WASHINGTON, October 21, 2013 ― It is often said that the true power of a politician is achieved during the term of office; that the further one moves from office, the less his or her influence, and the smaller that sphere of influence. Jesse Ventura seems to be the exception to this rule. Having left political office some 10 years ago to become an outspoken advocate of the need for electoral and government change and transparency, Jesse Ventura, former Independent Governor of Minnesota, has become increasingly relevant within U.S. political discourse as Americans begin to reject the two party system and search for an alternative.
Jesse Ventura stormed onto the political scene and shocked the nation in 1998 when he won Minnesota’s gubernatorial race as an Independent. Since leaving the Governor’s residence, Ventura has remained politically engaged, often criticizing the two parties for their hypocrisy and inability to provide viable solutions to the problems that plague America.
During our recent conversation, Ventura discussed his newest work They Killed Our President: 63 Reasons to Believe There Was a Conspiracy to Assassinate JFK, the Republican backlash after the government shutdown, his petition, and a possible bid for the Oval Office in 2016.
Governor Ventura’s latest book reignites the debate over the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Almost 50 years after Kennedy’s assassination, Ventura believes that Kennedy’s death is still relevant because, according to him, the government continues to lie and withhold information about the 35th President’s murder. Ventura claims that if Kennedy was not struck down in Dealey Plaza, the Vietnam War would never have occurred, and the Cold War would have ended peacefully between America and the Soviet Union.
However, there are other authors and academics who uphold the Warren Commission’s conclusion and dismiss questions raised by skeptics as conspiracy theories. One example of those that upholds the official narrative is Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly. In the beginning of Ventura’s book, he challenges O’Reilly to debate him on the assassination. I asked the Governor if he still renews that challenge: “Sure…I did that tongue in cheek, really, because Bill O’Reilly would never debate me on this. There’s no way.”
Ventura’s disbelief over what he sees as a continuing cover up of President Kennedy’s assassination led our conversation into disbelief over the current state of the country. Following the recent government shutdown, some commentators have speculated that the Republican Party might have put the final nail in their coffin, considering that most polls blame the GOP for the shutdown. Ventura, who has called for the abolition of all political parties, and has compared the Republicans and Democrats to the wll-known gangs the Crips and the Bloods, explained that Americans shouldn’t expect either of the two parties to fade away within the foreseeable future: “They’re the two party dictatorship, and whenever one gets in trouble the other will do something to bail it out, and it’ll all work towards the two party system prevailing. See, right now, everybody doesn’t want them anymore, they’re very negative, so they’re going to do things now to pick themselves up…so that their two party dictatorship can continue on…I don’t see the fracture. All you’re going to do then is elect more Democrats and that’s not going to solve the problem. We already saw that with President Obama.”
With Congress’ approval ratings at record lows and the country continuing to deteriorate, the former Minnesota Governor is offering the American people an opportunity to send a message to their elected officials. Ventura has started a petition to accomplish the following: repeal the Patriot Act, abolish the Income Tax and replace it with a national sales tax, ensure that Social Security remains solvent, increase teacher’s salaries, and ensure that every American has basic healthcare. While thousands have already signed the Governor’s petition, Ventura explained why those who haven’t signed it, should do so: “Elected officials don’t pay attention until it becomes massive numbers, and if you’re dissatisfied with your government today, you should be signing my petition because they tell me in polls that only ten percent of Americans approve of Congress’ work…Our Constitution gives us the right to petition our government. So, all I am doing is exercising a constitutional right asking people to join with me, and petition these so called elected officials of ours to not shut our government down any more just because they get into political spats…they’re elected to serve us, not themselves or their political parties. They take an oath to the Constitution, to the Bill of Rights, and to serve our country.”
Ventura also said that even those who disagree with him personally or politically should still sign his petition: “It isn’t whether you agree or disagree with me on a particular issue. We certainly may on some things, but it’s the fact of what is happening to our country today because of these Democrats and Republicans who put as at potential risk, both economically, defense wise, and all of this by shutting down portions of our government.”
What is next for Jesse Ventura? He has publically said that he is considering a run for the White House in 2016 if radio personality Howard Stern joins him on the ticket. Some have dismissed or ridiculed the possibility of a Ventura/Stern ticket. Recently, when asked about Ventura and Stern running for the Presidency, Rush Limbaugh said: “I don’t know who you’re talking about.” Ventura brushed off Limbaugh’s comments: “That’s a compliment because Limbaugh and his ilk are nothing but hacks for the two parties. That’s their job. That’s what they are there to do, like Bill O’Reilly and the rest of them. So, when they dismiss us like that, I take that as a complete compliment- like we’re on the right road.”
In addition to a possible 2016 Presidential run, Ventura is also preparing to launch a television program. “I’m going to be doing a show from Mexico- off the grid, back into the United States is the only place I can do it safely and communicate directly to the people here…on Ora.tv. It’s a wonderful organization. It’s their first penetration into the United States telecommunications market and I’m excited to be onboard with them, and I guess I’ll be spending time in Mexico when this launches later this year.”
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