For pro wrestler turned Minnesota governor and now muckraking media anti-establishment oracle Jesse Ventura, there are basically no differences between street gangs like the Bloods and the Crips, and the ongoing political skirmishes in Washington, D.C. This has led him to wrestle instead with potential solutions to how officials are getting bought and sold to the public these days by corporations, instead of winning election bouts fair and square, which is the topic of his latest book, DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans, the subject of our conversation.
Tell me, what made you so angry about politicians, that led you to write DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans?
Well, I’m not necessarily angry. I’m passionate! There’s a difference. I’m just passionate that in my experience in government myself, if I can coin what Ralph Nader said, we fall under a two party dictatorship. And I just want to expose these two parties, for how corrupted they are. I mean, they’ve built an election system in our country that is based completely on bribery. And if you do bribery in the private sector, you go to jail. But their whole system is based upon bribery. And so that was the reason I wrote the book.
How would you describe yourself politically?
I’m fiercely independent, I despise these two political parties, and I think they’re destroying our country.
And you talk in your book a lot about a system that buys all the politicians. Did anybody ever try to buy you?
Because I had a policy when I went into office, I said I will meet with no lobbyists. And I never did, for four years. So for four years, I never met with one lobbyist. And for one reason: I didn’t have to.
So none of them ever put pressure on you?
How could they? My doors were locked!
Jesse, with the November election looming, you have quite an eye opening chapter in your book on the Koch Brothers. Out of all the business tycoons in this country, why did you pick them to focus on?
Well, because they’ve kind of taken over what started out as the Tea Party movement, which was grassroots. It was a grassroots movement.
But the Koch Brothers and big money came in, and took it over. So now people who think the Tea Party is somehow a grassroots movement, are sadly mistaken.
It’s being financed and orchestrated by some of the most powerful people in this country. And some of the biggest money people, and the biggest corporations.
But the book is designed to go after the corporations. In light of the Supreme Court ruling that says corporations are people and have the same rights as humans. And also that money is free speech.
In the old days, corporations weren’t allowed to give money in the political arenas. But unfortunately now, we’ve opened up Pandora’s Box. And the corporations are the ones that are controlling our elections, as well as our government.
And you know what that’s the loose definition of? Fascism. I think Mussolini would be very proud of the United States today.
What do you feel can be done to oppose the Koch Brothers?
It’s simple. And the solution to all these problems, is as simple as the nose on your face. But it’s also as difficult as climbing Mount Everest.
And you know what that is? Stop voting for them. The Koch Brothers aren’t running for office, but they control the Republicans and Democrats that do.
The point is, stop voting for Democrats and Republicans. And that will solve the problem. But getting the lemmings to do that is quite a task. Because the media is part of it.
They never treat a third party candidate with dignity or respect. Did you know that when I ran for governor, I was the only candidate that had his private sector job put in front of his name?
It was always ‘former pro wrestler.’ Even though I had been mayor of the sixth largest city from 1990 until 1994.
It was never ‘former mayor Jesse Ventura.’ It was always ‘former wrestler Jesse Ventura.’ Yet my opponents were given their titles – Mayor Coleman of St. Paul, and Attorney General Humphrey.
So you see how the media plays that? They’re part of the problem. And then they always make any third party candidate, seem like a wing-nut. You know, they’re not part of the status quo, so they must be strange.
You also have a chapter in your book, called Big Media’s Collusion With The Gangs. Have you found yourself under attack by the media for telling the truth about the way things are, and how have you fought back?
Well, absolutely I am. And it’s difficult to fight back. I’m banned from Fox, I’m banned from MSNBC. None of those will even have me on.
How do you know you’re banned?
Because we’ve tried to get on, for the last three books I’ve written.
So what do they tell you?
That they’re not interested. And you’ve never seen me on O’Reilly. I was on with Hannity about four or five years ago, and haven’t been on since.
And MSNBC won’t have me on, I don’t know if you know the background of that. When I came out of office, I was the hottest commodity out there.
And MSNBC, CNN and Fox got into a bidding war for me. MSNBC won, and signed me to a three year contract for a great deal of money.
But because I was opposed to the Iraq War, they would not put my show on. They also pulled Phil Donahue, and Donahue was their highest rated show at the time, back in 2003.
So Donahue was their highest rated show, and they pulled him. Now have you ever heard of a network pulling their highest rated show?
Well, that’s what happened. Because recall back, there was not one person on television who was speaking out negatively against the invasion of Iraq.
Jesse, in your book, your theory about correcting a broken political system, is to abolish all political parties in order to prevent the rich from buying candidates. And to make politicians run only as individuals. But what’s to prevent the rich from buying those individual candidates anyway, that they perceive as the front-runners?
Well, they probably could. But I have a remedy for that too! And you’re gonna laugh at this one, but it’s actually good!
I think all political candidates should be required to wear NASCAR racing suits. Have you ever seen those NASCAR guys? They have all the patches on ’em from their sponsors.
So that way, you as a voter, when they get up to talk, you’ll know who owns them! Like when Jimmy Johnson wins a race at NASCAR, you can see all those patches on his racing suit that tell you who his sponsors are.
So I think that would be a great requirement, to make all those politicians wear NASCAR racing suits when they’re in public.
Have you ever received any threats against you, for opposing powerful and wealthy elements in this country?
No. Not yet! I think they’ve tried to marginalize me. You know, with my Conspiracy Theory show. And because I question 9/11.
Now among the many hats you’ve worn, you also happen to be an actor in movies now and then. And you’re coming out in a movie later this year, playing a governor – so you’re going to be a governor again! – in a movie called The Drunk.
And the main character in The Drunk plays the grandson of Eugene Debs. Who was a founder of the IWW, and who ran for president as a Socialist Party candidate in the early 20th century with a substantial number of votes, and as an independent as you have. Why did you go for The Drunk?
First of all, I love to act. And second of all, because I needed to act to keep my health care with SAG [Screen Actors Guild].
Well, you asked me for the truth!
Hey, you’re not the first actor I’ve heard that from!
Yep, you’ve got to earn so much money every year, to keep your benefits. But I thought it was an interesting and easy role.
They had me in mind completely, that’s why they approached me with the role. And I found it an intriguing and interesting role. And it was fun to step back into the acting business. So I enjoyed it very much.
And what are you up to in the movie? Or maybe you don’t want to reveal that.
Well…Go watch the movie!
And not only that. Because I don’t know what they edited, and what they didn’t. So you really don’t know which scenes make it, and which don’t.
Jesse, the media has gone on a campaign of misrepresenting who you are. What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Ugh…I don’t know, I see myself. The same person I’ve looked at for sixty years now. Remember, I’m dangerous. Because I’ve beaten the Republicans and Democrats not once, but twice. And never lost to them.
And an independent like me is a danger, to the status quo of this country. But amongst the people I’m not, I’m refreshing and all that.
And you know, it’s a tough life. I’ve been married now 37 years. And one of the reason I didn’t seek reelection, or the major reason, is because my wife didn’t like it.
And she was suffering a little from health trouble because of it, the tension of all of it. And so that’s why I didn’t seek reelection. Because my wife means more to me than holding any public office.
What are your feelings about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and what was that all about in your book, when you went and bought the Occupy Minneapolis encampment all the handwarmers in the local hardware store?
JV: Well it was in the middle of the winter! It’s cold in Minnesota. So I went into the hardware store, and I bought a lot of handwarmers. And I brought down boxes of them.
And I said, you people are gonna need these. Because I supported them. Everyone should have supported the Occupy movement, you know why?
Whether you agreed with them or not, they were simply exercising what should be their First Amendment rights. And some day you may want to exercise your First Amendment rights, where you’re not going to be able to.
Because they’re going to run you off with pepper spray and dogs. That’s what happened to all of them, every Occupy movement got run off with dogs and pepper spray. And in Minnesota, wait till you hear what they did there.
They were in a park in Minneapolis. And the local ordinance says you cannot have a generator in the park. So they couldn’t have a generator there to keep warm.
But there was a generator there, running 24/7. You know what it was doing? It had a surveillance camera on it.
So all the people were put under surveillance, and it was fine for the government to have a generator in the park. But you as a citizen were not allowed to.
Why should people read DemoCRIPS And ReBLOODlicans?
Here’s my challenge back. Anybody that reads this book cover to cover and still votes for a Democrat or Republican, then they are the problem, they are not the solution. It’s that simple.
Jesse, you wrote this book to change the way things are. But what else do you think can be done?
Well, I don’t know. I’m doing the best I can. I think one thing – and you may find this funny – but it’s serious. I think people should stop drinking city water.
You know why? It has fluoride in it. And you know who the first people were to put fluoride in water?
The Nazis. Do you know why? Fluoride is the major ingredient of Prozac. So when you drink fluoridated water, you’re basically drinking Prozac water.
And maybe the Prozac caused this, the people in this country somehow now believe that we work for the government. Rather than the government is supposed to work for us.
But all the homes I’ve had in my adult life, I’ve always had my own well. So I’ve haven’t drank any Prozac water my whole adult life. So maybe that’s why I am like I am. And what does Prozac do to you?
There you go! And here’s my final word – and then I gotta run – about the pharmaceutical companies keeping marijuana illegal.
The final answer is, about this ridiculous war on drugs, my mother told me something before she died. She lived through the prohibition of alcohol.
And she said the war on drugs is identical to the prohibition of alcohol. All it does is make criminals rich and powerful.
And Betsy Ross’ flag, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They’re all written on marijuana.