ideals are there. They’re worth fighting for.

Barak Obama 1:02

If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with one of them in real life.

Jon 1:16

Welcome to back in America, the podcast.

Stanislas Berteloot 1:26

Okay, I think we should be good and I’m also recording here has a backup so it’s all good.

I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America, a podcast where I explore The American’s identity, culture, and values. My guest today is a Retired Lieutenant Colonel, a Ph.D. and the Founding Executive Director at the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University. He spent the first half of a 20-year Army career in operational assignments as an Apache helicopter pilot, including combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2012–2018, he was an Academy Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and the Director of the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the U.S. Military Academy. He is known for his published research on terrorism and counterterrorism He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy in U.S. history, an M.A. in international relations from St. Mary’s University (TX), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. As the CTC Director, he was invited to testify in front of Congress and frequently briefed the nation’s top counterterrorism leaders. In 2019, he founded Top Mental Game LLC which provides professional coaching and mental skills training for elite high school, college, and professional athletes. I am delighted to welcome Lieutenant Colonel Bryan C. Price.

Bryan C Price 3:13

Thanks, Stan. Thanks for having me,

Stanislas Berteloot 3:15

It’s fantastic to be speaking with you, Bryan. And I have the feeling that you may be instrumental in my explorations of the American identity, culture and values. So let’s jump into it. Most Americans like sport and respect the troops, and you embody the two. In 2019 when you Top Mental Game, why did you choose to coach athletes?

Bryan C Price 3:40

Sure so I’ve been an athlete all my life. I grew up playing multiple sports as a kid, I played three sports in high school, I played football, basketball and baseball. And then when I went to West Point for college, I was I played division one baseball there and so When I came back to teach at West Point in the second half of my military career, I was a faculty member. But I was also able to serve as an assistant coach on the baseball team there too. And they had this great place there called the Center for enhanced performance, which provided a lot of sports psychology concepts to the division one teams and I felt like it’s a natural, you know, it’s one of my passions. Leadership is one of my passions. And sports is one of my passions and starting Top Mental Game was a way to kind of get back to both.

Stanislas Berteloot 4:33

Yeah, you get the best of both worlds, right. I was wondering what kind of leadership skills you think that you learn in your military career that you teach today to your civilian clients?

Bryan C Price 4:48

Sure, so um, I think the best way to kind of sum it up in terms of what were the leadership skills that I learned in the military that now I am providing to the students at Seton Hall The Senior Leadership Institute, essentially it kind of boils down to how do you be the best servant leader that you can be. And servant leadership is about, you know, I think the best kind of metaphor for it is in traditional kind of Leadership Studies in the past, like in the, you know, second half of the 20th century, you might think of a pyramid, right, where the workers are at the bottom employees, and then middle management and then up at the top are senior leaders, and I think both military and, you know, a couple of these other, you know, things that are other fields that work in leadership, the most effective leadership is actually servant leadership. And it’s where you inverse that triangle upside down. So that, you know, the senior leader is actually working when that person comes to work every morning, they’re working for their employees, not the other way around. And I think, you know, leading by example is obviously a characteristic trait of effective leadership in the military. And that’s what we’re trying to do with our students at Seton Hall.

Stanislas Berteloot 6:07

Let’s go back to the beginning of your own career and maybe your own life. As I mentioned, you dedicated your life to this country. And I’m very curious to hear how or who made you want to join the army? How old were you when you decided that this was going to be your life?

Bryan C Price 6:25

When I was a senior looking at different colleges, I wanted a place where I would be challenged. Money was also a, you know, a driving factor. And for those of you that don’t know, you know, you can go to the US Military Academy or the Naval Academy, or the Air Force Academy, and I don’t want to call it free because you have to pay back the time. You have to serve in the military for five or six years as an initial commitment. But I went to a bunch of different recruiting visits and the one place where I felt like Home like this was with me was West Point and the US Military Academy. And, you know, I knew I was going to be challenged. I knew that, like, I was not going to be a financial burden on my parents, it was an opportunity to play division one baseball. And as a kid, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in life. So I felt like, well, if someone’s going to tell me what to do for the next six years after graduation, you know, that would be I was okay with that to see if I could find my way. And the ironic thing was, I thought I was going to get out of the military after my initial commitment. And the joke was on me because 20 years later, I was still ended. I wouldn’t regret it for a second.

Stanislas Berteloot 7:41

What’s your best memory from that time?

Bryan C Price 7:44

It’s interesting because I could say the same thing about sports or what I’m doing now. I think the best memories always relate around the people in the military. You are obviously put in a crucible of several different moments where All of the veneers gets removed, right? And you are in a very stressful situation with people that you care deeply about. And so to me, it’s those moments when you are facing incredible odds and unbelievable adversity, but you’re doing it with people that you care about. And, you know, I could point to a ton of those moments. But that’s those are the moments and I can say the same thing about my experiences in sports or, you know, the academic world. That’s in Look, that’s one of the reasons why it’s, it’s well known that there’s such a strong bond with folks military. So people

Stanislas Berteloot 8:43

Well talking of people and talking of West Point. As I prepared this interview, I went to the website of the Academy and notice that they had published a note regarding the current events. I wondered if you saw it?

Bryan C Price 8:59

I did I have Yep. General Gerald Williams, that kind of made the rounds on the internet amongst graduates. And yes, I have seen it that I have in front of me.

Stanislas Berteloot 9:10

Good. Can I ask you to maybe share this letter or part of it with the audience?

Bryan C Price 9:17

Interestingly, it starts out with USMA, which is the acronym for the US Military Academy, and it says USMA teammates, which I think is very telling from a leadership perspective. It said As you are aware, our country is experiencing civil unrest. During these unsettling times, I want us to recommit to eradicating racism from within our ranks by treating all people with dignity and respect. We must show one another the kindness and compassion necessary to build cohesion and trust in our community. The oath to support and defend the Constitution binds us together as one team dedicated to defending our nation and upholding its values. We strive to embody these ideals and aspire to live by our core values of duty, honor and country. Every word, every action, and every attitude should uphold these values so that we may live and lead honorably. The Nation looks to West Point as an example of what is possible, but people from diverse backgrounds unite and aspire to honorable living. Consider how your words actions and attitudes impact other people. Are you building up others and making them feel valued? Are you strengthening trust within the team? Are you extending forgiveness and actively listening to other points of view? Are you inspiring others to greatness? If so, encourage others to do the same. If not, then choose to improve immediately must have the moral courage necessary to confront and solve problems with effective audits and empathetic dialogue that seeks solutions rather than sowing seeds of division and disunity. I am proud to serve alongside you as we pursue excellence while respecting the dignity of our teammates. Together, let us show the nation that they’ve trusted us as well. very respectfully, General Darrel Ray Williams.

Stanislas Berteloot 11:03

Wow. Wow.

So when I read those lines, I couldn’t help but try to read between those lines. On one hand, it felt like sort of a fluffy feel-good patriotic statement. On the other sentences such as, “consider how your words action and attitude impact the other” or “muster the courage necessary to confront on solving the problem with effective, honest and empathic dialogue” made me really wonder if we should look into this address as a message to the current administration. What do you make of it?

Bryan C Price 11:46

First off, I think the sentiment behind this, you know, reflects a lot of the military and specifically you know, the officer corps that comes out of the US Military Academy. You know, I think when you want to look at what right looks like in terms of race relations, about, you know, what a, as a close to meritocracy is you can kind of find West Point is one of those places where, you know, we like to think that it is representative of the entire country. There are cadets from all 50 states, there are cadets from every walk of life. We we are not there yet when it comes to ethnicity or gender. But those are important, you know, metrics for the administration in order to kind of get to and I think that it’s almost like a microcosm of the country, to be honest with you. And you know, all those things about when he talks about living honorably, and mustering the moral courage. I mean, those things are not, I will tell you, they’re not fluff to those that are at the Academy. Just to give you one quick anecdote And maybe you have heard of this or maybe not. But there is a there’s an honor code at West Point says that cadets won’t lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. And they are, they are serious about that. And so, you know, it’s not just about living honorably. But if you see someone else behaving in a way that is antithetical, whether it’s like cheating or stealing, it’s, it’s your duty to call that out. And if you don’t, and you get caught, and you knew about it beforehand, you also face consequences of potentially being removed from the Academy. So yeah, I thought it was a strong address by General Williams.

Stanislas Berteloot 13:39

And to my second point, do you think it’s a message for the administration?

Bryan C Price 13:46

Oh, I can say kind of categorically, like this message was not directed. externally. It was directed internally. To Yeah, but by no means was this directed out by any means. Now there’s, you know, could the administration apply some of this and maybe do it? I would. I would. I would concur with that. I think, not just the administration. I think, you know, any American or any corporation or any organization in the United States can benefit from that type of message in that type of sentiments. For sure.

Stanislas Berteloot 14:25

Okay. Well, I once again, want to ask the man of the military here, James Mattis, the former defense secretary described Trump’s as a threat to the Constitution. And he wrote that Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime, who does not try to unit the American people. He does not even pretend to try instead, he tried to divide us. So as a military man as a leadership expert, as a strategist. What is Trump doing?

Bryan C Price 15:01

Yeah, so this is one where I know the military is kind of conflicted in this. So first, let me kind of state. I have the utmost respect for General Mattis and what he’s done. In his career, I think has proven that he is he’s like, he’s a true kind of warrior scholar, and well respected by almost, I don’t know anybody that doesn’t respect General Mattis in the military, to put it that way. And there is a long line of in the military, you know, even dating back to like pre World War Two times of it trying to be as a political of an entity as possible. So, you will not find like in other countries, you will see, you know, the military kind of dabble in politics or try to do stuff behind the scenes. And in the military, at least in the US military. There’s a kind of an ethic where there is the commander in chief and there His civilian rule the military, and that’s respected. Afterwards, you know, once you retire, it’s interesting to see general officers. And this is a trend I know a lot of my colleagues have written out about, of what is the role of former general officers after they retire. When it comes to getting involved in politics and making comments. This is what I’ll say about General Mattis. You know, his military credentials are impeccable. He served in the administration. So he has a front row view of what went on. Now, you know, again, where how you feel about General Mattis, his comments, probably, you know, we’ll split along partisan lines. What I will tell you that is, I have no reason to doubt any of his words when it comes to his credibility,

Stanislas Berteloot 16:54

What kind of strategies is Trump playing?

Bryan C Price 16:57

I think right now, you know, obviously, this is a difficult time for any administration when it comes to the civil unrest that we’re facing the pandemic that’s going on, what’s happened to the economy, and our country is is deeply hurting. And then on top of all that you have a re-election coming up. And so, look, you know, when it comes to a strategy for all this, I think, you know, I would be hard-pressed to say that we have a strategy at this point for solving all those things. And, you know, it’ll be interesting to see what comes out in this election to see if whoever is going to be the next president, whether it’s going to be President Trump for a second term or president. Sorry, Vice President Biden is the new president. Whether or not they have a solution to solve some of this stuff. Lord knows we need it.

Stanislas Berteloot 17:52

Joe Biden, as predicted the military will escort Donald Trump from the White House should the president lose in November, and refuse to leave office. Is that even possible? Do you see the army stepping in and doing that?

Bryan C Price 18:07

The military, you know, even though the president is the commander in chief in terms of formal authority, we swear an oath as officers or we take the oath every time that we are promoted. And when you get the military, you know, you swear an oath not to the President, you swear an oath to defend and support the Constitution of the United States. And so, you know, in this case, if there is a, if the people vote in president, I’m sorry, Vice President five to be the president, then there should be a peaceful transition of power.

Stanislas Berteloot 18:42

So what you’re saying is that if it is not the case, the military will honor their oath to the constitution and will step in to make sure the Constitution is respected. And that ever happened in this toy?

Bryan C Price 18:56

Not that I know of in terms of presidents leaving or a president has lost an election and has had been forcibly removed from the White House.

Stanislas Berteloot 19:06

Knowing Trump, do you think that would be feasible?

Bryan C Price 19:12

He’s full of surprises. So look, I would hope that President Trump would understand the impact that that that move would have on a country kind of moving forward. And but he has been known to surprise us before. And so I hope that is not one surprise that he has left up his sleeve. I hope the process, you know, works itself out and it’s respected by both candidates. Right.

Stanislas Berteloot 19:42

So we mentioned the civil unrest and I’m wondering how you as a white American man, what you’ve personally learned from the conversation that this country has had about race and inequality.

Bryan C Price 19:59

It is Interesting. You know, I’ve had obviously a lot of different conversations with, with people since, you know, the unrest started. And I’ll say this, you know, what the two kind of biggest places that have shaped my, my own personal race relations are kind of to two mediums. One is the sports world. And the second is the military. And in both of those, and I think this is probably gets to like when you’re trying to aspire to achieve some larger goal bigger than yourself. And you are in those moments I talked earlier about about adversity and you know, having that veneer stripped away. Race doesn’t matter in those moments. You know, religion, ethnicity, sexuality doesn’t matter in those moments. And so it’s been really painful to watch what’s happened in this country, you know, in the past month. I’m a white male, right? I mean, when you look at the advantages that I’ve had over my lifetime, and you ask yourself, Is my successor the things that I have achieved, how much of that has been based on this system that has been built? On the flip side, you know, you ask yourself, Well, how do we make that system better, so that we are more equal and aspiring to those goals that, you know, our forefathers kind of talked about in terms of making this place? All we’re all men are created equal, you can obviously add women to that now. So it pains me, I think, what I have learned personally, in this whole thing, I don’t think that the average American particularly the average white person, has a very good understanding of what it’s like to grow up in this country. As a minority. In this case, we’ll just talk about black Americans. I certainly don’t have any clue of what that would be like. And I know I’ve listened to previous episodes and I know that you’ve had other people on here that have shown That experience, and it’s been kind of eye-opening to me. On the flip side, I would say that I also think that the average American has zero clue about the pressures and the adversity that an inner-city cop has to go through on a daily basis. And, you know, I was telling somebody the other day, like it’s very easy to get outraged these days. pick your poison. I’ll use the you know the terminology of the far right if you want to take a look at anarchists and looters and violent protesters doing horrific things and acting you know, horribly in a violent way. I’m not talking about the non violent protesters, then go flick on fox news right and you will probably see one or two clips that you know, even if you are on the left you look at you go oh my gosh, like this is this is horrible. Equally if you want to look at, you know, you’re the greatest hits album of police brutality and police doing horrific things to what You believe as ostensibly peaceful protesters, well then go click on CNN or another, you know, venue. And I don’t think that we’re getting the whole picture here. And to me, unless we get the folks that can articulate what that is like to be a black American living in this country in this day and age, and the folks that are, you know, on the front lines in law enforcement and articulating what they have to go through, you know, we got to get those two, two sides in a room and come up with a better solution. But the last thing I’ll say is, you know, I get asked a lot because I’m in the military, this question of kneeling and the flag, I was always brought up and raised of the flag, you know, represented the best of our country. You know, patriotism, you know, all of the values and ethos that kind of goes into being an American, not to mention that it is a reflection of those that have fought for our country in the past. Those have paid the ultimate sacrifice, you know, but last full measure of devotion. As President Lincoln said, If I am a young black American in this country, and I experienced racism and bigotry and prejudice, and all those things that are not what we are about as a country, you know, when a person looks at the fly, they might see something very, very different. Right. And I think it’s important to kind of have that conversation, of what that looks like. In the end. I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to this country. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve tried to do way more listening during this episode, then speaking, that I think that I don’t know if everyone is taking the same advice.

Stanislas Berteloot 24:44

And you’re thinking that these protests will lead to structural changes, or that they will slowly die out, and the things will continue the way they were before.

Bryan C Price 24:57

I don’t know. I’m 44 Just looking at like this compared to previous things, it feels different.

Stanislas Berteloot 25:05

How do you think they are different? You know, and you are a historian so…

Bryan C Price 25:11

yeah. So I’ll just give you a couple of anecdotes, which if you told me in 2019, that this would happen a year later, I would have told you, I can’t foresee that. If I would have told you that NASCAR was going to ban the Confederate flag at their events a year ago. You would have thought I was crazy. You know, I spent a lot of time in the south. You know, there’s a lot of military bases in the south. So I spent a lot of time in the Sun Belt and in the south, you know, and obviously, NASCAR is big down there. So, like, I was very surprised by that. And secondly, I don’t know if you’ve recently seen but the Marines have come out and have banned the use of the Confederate flag on any installation in you know, barracks on cars, and offices. And so, again, these are all kind of really interesting moves that I don’t think would have happened without these protests and without the outrage that occurred after George Floyd. Now, let me say this, you know, where does the pendulum end with some of these things, right. And so I am I don’t have any heartburn at all about removing Confederate General statues in town squares and that sort of thing. If you ask me about Gettysburg, I think they should remain at Gettysburg, because it’s a national battlefield National Monument. That’s the kind of place for those sorts of things. But on the on the statute question I am I have zero heartburn, with that stuff being removed. All of those things I would tell you is, I think, are good things. When you start talking about the more extreme versions of some of these things like their you know, defund the police is obviously a very Prominent subject. Again, I go back to my notion that I don’t think any, most of us have zero clues what it takes to be a police officer in the inner cities. And so this notion that we’re going to either remove police or, you know, completely change, and I’m sorry, not change, but remove that system of law enforcement and replace it with community activities, to be honest, I think is also a pipe dream. Do we need reform 100,000,000,000% but this gets back to my notion of like, those two sides need to kind of get an expert. So that those reasons I think that this is different from previous ones

Reform and training, maybe.

Yeah, hundred percent. You know, again, you know, it’s funny to look at some of the police forces that are in kind of suburbia, being outfitted with, you know, equipment that we were using in Iraq. You know, and What type of messages that set center folks will look, there are some places where the violence is at such a level where the police do need extra protection. And I’ve offered I’m all for that. I think both sides could benefit from a little reform in the situation.

Stanislas Berteloot 28:16

Earlier on, you talked about the values, which the flag represents, what are those values?

Bryan C Price 28:25

So, I mean, it kind of bleeds into the question of like, what is America?

Stanislas Berteloot 28:30


Bryan C Price 28:32

And, you know, I have a separate answer for that. But just to answer your specific question, you know, it’s things like freedom, opportunity, equality, I would also add kind of meritocracy to that. And again, these are all when I say they’re aspirational values. They are ideals that we strive for. I’m not saying that we are there yet. I don’t know if we’ll ever be there yet. Those are the things that I think what America stand for. You know, I talked earlier about you can flick, flick on the news and pick your poison, whatever, whatever you want to be outraged about, you can go find it. Look, there’s a ton of stories out there of Americans doing fantastic things that are not being amplified. And you know, it’s funny if you ever go to my social media feeds, you know, I used to be kind of a snarky

and so where should we find you?

I mean, I’m on Facebook at Bryan Price. If you want my business stuff, you can go take a look at I think on Instagram, on Instagram, Twitter, and where else you can go to Top Mental Game but if you want to go to like my personal stuff, it’s at you know, Brian price. And on Twitter, it’s @BryanPrice7. I used to be kind of snarky, and you know, I have a dry sense of humor. So I would kind of poke fun at stuff. And about six years ago, five years ago, I was like, man, there’s so much negativity on social media right now. And so I made a conscious decision to change up how I, what did I put out there to the world. And I started a thing. It’s called, I just called sports. So I find these fantastic, like tear-jerking, like emotional people’s stories about sports like that represent the best of us, like the best values that we want, taking care of each other, sacrificing for others, you know, sacrificing for your teammates, choosing the harder right over the easier wrong, which isn’t the cadet prayer by the way. And I would just write sports dot, dot and I’ll just leave it there. And a cool thing happened because there was like a little mini-movement that has taken place where other people will now send me things that say, hey, Brian, sports and it’s a clip of a story or a video, and it’s like, then we need more of that. You know, we need more of that stuff populating our social media feeds But I’m not saying that we need to stick our heads in the sand and you know, be pollyannish about what’s going on in the world. But again, if all you do is watch, you know, the news on whatever favorite news channel you have, you’re going to be a pretty negative, miserable person. And there’s a big world out there.

Stanislas Berteloot 31:19

I hear you. And karma. Right, you send good stuff. Good stuff come back to you. Oh, yeah. And you alluded to that early on. I would love to know what America is to you.

Bryan C Price 31:34

Alright, are you ready?

Stanislas Berteloot 31:35

I’m ready.

Bryan C Price 31:38

All right. So when I thought about this question, obviously, there’s a number of different ways you can take it and a lot of your guests have, you know, chosen various aspects of it. But when I sat down and I thought about this, I wrote this and, you know, I, I think what is even better is a poem that I’m going to share with you, which you may have heard before, but maybe not So when I think of what America means to me, I wrote, it’s the greatest experiment the world has ever known. Where we are chasing an ideal that we may never achieve. But it’s ideal that is worth fighting for, and worth dying for. So here’s my poem. It’s by Langston Hughes, which I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of him, but he was a black American in the early half of the 20th century. And this poem, I definitely recommend you look up the whole thing. I’m not going to read all of it just for time purposes. But it was written in 1936. Okay, so it’s not it’s not recent. But I think it’s, it’s telling it, it kind of puts in poetry form, what I just shared with you. So I’m going to read it a couple snippets. Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the Pioneer on the plane, seeking a home where he himself is free. America never was America to me. Let America be the dream The Dreamers dreamed. Let it be that great strong land of love, or never kings connive nor tyrant scheme, that any man be crushed by any above. It never was America to me. Let America be America again. The land that never has been yet, and yet must be the land where every man is free. The land that’s mine, the poor man’s Indians negros me, who made America, whose sweat and blood whose faith and pain, whose hand at the foundry whose plow in the rain must bring back our mighty dream again. Sure, call me any ugly name you choose. The steel of freedom does not stain from those who live like leeches on the people’s lives. We must take back our land again, America. Oh, yes, I say it playing America never was America to me. And yet I swear this oath, America will be.

Stanislas Berteloot 34:09

Wow, very, very timely.

Bryan C Price 34:13

It’s when you read the whole poem it speaks to that the fact that everybody has bought into this American dream and everybody’s willing to fight for that dream, but that dream isn’t a reality. And, and there’s a lot of people that you know, feel that that dream is hypocritical or not serving them and are and are upset if we’re not there yet. It’s still a worthwhile fight to try to get there. And so, like, to me, that’s a real it’s not like a warm and fuzzy patriotic poem, but it’s also not a you know, to me, it’s like it’s it’s the best articulation of what I was trying to say in my faulty words but Langston Hughes found a better way of saying it.

Stanislas Berteloot 35:03

Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Would you have any books so movie that how origins should read all watch?

Bryan C Price 35:12

So in terms of the books, and I think I shared this with you before he had your like the modern day, Alexis de Tocqueville from France and his great book Democracy in America. So it that might be an interesting book to kind of go through. He was trying to understand America and American culture, you know, many, many moons ago, and now you’re trying to kind of do the same thing. So I thought that was interesting. For those that might want to know a little bit about that meritocracy that I was talking about at West Point and the microcosm of the country. There’s a great book called Absolutely American by David Lipsky, which again, paints a pretty realistic both good and bad of what life is like up there. And then from Ron Chernow’s autobiography on George Washington is pretty amazing. Call Washington a life. And so that’s that’s another book that I would definitely recommend a movie that represents the best of us and America. There’s a couple out there. If you want a military movie that talks about kind of the greatest generation and what that was like. I think Saving Private Ryan is probably a really good star by Steven Spielberg.

Stanislas Berteloot 36:18

Okay, great. Thank you, Bryan, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for sharing all this with us today.

Bryan C Price 36:27

Awesome. Thanks, Stan. Appreciate it.

Stanislas Berteloot 36:29


Bryan C Price 36:29

Can I share with you a quick story about George Washington. But to me, it kind of speaks to a lot of the craziness that’s going on. And when you talk about true leadership, this is definitely it. After the Americans had this great victory against the British and the war was essentially over talking about Yorktown. I think a lot of people thought the war was over, and that the Americans had won. And yet, we were on very tenuous ground at that point.

And so fast forward to two years to 1783. Washington was actually based just north of Westport actually in a place called Newburgh, New York at this time, our government, you know, was essentially dysfunctional. They could not pay the soldiers because the Articles of Confederation banned taxing on the people. And so there was no real money. They had promised to pay veterans of the war, a half wage, and that had never occurred. And on top of that, you had reportedly a third of the Washington’s forces did not have shoes.

And so, you know, here we are about to take down at the time, you know, the world’s one of the superpowers represents France. And so we’re at this big moment. And Washington catches wind that there were senior leaders in his outfit, were circulating a letter to organize, essentially what was a military coup to go down to Philadelphia to take over the government and demand that they get paid, and you know, they get clothes and, you know, treated with respect. And at the time, you can imagine, like after, you know, fighting for, you know, at that time, seven years or so, there was a lot of support for the soldiers who had left their families and we’re had fought for this country and that we’re not being treated properly. And so there was a lot of ground well support for it. But Washington catches wind of this, and he’s old an age. And so he calls for all officers to, to meet in this evening. And he comes in, he wants to read a letter that he was talking to somebody about and so he’s kind of fumbling with the letter. He can’t read it because of his eyesight. And he puts on his bifocals, and he says, “gentlemen, you must now pardon me, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind in service to my country.” And then he goes on to talk about essentially paraphrasing Washington at this point, like we didn’t fight this war, we didn’t do all this stuff for this great experiment of America, to go back to what would have happened in Europe, to go back to a military dictatorship or military rule of government, that if this whole thing is going to work, at this troubled time, we need to respect the civilian rule of authority, that that’s what makes this whole experiment different.

I don’t know if anybody else other than Washington could have made that happen at that point, because he was so respected. He was obviously a military General, he did come from the aristocracy, but you can relate to you know, the common man. And when I look at what our country you know, I was in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when I see these people get put in power of young democracies that pole for centralization, that pole to centralize power and to become corrupt are so overwhelming that like, it’s failed in both those countries, you know, this, we can’t just Take this experiment and outsource it like we thought we could. And yet, here we are in America and we had that leader at that time, make that decision. And I wonder if where we would be today if that decision was a base

For my guest, American is a dream, not a reality. Yet he believes that American is the greatest experiment of democracy that the world has ever known and that’s a worthwhile cause to fight for.



The Podcast Back in America explores America’s identity, culture, and values.

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Stanislas Berteloot

Marketing & Communications executive | 20+ years of experience in software companies | Helping companies manage reputation & grow their sales