Mr. Ventura is a pretty fascinating man. Sometimes, he comes out of left field to advocate an issue that you might not think a muscleheaded former professional wrestler, or a man who used to be governor of a state, would advocate.
Remember when he called religion a crutch for the weak-minded? And then, he turned around and said that he would likely be going to church for services.
Indeed, Ventura is very candid. You might not agree with everything that he says or thinks, but you sure have to respect the fact that he puts some serious thought into what he believes and/or does not believe. That said, one of the major issues on which he and I would definitely differ would be climate change.
Now, before jumping to conclusions, it is unclear what he personally actually thinks about it. He seems uncertain about whether or not it is real, but strangely, he believes that certain people are profiting from it on both sides, both in advocating for it, and denying it. Also, he has suggested that snowstorms disprove the theory, which surprised me, because he usually puts a little bit more thought into subject matter than to come up with something that seems, quite frankly, a childish understanding or interpretation of climate change.
Okay, so his position on climate change seems almost surreal and confused, and it seems that he is on shaky ground. Again, I do not agree with everything that he believes, and that seems fitting when you are talking about a man who obviously makes a living, quite literally, in exploring and endorsing, as well as hyping up, conspiracy theories.
However, there are times when he starts talking about issues that are relevant to our society today, when the guy just makes perfect sense, and when I find myself agreeing with him.
Case in point, look at his advocacy for legalization of marijuana. This is a divisive and obviously active issue in the United States today, and he is all in favor of ending the prohibition of marijuana, having even devoted an entire book to the subject.
Well now, Ventura has discussed the whole controversy regarding Colin Kaepernick. He was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who led that team to the Super Bowl a few years ago. Anyway, Kaepernick was blasted last year when he began to kneel down, refusing to stand during the national anthem before the games. Obviously, people noticed. Before long, the protest had spread, and there were members of several teams who also refused to stand, protesting against the violent deaths of blacks at the hands of police, which seemed to be almost an epidemic, particularly around that time.
Sales of Kaepernick's jerseys went through the roof, as he became, at least for a while, the most sold jersey. But that was only part of the reaction. Some others burned their Kaepernick jerseys, and there was an almost violent counter-reaction to the controversy. Many blasted him, and Kaepernick donated one million dollars to aid communities in need. Then, November came, specifically Election Day, and the news reported that Kaepernick had not even bothered to vote. He spoke out about that, suggesting that the two parties did not offer enticing choices, but perhaps feeling the heat, Kaepernick decided that his protest in refusing to stand for the flag would end.
However, the protests themselves spread to other athletes and other sports, and it can all be traced to Kaepernick, originally. Some suggested that he was like a modern version of Muhammad Ali.
Maybe, but there is one very significant difference, and that is that Kaepernick did not dominate his sport like Ali did his. Kaepernick was seen as the quarterback of the future for a while, particularly during the 2011 and 2012 seasons and, to a lesser extent, the 2013 season. However, his performance began to suffer after that, as defenses began to catch on. Once his deadly scrambling abilities were largely contained and he had to rely on his arm, his stock sort of went down. He was not a bad quarterback, but no longer was anyone suggesting that he was the model for quarterbacks in the future.
Long story short, the 49ers lost some talent. A lot of it. You might recall that in one offseason, the San Francisco 49ers lost their head coach, their star running back, and tons of other major names and talents. The only major excdeption was Kaepernick, who was basically the only major name that the team was able to retain. They had been among the favorites to contend for the Super Bowl one season, and then were widely expected to completely drop out of relevance the next season. Indeed, that is where the 49ers have been since. And Kaepernick's struggles at quarterback continued. Now, without nearly as much talent around him, his struggles became glaring. He lost his starting position, although he won it back. Then, during this past offseason, he found himself no longer a quarterback in the NFL.
Some suggested that it was because he did not have the talent, although it should be noted that many other quarterbacks with far less impressive credentials than him remained in the NFL for far longer after losing their starting positions. That suggested that his not being hired by any of the NFL teams was motivated by not wanting to deal with the controversy surrounding him, and that smacked of seemingly being silenced. Many feel that his not getting a job had less to do with what he could offer teams in terms of talent and capabilities, and much more to do with his refusal to stand, and his fearlessness in speaking out on issues that matter to him.
Kaepernick has remained a controversial figure, with some supporting him, and others condemning him and crying foul at what they saw as his hypocrisies. Some say that he blew a promising career that would have given him a fortune, because of his stupidity, or stubbornness. Other suggest that this is an example of institutional racism by the NFL, that they just do not want someone speaking out so publicly on things like Black Lives Matter. They feel that Kaepernick should be held up as hero, for being brave enough and selfless enough to essentially sacrifice what again had been an impressive and obviously lucrative career so that he could speak out about issues that mattered to him.
And that is where Ventura steps in. In this video clip, he outright endorses Kapernick's right to speak out. Ventura does not say whether or not he agrees with Kaepernick, and says this is besides the point, which I think is a fair point itself. Kapernick has every right to speak out, and those people who get so riled up need to stop taking such easy offense to things.
Indeed, Ventura makes sense in this regard, I think.
He recalls one time, while serving as Governor of Minnesota, that both Democrats and Republicans tried to force him to sign a bill requiring that public school children would have to do the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ventura then recounts how he reacted:
"I immediately vetoed it. You know why? Because governments should not mandate patriotism."
Whatever your position is on the Pledge of Allegiance, you have to give Ventura a huge amount of credit for the courage it took to stand up on this issue, which clearly will get many people up in arms.
Frankly, I agree with him. There are so many people who seem to want to force patriotism on everyone, and there has in turn grown a deathly fear of speaking out against anything that this country does sometimes, for fear of being labeled as someone who hates this country. Anytime that certain politicians, or their policies, are criticized, they can lash out against their opponents for not being patriotic enough. That was George W. Bush's tactic with the invasion of Iraq, and look how well that worked out. We now again have a president who is criticizing anyone who criticizes him for not being patriotic enough, and look at how completely unimpressive that man is.
So, I agree with former Governor Jesse Ventura on this issue.
How about you, the reader?
Anyone want to weigh in, and share your thoughts?