Thank you very much, Bob. You know some people were asking me: You’re in Santa Fe, what are you doing wearing a suit and a tie? This is part of the new shtick that I’m getting ready for. It’s called dress like a banker, talk like an Occupier [laughter, applause]. It’s that cognitive dissonance that causes people to get distressed about what’s going to happen next.
Now, Bob Scheer, everything you said was true, by the way, you know as far as taking me in. When I lost the mayor’s job in Cleveland in 1979, I couldn’t get another job in that city because I took on the establishment. So I went out West for a while, and looked to try to get a book contract. Just like Scheer, and now Truthdig, provides a shelter for ideas that can come out and have the ability to change things, he provided me with physical shelter at that time. It was a very important time in my life. And so to show you how this meeting in Santa Fe is so many circles of life experience connecting, it was a meeting that I had with Bob Scheer, Jerry Brown and a publisher at Elaine’s restaurant in November of 1979 where I walked into this door of the restaurant and I was wearing jeans and a red sweater and I didn’t see Scheer right away because he was at the first table by the window. I walked in, and my eyes met somebody who I had watched for years, but never thought that I’d ever meet her. And there was Shirley MacLaine sitting at the next table. She was having dinner with Bella Abzug and so I started off on a discussion with Scheer and I ended up at the second table there with Shirley and Bella and we literally closed the place down. And the next day Shirley and I got together and began one of the longest discussions in my life. Shirley is not only the godmother of my daughter, but she helped to preside over my wife and I’s wedding seven years ago, and I brought her over to meet Shirley and we actually decided to get married while we were at Shirley’s place in Santa Fe.
This was seven years ago, so there are connections here that are very deep and personal, and when I found that there was a chance to be here with both Bob and with Shirley, it was very easy to say yes. I’m sure many of you feel the same way when you see the kind of fearless journalistic product that Truthdig helps to disseminate across the world. This is a time when there are real challenges with mass media being able to tell the truth because of the corporate connections with the media. NBC wouldn’t recognize the truth when it comes to nuclear power. If you look at all of the issues that are out there with the connections between media and arms manufacturers you wonder why so many people in the media end up promoting wars. This is a serious problem in our times and the fact that Truthdig exists, it exists as a point of light, literally, in a very dark place in American media. The New York Times promoted the war in Iraq, they were responsible for—they apologized, but the apology, excuse me, doesn’t cut it. The Washington Post promotes war and they’re two of the seminal publications in this country and they have enormous influence. But what’s happening now with the Web and with different ways of communicating is there are places which provide counterbalance, and that’s the importance of Truthdig. It could have only been Bob Scheer who created it. I mean think about it, with Scheer who …
Bob Scheer: Dennis, I have a partner.
Dennis Kucinich: Well, you and your partner.
BS: Zuade and Bob.
DK: I know—Zuade. But let me speak to Bob’s role here, that I know. Bob was the person that broke the story—the real story—about why we were in Vietnam. It was 40 years ago. We really, as a culture, we have a problem in being able to assess our external political reality. Now, Peter Berger wrote a book about the social construction of reality, that reality is socially constructed and culturally affirmed. And so we agree on a lot of lies. We agree on a lie about national defense. Truth be told, it’s national offense now and it’s about domination, not about democracy. It’s about exploitation and grabbing national resources.
This is a story as old as humanity, but we keep repeating these same mythologies. It’s only the ability to be able to pierce the veil of unreality, to be able to identify the deeper truths that are at work, that ability is the ability that saves the country and the world. So your presence here is very important. Now I just want to share something with you from a few days ago in Congress. There is the National Defense Authorization Act, it’s called, and Congress passed it overwhelmingly. The National Defense Authorization Act contains provisions to keep the war in Afghanistan going, defeated amendments that would have cut it short, to put us on the threshold of involvement against Syria, to keep the drones going in Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan or God knows where else we have them. But the thing that I felt was the most dangerous is it rejected any attempts—Congress in one week rejected any attempts at diplomacy with Iran and continues to insist on this fiction that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and passed a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act. I’m going to read the language to you directly so you can see this. What I did, I went to a clerk’s desk, got a copy of this bill—you always have to read the legislation. You know I read the Patriot Act, and that’s why I voted against it [laughter].
But this is my copy of the bill and I just marked it and drew on it and thought you’ve got to be kidding and here’s the things that got my attention: “It shall be the policy of the United States to take all necessary measures including military action if required to prevent Iran from threatening the United States”—on and on, connects it with this. They’re talking about preparing a “plan to augment the presence of the U.S. 5th Fleet in the Middle East sent to conduct military deployments, exercises or other visible concrete military readiness activities.” This is in the Persian Gulf. Then, it goes on to talk what about the plan, what about the specifics, the plan calls for “pre-positioning sufficient supplies of aircraft, munitions, fuel and other materials for both air- and sea-based missions and key forward locations in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.” And then it talks about doing all this to signal United States resolve and to bolster U.S. capabilities, to launch, get this, “a sustained sea and air campaign against a range of Iranian nuclear and military powers.” This is in the National Defense Authorization Act.
We are constantly whistling through the graveyard of history. I don’t know if these are people—this probably gets into Shirley’s discussion—I don’t know if there are people in Congress who are trying to fulfill the Mayan prophecy [laughter] or whether they’re leading the advance to protect the plane of McGill for rapture and the second coming of Jesus, I’m not sure what it is, but if it’s that they’re on the right track [laughter]. We should laugh, but we should cry, and we should be outraged, and we should march, and we should protest. We should organize because they’re messing with our lives; they’re messing with the world. The world’s not guaranteed to us. We like to think that well, our everyday lives, so we have this routine and it’s always going to be that way.
Read Ken Follett’s book about the fall of giants and you’ll get an idea about how the ordinary was suddenly infiltrated with mass violence that just swamped everybody, that just started with this kind of a vainglorious interaction of people who pretend to a level of leadership they’re not competent for. And what it does is it puts us on a path towards a level of bloodshed that when you consider in the 20th century 100 million innocent people died in wars, 100 million, we think yeah this can’t happen to us because we’re so modern and you know we love rock and roll. So we have to really understand that there’s always a delicate balance and that the requirement of citizenship is that we must be informed and we must be ready to act in any way that we can.
I met Bob over there from a summer in Washington, D.C., who told me about his. You know he was a former schoolteacher and he decided to get involved and protest the XL Keystone Pipeline. And how did he do that? He protested at the White House and got arrested. I congratulate him for that because that shows that somebody’s ready to put themselves on the line. We need millions of people to put themselves on the line, to challenge these powers that seem omnipotent and to state that those who want to help charter a path towards Armageddon—that we’re not buying in, that we’re just not buying it and we demand a different path.
I’ll just close with this and I’ve got time to take any questions. It’s very clear to see that there is a flaw in the cultural matrix where we believe in the inevitability of war and violence as a mass culture. We just do; we have violence everywhere. But I think it’s a misunderstanding, in that violence is not inevitable. You know, if you look at Margaret Mead’s study, she showed that it’s not. This whole idea about people being inherently violent, it’s not correct; it’s not true. So we buy into these mythologies about how people are and then we project them on people everywhere. Not true! If we were to really work on creating a structure to unfold the science of human relations—and that’s what I call for in a structure that’s within a bill called Creating a Department of Peace—the idea is not peace as some kind of an airy fairy notion but peace as a practical condition that you can construct. That it’s the active presence of a capacity for compassion, for sympathy, for love, for identifying the other person as an aspect of one’s self.
We need to go way beyond where we are as a society and a culture. Our government is so far behind the curve in being able to understand what the people in the United States are capable of or what people worldwide are capable of. We’re still in the same old approach of having our officials riding the cone of the missile, you know, beating it with our hat as it goes to its intended target [laughter]. You know, those “yee-haw” days have to be over in America and we really need to reconnect with a higher purpose of nationhood. I think when you have independent journalists like Bob Scheer and the work with Zuade has done in helping to build Truthdig, there’s a chance that the light will keep shining in the darkness and overcome the darkness. Thank you very much and I’d be glad to answer any of your questions for a few moments before I introduce Shirley [applause].
Answer: I’ll still be here [laughter]. I’m here right now.
Q: It may be too soon for you to articulate what your plans are, but do you have any idea what you’re going to do next?
A: I intend to be heard from. You don’t need a certificate of election to be heard in America and I’ll be doing some writing certainly; you’ll be hearing about that. I finally decided not to try to run in Washington state and actually it’s the first time in, I think there’s been three times in a career stretch, 45 years I had been running for something. It’s OK; it’s all right [laughter]. I can handle it. And in a way, on a metaphysical level I thought I had to let it go just so I didn’t need to be in there, for whatever reason, because there’s many different ways of serving. So it was just last week that I made the decision not to run in Washington state after my district was gerrymandered and I lost the primary running for a fragment of my own district. But I’ll be around, and I’m grateful for a chance to be here. Next question. Yes, the gentleman.
Q: So I’m Canadian, so maybe I just don’t understand a little bit of the context here but how is it possible that Iran could threaten the United States of America [laughter]?
A: This is what’s wrong with Canadians; they don’t feel threatened [laughter]. Well, what’s happening is, this “threat inflation” that goes on, and it’s an old game. But it was Andrew Cockburn, who wrote a book called “The Threat.” The whole Cold War was based on threat inflation, so this is great for arms manufacturers, for you know journalists who like to feed on salacious news of a potential World War III. But it’s rotten for stability in the world. And Iran, you know there are a lot of elements that are involved in trying to stoke a war with Iran. I sat in a committee meeting 10 years ago where the now leader of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, sat in front of us and actually publicly advocated, 10 years ago, for the United States to enlist against Iraq, Iran and Syria. Israel is gripped by this idea of an existential threat. Now, with the Holocaust experience, which is real and people have to deal with that, we have to think about that [thunder][laughter]. For those who are wondering off camera what just happened, there was a crash of lightning and thunder that just occurred. I’ll be careful [laughter]. Next question [laughter].
Q: Now that you’re leaving, Bernie Sanders remains in the Senate. I just wonder, since there has been more transparency in the sense that we are more aware of corporate influences on both sides of the aisle in Congress—Alan Grayson I guess is running again and others—do you feel that anyone is carrying on your work?
A: I won’t know until they get there.
Q: I see.
A: And so I will tell you this: I intend to be in contact with the people with whom I serve now and with new members. I’m gonna be out there trying to help some people get elected including, well I don’t want to announce it yet, but there are people I’ll be out there trying to help.
Q: Well that’s good to know.
A: This is part of my commitment, you know; I’m not running but I certainly can help people who can stand for peace, who have the ability to challenge, not just the war machine but the finance machine that’s run amok. So I’ll still be there, I mean, in that way. Next question. Yes, the gentleman.
Q: I was wondering if you think there’s any hope for changing our immigration policies and this drug money that’s coming in and weapons that are coming in to Mexico constantly from the United States. What’s being done about this? Is anything being done?
A: Well, there’s two things there: One is arms sales, and the U.S. is the largest merchant of arms in the world; that’s a problem. NATO is a subset of that problem. They’re an arms bazaar that functions as some kind of an eleemosynary, international institution—they start wars. And they’re also geographically challenged because the last I checked the North Atlantic doesn’t extend to the Afghanistan border and China. But we have a problem with the arms sales—that’s one thing. The problem is that our immigration policies are fear based and we’re locked into that.
We still have not as a nation recovered from 9/11. We’re still locked into a 9/11 mentality—us versus them—and that dichotomized thinking is a precursor to war so we still have to deal with that. We still need a national discussion about how we settle our feelings about 9/11. We haven’t had that. We went right into a war against a nation that did not attack us, and so we went down the rabbit hole of a war and we still haven’t come out of it, and immigration is one of the casualties of that war. Another question in the back.
Q: First of all, although it’s become a cliché, thank you for your service. Thank you for carrying issues to the presidential level and making those issues heard. But I’d like you to give us your thoughts on the future of the Democratic Party, at this point. Do you see it having a future and what are going to be the driving elements to give it a future?
A: The two-party system was further wounded with the Citizens United case. Right now Washington is essentially an auction and policies go to the highest bidder. It doesn’t matter if the Democrats or Republicans are in charge in terms of the influence of money. Money influences Democrats and it influences Republicans. Look, the Democrats when we took control of Congress in 2006, they control promising an end to the Iraq War, 2006. We won the election, on that promise, and then the next thing our leadership turned around and kept the war going. Now that, my friends, is an example of why those of us who love the Democratic Party also know that we have to be very careful about buying into a party platform that doesn’t stand with the commitments that we have.
So, what’s the future of the Democratic Party? I don’t know. I think that if the party really began to look at serious economic reforms, if it was ready to challenge central banks in a way that was, say, happening in Europe, for example, we could see a real change in American politics. I had the chance to put forward legislation that would actually put the Fed back under the Treasury, which a hundred years ago when the Federal Reserve was created it basically privatized their money supply. Now if the Democratic Party took up a cause of saying we are looking at serious economic reforms, we could get millions of people back to work just by reclaiming government’s ability to be able to spend money in the circulation to create jobs.
The Democratic Party needs some ideas. It’s not enough just to say, well, you know, we’re not Republicans because sometimes that line starts to get blurred, especially when a lot of money’s involved. So, I’m still a Democrat, but I’m not someone who is blind to the deficiencies in the party. The Democratic Party needed to provide President Obama with a real push on the health care and when it did President Obama bought into health care reform only in the context of a for-profit system, which meant that his plan is now vulnerable to a Supreme Court that’s owned by interest groups. And so we need a party that is ready to push for serious economic reform—jobs for all, health care for all, education for all, retirement security for all. That’s going to be another battle; it’s going to come up over Social Security. The party keeps getting redefined, and in the time that I’ve been involved nationally, my attempt to redefine it has been on the issues of health care, Social Security, peace, the environment, jobs, and I’ll continue to do that, but I can’t tell you where the party’s going.
One final note: Is there an opening for a third party movement? I don’t know about this year, but there will be if the Democratic Party doesn’t become a very viable second party. I’ll take a few more.
Q: I was going to say it first, but you said it so, Obama, and I know that’s broad, but can you talk about it in the context the way you just talked about the Democratic Party and future. It’s kind of the elephant in the living room in some ways.
A: I think we understand. I understand where President Obama’s candidacy arose and where the interest groups that his administration’s been protecting; it’s pretty clear. If the question is Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, for me that’s an easy question. I can answer that very quickly. But we have to get beyond that … because this isn’t only about 2012, ‘16, ‘20. It’s about where America goes. The presidency helps to define the country, but it’s not the only thing that does. We define it. It’s being redefined from outside of Washington, and in a way with Citizens United the differences between the parties will continue to be blurred because it’s all about big money influencing the debate. That’s a real challenge for freedom, frankly.
Q: I’m from Poland.
A: I’m sorry? Poland.
Q: I am from Poland.
A: [Says something in Polish.]
Q: [Laughs, responds in Polish.] My question is why are the American people so easily threatened and why are they so easily manipulated [applause]?
A: [Says something in Polish.] That means, “Better not to talk about it.” But, I’ll talk about it. Look, let’s go back to 9/11. Every one of us has that memory and it’s burned into our psyches what happened. Our leaders made a choice to respond to 9/11 in a way that locked us into fear. It’s almost like we’re specimens in amber, not the amber waves of grain, but locked in the amber of fear. That’s not who we are as a nation though; that’s what is so disturbing to me, and I’m sure the people across the country—because when you look at something as—let’s look at something literally anthemic, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When Francis Scott Key wrote those words, “Does that star-spangled banner yet wave over the land of the free, the home of the brave.” He connected bravery and freedom, courage and democracy; that’s really what America’s about. Americans connect that way, but when you have leaders who are fearful, fearful leaders are not good leaders; fearful leaders will lead the country to disaster, and we had that happen. We and people with sharply interiorized, Rococo view of conflict and antediluvian delusions of the meltdown of the world—the wrong people to be in charge.
So we need to regain our courage through the kind of exercise of cynic capacity. We should be having millions of people in the streets that say get the hell out of Afghanistan and get what’s left out of Iraq and stop threatening war against Iran. If we did that I think it would have an impact. I remember in 2002, in February—no excuse me it was 2003 in February, I was at a rally on First Avenue. On First and Second there were over a million people, and they were there to protest the beginning of the war. Once the war started all that activity stopped. We need a resurgence of American courage to stop more wars and to reclaim our civic heritage, which really is a heritage of peace, not war. We may have all these monuments all over Washington, D.C., of war, but we need to be the living monuments to peace exercising our courage to challenge our government to stop spending these trillions of dollars to arm ourselves to the teeth and let our society rot from within. Last question.
Q: I’d like to inject a little hope in the whole process with a comment, probably more related to what Shirley’s going to say, and then a question. I think that we’re embedded in a much larger evolutionary process at work that trumps what’s going on in Washington, but it’s a conscious and active evolutionary process. It’s not one that we can just sort of ride out. I think that requires our conscious, deliberate effort to focus our attention and energy to create the world and the paradigm that we would choose to live in. I like a line from “The Matrix” that I think for me really is appropriate here. I think it was Cypher that was asking the question or making the comment as Neo was sort of going into this alternate reality and it’s “buckle your seat belt, Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye.” You know, we’re really in a place in history where significant change can happen, major change that requires our active, conscious focus on creating the paradigm and the world that we want to live in.
A: I think you’re right, but it has to be a conscious creation. Lemmings, as they go over the edge, can’t really think about evolution.
Q: Well that’s what I just said.
A: Well you said it, but let me apply it practically. We are really challenged to become more than we are and better than we are and as human beings we do have the capacity to self-consciously evolve—point well taken. Evolutionary biologists have studied what’s called “punctuated equilibrium” that point where a species suddenly has a break and they evolve into something that could not have been predicted before. We have the capacity to evolve way past where we are as a society, that’s true. But the one thing that we have to be ready to do, though, is to be able to name what it is we see right now.
Q: Oh, absolutely.
A: So we have to do both.
Q: We have to understand the nature of what we’re dealing with.
A: We have to get what’s going on in the moment.
Q: Yeah, absolutely.
A: And then in the words of the poet Shelley in “Prometheus Unbound,” he talks about hope creating from its own wreck the thing it contemplates. And so we have to have the capacity to go beyond our disappointments and to create a new world, and there’s always a chance to do that. I wouldn’t do what I’m doing if I didn’t believe that.
Q: Yeah, what you refer to is a principle that comes from nonlinear dynamics, chaos theory. And people look at chaos as something that should be avoided but in all nonlinear or complex systems, it’s a sort of necessary part of the process for old forms to break down so that new forms can be reassembled into an emergent form.
A: Where I come from I call that my family.
Q: Yeah [laughter]. Well, you know for many of us I think that’s true, but so the question is why should we have any faith or confidence or any legitimate interaction to those, frankly; you know the pathology that’s going on in Washington.
A: Well, you have to have faith in yourself.
A: Yeah, that’s a good place to start. But, you know, system, we got to change the system before we have faith in it.
A: Thank you very much.
Bob Scheer: I want to take advantage of this moment to return to my traditional role as a journalist and you as somebody who’s been inside and there are questions that people ask me about and I don’t have the answer. I don’t have the answer because I haven’t been inside. What do they smell like? Really, how does it work? For instance, take the Republicans; you hobnob with these people, you’ve tried to negotiate, you even co-authored a bill, right, with Ron Paul. You’ve been around. Are they crazy? Are they on the take? Is there one kind? Are there many kinds? Are there any you can work with? Because now in this election we’re going to be plagued with the notion that they are the devil. They represent evil and we have to go for whatever the Democrats come up with because this will represent the counter evil. But you’ve tried to work with these people. They’re not Eisenhower Republicans; who are they? And then I have a few other questions, but answer that one.
Dennis Kucinich: There’s a certain amount of intellectual slop that comes in clipped analyses from political players who are in Washington. It’s very easy to label people and just dismiss them. The tea party types were on to something about people feeling that government wasn’t addressing their concerns and unfortunately the people who are involved in the tea party can understand that there was a bigger hand in their glove that is directing things and wouldn’t really take it in the direction of the kind of reforms that they had imagined. I work with people on both sides of the aisle, and I am proud to say that in the time that I’ve been in Congress I have never, ever called down someone because they happen to be Republican. It’s silly. But we find—what I try to find out, Bob, is who are these people and why do they think the way they think? And occasionally it does have some impact. For example, when the tea party Republicans came in in the last Congress, I went and introduced myself to every single one of them the first couple of days that Congress was in session, and just spent time getting to know them. What happened as a result, and a result of the fact that I don’t take a confrontational approach with people in the other party was that we were able to put together a coalition that challenged NATO’s role in the U.S. policy in attacking Libya. So, it was a bipartisan coalition; it actually put the foreign policy apparatus on its ear for a couple weeks. The point being that we have to get past labels and look to where we can find commonalities.
The biggest problem in Washington today is Citizens United. That’s changing the debate, and it’s making a hostile debate. When I listen to leaders in both parties go back and forth about Democrats this, Republicans that, it’s tiresome and it’s pointless. I think that, back to the previous question, I think that our politics have a capacity to evolve. You can still have a contest of ideas but it doesn’t have to be a kind of rancid partisanship that is basically name calling and usurping each other’s right to claim a personal integrity. The people I serve with, by and large, are decent people. They have different ways of looking at the world. We need to find out why people think that way and engage them in a discussion and try to show them another possibility. But if all we do is attack each other—and this is what we do—our politics get locked in. It’s like watching one of those old films of rams fighting at a mountainside: They lock horns and they fight to the death.
Well we don’t need to have politics like that. The politics of our country right now are not productive and do not meet the practical expectations of the American people. The people that I serve with, by and large, they’re pretty good people. Do I agree with a number of people on the Republican side of the aisle, as far as their economics, Paul Ryan? No way! No, Republicans by and large, want to see wealth accelerate to the top. They’ve been pretty successful in that. Democrats ought to make a stronger case for more equitable distribution. We haven’t been that successful in that, but we could both take a stand in stopping the infiltration of these money interest groups who change the whole debate. Then what happens is that people just end up being seconds in a political “Punch and Judy Show” while somebody else is walking away with the U.S. Treasury.
BS: OK, but let me ask you my last question, then, about the Democrats. You’ve been inside, you’ve been head of the progressive caucus, you know these people, you’ve served them, you caucus with them, you serve in their committee. What is with them?
DK: With what?
BS: These people, the Democrats. I mean, when you have lunch with them, they seem like progressive, enlightened, concerned people. They care about the poor, but they’ve screwed the poor. They care about peace, but they vote for war. They care about income distribution, redistribution, but they vote for the banks. They’ve become monsters. Monsters. Why would you put a Lawrence Summers in charge of your economy? Why would Democrats go along? Why would you have Timothy Geithner there after all the horrors that they created? And you’re a guy who hobnobs; I’ve been with you there, so what do they say? You’ve served with Henry Waxman. I actually have a blurb from him in my book; he gets it. But in the main, what are these guys? Are they careerists? Is it the money? Is it do anything for power? Is it the revolving door to Wall Street? I want your, this is your exit speech, OK? I want the Dennis Kucinich exit speech.
DK: The people aren’t bad—the system is bad.
BS: But what happens to these guys that as you see ‘em …
DK: You might go in with glorious visions of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and get the thrill when you hear the national anthem play and you love America. But when you get inside there, what you find out is the cold, cruel facts of an economy that is designed to serve the few at the expense of the many so that people have to decide where they fall on that line and whether or not they want a career in politics or whether they just want to be in the visitors team in Washington. Part of this is the desire to stay in office. Part of it is once you get in, you’ve fallen into a routine. Look, you run every two years and what happens is people get dragged into a very destructive rhythm where they’re always campaigning, always raising money. Most congressional races will cost in excess of a million dollars, and some will cost two and even more. How do people race if they go down to their respective party campaigning headquarters and they dial for dollars? They’re not on the floor of the House debating all the time. Most good people, but they have to raise a ton of money to stay in office, and now they have to raise even more money because they have various financial interests coming in from any direction to try to knock ‘em out. So, there’s more riveting to raising money than ever and there’s less actual involvement in making policies. People are either pinioned in committee, pinioned at the party headquarters raising money, going back home to campaign, running every two years—it’s a wonder that things aren’t worse. Really, it’s not a good system.
One of the reforms we have to have is public financing of elections so that no private money can influence the elections. However billions of dollars we could conceivably spend on public financing of all federal elections pales in comparison to the trillions of dollars that are being wasted or thrown away or given away by the Fed to the military to war contractors. And so ultimately, Bob, the people are not bad people. There’s a lot that recommends people who serve in Washington, but the system is a rotten system and it has to be changed dramatically. Have a lovely evening.
BS: No, you’re going to now introduce our next speaker. And you’re going to participate in a dialogue to some degree.
DK: Well, once Shirley gets started she doesn’t need nor would anyone even hope to provide any competition. I started off by saying that when we met it was because Bob Scheer hectored me, dragged me out of the one-room apartment I was staying at in New York City and said get over here. This is after I had had a couple of bologna sandwiches with mustard and you know just settled into a Murphy bed. But Scheer called and when Scheer calls I don’t know what it is about Scheer, but when he calls I just go along; he just drags me along. No one else has that power over me, by the way.
So I came to the restaurant and I met Shirley. There are very few people that I’ve ever met in life or that you will ever meet in life who have such a relentless quest for the truth. And because of that, if you’re Shirley’s friend what she gives to you is that relentless quest for the truth in terms of your own relationship. There is no artifice, nothing phony about Shirley MacLaine. She demands the real facts about what’s going on in the moment and she gets what’s going on in the moment. Because of that Shirley is a tremendous friend, the kind of friend who can help you grow to your best capacity, who can help you find your best self, who can help you confront your worst fears and help you climb mountains you didn’t know you could climb. I’ve been privileged to know Shirley now for 33 years.
Shirley MacLaine: Much longer than that.
DK: Much longer, of course, lifetimes. And our connection is very deep. It’s family; it’s personal; it’s political; it’s in every possible way. But there’s also no one who knows this area and has a connection to the area in a way that is as spiritual and as profoundly literate as Shirley has and so you couldn’t have a better person on this planet to welcome you to Santa Fe and to give you her own blend of reality, spirituality, mysticism and humor: Shirley MacLaine [applause].