John Trudell

Date July 31, 2007 at 10:00 PM

Author Guy Cross

Publication THE magazine

Categories Performing Arts

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Born of mixed tribal blood, John Trudell-poet, writer, musician, actor, and artist-grew up in and around the Santee Sioux reservation near his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Trudell, considered one of the most powerful voices of the human spirit today, is known for his ability to move people with his words. He came to prominence as an activist for Native American rights and freedoms during the Indians of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, which culminated in the formation of AIM (American Indian Movement) in the seventies. In February of 1979, Trudell burnt the American flag in front of the headquarters of the FBI, citing "injustice and racism and classism"€ as the reasons for the desecration. The FBI has called Trudell "an intelligent individual and an eloquent speaker."€ Kris Kristofferson described him as "a reality check."€ Bob Dylan called his album Graffiti Man "the best album of 1986."€ Trudell says, "Some people call me a poet, others say I'm an activist. Some say my poetry and music is political. Others say it's about the spirit of my people. I don't buy into any of those labels. I may be a little bit of all those things, but I'm more than any of them. We all are. That's what makes us human."€

THE magazine spoke with Trudell discussing issues that included politics, fear mongering, the human spirit, the media, the industrial ruling class, and women's health issues.

THE magazine: You've said, "The great lie is that Western culture is civilized."€ What do you mean by that?

John Trudell: If being civilized means sharing the resources and making sure people are taken care of, then this society doesn't meet the standard. "Civilized"€ should mean that there's respect in the society, that there's compassion in the society, and that everyone is taken care of in the society. That to me would be what I would imagine civilized should mean.

TM: Are you just talking about American society, about Western society? Or society in general?

JT: I think we're talking about society in general-technological society, industrial society.

TM: Thomas Friedman writes about "Green Revolution."€ He says that in dealing with climate change it is "a festival of hot air by the news media, corporate America, and presidential candidates, but when it comes to bringing about a Green Revolution, we wimp out."€ What do you think about that?

JT: I don't know about the terminology, but the phrase "Green Revolution"€ is just more emotional terminology. And I don't think that a revolution is going to solve anything.

TM: What is the way to solve things?

JT: We have to think in terms of evolution and we have to use the creative power of our intelligence. And this must be done clearly and coherently over a period of time, and evolve the solutions that are needed.

TM: Does this have a lot to do with what is called the human spirit?

JT: Everything has to do with human spirit. But what I'm talking about is human beings taking responsibility for the power and gift of their intelligence and using it to think, to create solutions to the problems we're confronted with.

TM: What do most people do instead?

JT: People react emotionally based upon their beliefs. People don't think, people believe.

TM: How do you get people to think?

JT: My attitude about it is to go out there and make the most sense that you can. And there's not a lot of that going on.

TM: You've also said that the spirit of life is almost non-existent in the society we live in today. How does that happen? Is it the endless materialism?

JT: Well that's a symptom of it. How does that happen? It happens because society-from the time we're born-starts injecting fear and self-doubt into our perception of reality.

TM: And then there is the media's endless fear mongering.

JT: Well, it's the media, the family, and the whole system that's doing that. The church, the government, and the military are all are based upon putting fear into our perception of reality. The media is just a tool. I can understand what people are saying about the media being exploitative, but they're not really thinking, because if people were really thinking, they'd understand that the media is just a tool of a different entity. Like the military is the tool of a different entity. Politics is also a tool of a different entity.

TM: And what exactly is that entity?

JT: The industrial ruling class.

TM: Are you saying everything is already changed since the Industrial Revolution? Man seems to be the only being that kills its own kind indiscriminately. Is that just the way man is?

JT: Man has the ability to be anything-the yin and the yang, the dark and the light, and the positive and the negative. Man has the ability and the potential to be non-aggressive, or the ability to be aggressive. But when a human being is born into the societies that we're born into, we are taught from birth to be fearful. It's almost like that aggressive part is the one that's promoted from the time we're born.

TM: Is there a way out of that trap for an adult human being who can think?

JT: Yes, to use the thinking process clearly and coherently.

TM: So, the truth is really important?

JT: Reality is important. You never know about the truth. But reality is reality. So, to take responsibility-and by that I mean to step individually, collectively, and generationally towards changing things for us-is using the power of our creative mind to think things out. When we think with our intelligence, rather than just believing and emotionally reacting to those beliefs, we're then starting to deal in the realities of power. You can't believe and think simultaneously. It's just not going to happen. It's a contradiction-an impossibility. Because to think means you think. To believe means that you're not thinking, you are just believing. And your ability to think is limited by the prejudices and the definitions of your beliefs.

TM: Is consumerism a way of controlling people?

JT: We're programmed to have fear and self-doubt, and that's the means of controlling us. When you add in consumerism, which leads to excessive consumerism, that's also a way of controlling us, because most people end up turning into economic wage slaves.

TM: So we're just on the merry-go-round of buy, consume, eliminate, buy, consume, eliminate. Terrible. Do you think democracies are really democratic?

JT: Democracies do exactly what they are supposed to do.

TM: Which is?

JT: Fool the people into believing that they have some say.

TM: Which people are fooled the most?

JT: On the scale of who is fooled the most, it's the voters.

TM: What do you think of the people in politics now? Is there anybody up there who is telling the truth? Is there anybody you can trust? Anyone I can trust?

JT: No. What's going to happen with the next campaign is that the Democrats are probably going to be put into office because the economics are too fine-lined. There's been too much plundering and there are too many people in debt-too many people who just don't know how they're going to meet their economic reality. And that's going to intensify. That's why I think the Democrats will win, so that all of this will fall on them.

TM: But they're not going to do anything really, are they?

JT: No, they're not. And that's the whole point. The people who decide who is going to be the next president have already decided who the next president is going to be. And I think they're going to put the Democrats in power, so when the economic hard times come, and things start to fall and crash, the Democrats are not going to be able to deal with it, and then everyone will get mad at them and blame them.

TM: Do you know that this Democratic Congress has the lowest rating a congress has had in years-and that few believe or trust them?

JT: I'm going to change that. It isn't a Democratic Congress. It's a Democratic and Republican Congress that has the lowest rating. That's what I mean-we need to understand the reality of what's going on around us. We need to see how the media is telling us that it's the Democratic Congress-they're using that kind of terminology-but this is just mental manipulation.

TM: So these are just a bunch of politicians looking out for their own interests.

JT: That's right. It doesn't matter if the Republicans are in the majority or the Democrats are in the majority. The American citizens are the ones who get a raw deal.

TM: Looking at the hype, the spin, the fictional nuclear threat to America-we all know that the whole basis for the war in Iraq was a lie. What do you think of that?

JT: The closest that I've come to looking at it is that the people that invaded Iraq got what they wanted.

TM: Which was what?

JT: They wanted to be there.

TM: But they didn't get the oil. They're not producing or getting the oil they wanted.

JT: They think long term. They knew that it might take them ten years to get the oil that they wanted. But it is very profitable to them while they wait to get it, because war is profitable. And they're in there-they're putting their little forts up. So, even if some kind of withdrawal of American troops is engineered, the invaders got what they want. They got a toehold.

TM: You've said that social change will come from culture, art, and music, not from politics. In today's world do you think that's true? And if so, how does that manifest?

JT: Obviously there is no political solution. Look how long politics have been around, and the situation just continues to get worse and worse. We've seen it evolve in our lifetime. You know, from the sixties when everybody was rebelling against the injustice and stuff, and here it is now forty years later and the injustice is just as bad as it ever was. So, obviously, there's no political solution. I think that the solution will come about when we as human beings begin taking responsibility to use our creative intelligence.

TM: Are you saying that we have to get a little bit smarter?

JT: No. We don't have to get smarter-we just have to think. We have to use our intelligence to think.

TM: For many years you've been involved with all kinds of activist movements, like with AIM and others. Are you still involved with AIM, or similar movements, or is that in the past?

JT: That's in the past.

TM: Okay, let's talk about today, right now. What is it that you are really passionate about in your life? Is there an issue? Is it art? Poetry? Music? Politics? Where does your passion lie today?

JT: I don't know about passion, but I'm currently working on a project called Give Love Give Life. The website is www.givelovegivelife.net.

TM: What is Give Love Give Life about?

JT: It's about promoting and raising awareness about women's health insurance, and about getting national health insurance for women and children.

TM: And how did you get involved in this project?

JT: I've been working with Give Love Give Life for about five years. The project was started by a woman named Marcheline Bertrand. The first event we did was a fundraiser for Afghan women refugees. Then, in 2004, we did a benefit concert for ovarian cancer research. Then, in 2006, we did another benefit for ovarian cancer research. And in 2007, we did another benefit for ovarian cancer research. And the last benefit was a bigger show, with Willie Nelson and Jackson Brown at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

TM: Besides raising money, how is the research and the actual progression of what you're trying to accomplish going?

JT: I don't do the follow-through. We raised the money and turned it over to the ovarian cancer research people and we know that they're doing what they can with it. But what we're interested in now is national health insurance. And we've shifted our focus from just ovarian cancer into women's health issues in general.

TM: These are issues that you feel are really neglected?

JT: Everybody knows they're neglected if they pay attention. Realistically speaking, health insurance is a problem for everybody. The majority of the people in this country can't really afford it. You're looking at the poor-forty million or so people that have no health insurance at all. And there are probably another sixty or seventy million people that would be defined as middle class that can barely afford health insurance. And they certainly can't afford adequate health insurance.

TM: What happens to them? Do they just fall down the tube?

JT: Yeah, that's right. And as the economics shift, this is going to come to be a major problem for them.

TM: It's not a very civilized way of living, is it?

JT: Well, my feeling is that the center of any culture is protecting the women and children. And that's how we're approaching this. We're shifting over now to where we're looking at doing what we call awareness events, to raise awareness.

TM: Such as?

JT: We'll do different shows. However we can promote it, we'll do it. Some of the shows will be concerts, and some will be other types of events. And some may just be going out in the community and speaking. The whole point of Give Love Give Life is to get to people the idea that during these next elections, they say to the candidates and the Congress that "we're not going to support a candidate or a political party. What we will support is a coherent plan that makes sense and is understandable-a plan to provide national health insurance to women and children."€ We want to make the candidates and the Congress come up with plans that are coherent, understandable, equitable, and fair to the women and children in this country. The point is to get people to support a plan and not a candidate, a plan that makes sense. That would be a significant change in how voters participate in their own democracy.

TM: When you were speaking at the IAIA student graduation this year you talked about the human being. The human part being bones and flesh, and the being part as the spirit. Can you talk more about that?

JT: This ties in with what we've been talking about-about our intelligence. If we want to make any solutions to anything, we have to recognize who we are. We're human beings. When we recognize who we are, the rest of that falls into place.

TM: What do you mean by that?

JT: We're human beings-made up of metals, minerals, and liquids of the earth. We're shapes of the earth. That's our humanness. As humans, we have being, but all things of the earth have being, because our being comes from our relationship to the sun, sky, and the universe. Sunlight is literally the sperm, the seed that brings life to the water-bearing womb that is the earth. It gives us life. Our relationship to power comes from our being.

TM: You have to acknowledge that to know you have it?

JT: You have to understand it. As an example of our being, they can take the bone, flesh, and blood of the planet-uranium and fossil fuels-out of the earth and put it through a mining process and convert its being into a form of energy. The whole point of industrial civilization is to mine the being part of the human and program the human to perceive reality through its intelligence. Then they convert that into energy to run their system.

TM: And this is unconscious?

JT: Oh no, it's deliberate. It can't be an accident. It's been going on too long. They program us to be fearful.

TM: Who's the enemy?

JT: The industrial ruling class.

TM: Okay, so it's like back to what Eisenhower said, when he used the term "military-industrial complex,"€ referring to a close relationship among a nation's armed forces, its private industry, and associated political and commercial interests.

JT: It's the industrial ruling class. It's that one or two percent of people who control basically the majority of the resources and wealth on this planet.

TM: I read an article the other day about how the rich have all the money. When you come down to it, what everyone else has is just chump change. They allow us to be creative; they give us illusionary power. Is the reason to keep us down?

JT: Yes, the illusion of power.

TM: When you talk about the industrial ruling class, how many people are we talking about-two million?

JT: Well, the numbers are larger than that. We're talking about that one or two percent of people who control sixty or seventy percent of the resources on this planet. And then there are the people that work for them-governments, religions, militaries, and political systems. They created these things, whether you call it communist, or fascist, or socialist, or democratic-it is that industrial ruling class that created all of these systems.

TM: And the systems follow along unconsciously.

JT: Yes.

TM: I wonder, who are you impressed by?

JT: I'm impressed by people who understand the power of their intelligence. And I'm impressed by people who really and truly think.

TM: Time for a little truth?

JT: Yes. But the whole emphasis is for people to not rush off and support a candidate or a party. We have to make the politicians come up with the plan.

TM: I read something by Chief Crazy Horse that may relate to that. "A very great vision is needed and the person who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."€ Does that make sense to you?

JT: Well, it sounds poetic.

TM: Are you a poet?

JT: I don't know. I write. I think it can be called poetry. (Laughs)

TM: Are you writing songs or poetry now?

JT: Yeah, I'm getting ready to release an album next month.

TM: What's it called?

JT: Madness and the Moremes.

TM: The Irish folk singer Mary Black wrote a song called "Poet's Heart."€ Do you have a poet's heart?

JT: I don't know, I don't think in those terms. I'm just me. It's just me doing what I do. And writing lines is part of it.

TM: You've said, "The great lie is that Western culture is civilized."€ What do you mean by that?

JT: If being civilized means sharing the resources and making sure people are taken care of, then this society doesn't meet the standard. "Civilized"€ should mean that there's respect in the society, that there's compassion in the society, and that everyone is taken care of in the society. That to me would be what I would imagine civilized should mean.

TM: Are you just talking about American society, about Western society? Or society in general?

JT: I think we're talking about society in general-technological society, industrial society.

TM: Thomas Friedman writes about "Green Revolution."€ He says that in dealing with climate change it is "a festival of hot air by the news media, corporate America, and presidential candidates, but when it comes to bringing about a Green Revolution, we wimp out."€ What do you think about that?

JT: I don't know about the terminology, but the phrase "Green Revolution"€ is just more emotional terminology. And I don't think that a revolution is going to solve anything.

TM: What is the way to solve things?

JT: We have to think in terms of evolution and we have to use the creative power of our intelligence. And this must be done clearly and coherently over a period of time, and evolve the solutions that are needed.

TM: Does this have a lot to do with what is called the human spirit?

JT: Everything has to do with human spirit. But what I'm talking about is human beings taking responsibility for the power and gift of their intelligence and using it to think, to create solutions to the problems we're confronted with.

TM: What do most people do instead?

JT: People react emotionally based upon their beliefs. People don't think, people believe.

TM: How do you get people to think?/

JT: My attitude about it is to go out there and make the most sense that you can. And there's not a lot of that going on.

TM: You've also said that the spirit of life is almost non-existent in the society we live in today. How does that happen? Is it the endless materialism?

JT: Well that's a symptom of it. How does that happen? It happens because society-from the time we're born-starts injecting fear and self-doubt into our perception of reality.

TM: And then there is the media's endless fear mongering.

JT: Well, it's the media, the family, and the whole system that's doing that. The church, the government, and the military are all are based upon putting fear into our perception of reality. The media is just a tool. I can understand what people are saying about the media being exploitative, but they're not really thinking, because if people were really thinking, they'd understand that the media is just a tool of a different entity. Like the military is the tool of a different entity. Politics is also a tool of a different entity.

TM: And what exactly is that entity?

JT: The industrial ruling class.

TM: Are you saying everything is already changed since the Industrial Revolution? Man seems to be the only being that kills its own kind indiscriminately. Is that just the way man is?

JT: Man has the ability to be anything-the yin and the yang, the dark and the light, and the positive and the negative. Man has the ability and the potential to be non-aggressive, or the ability to be aggressive. But when a human being is born into the societies that we're born into, we are taught from birth to be fearful. It's almost like that aggressive part is the one that's promoted from the time we're born.

TM: Is there a way out of that trap for an adult human being who can think?

JT: Yes, to use the thinking process clearly and coherently.

TM: So, the truth is really important?

JT: Reality is important. You never know about the truth. But reality is reality. So, to take responsibility-and by that I mean to step individually, collectively, and generationally towards changing things for us-is using the power of our creative mind to think things out. When we think with our intelligence, rather than just believing and emotionally reacting to those beliefs, we're then starting to deal in the realities of power. You can't believe and think simultaneously. It's just not going to happen. It's a contradiction-an impossibility. Because to think means you think. To believe means that you're not thinking, you are just believing. And your ability to think is limited by the prejudices and the definitions of your beliefs.

TM: Is consumerism a way of controlling people?

JT: We're programmed to have fear and self-doubt, and that's the means of controlling us. When you add in consumerism, which leads to excessive consumerism, that's also a way of controlling us, because most people end up turning into economic wage slaves.

TM: So we're just on the merry-go-round of buy, consume, eliminate, buy, consume, eliminate. Terrible. Do you think democracies are really democratic?

JT: Democracies do exactly what they are supposed to do.

TM: Which is?

JT: Fool the people into believing that they have some say.

TM: Which people are fooled the most?

JT: On the scale of who is fooled the most, it's the voters.

TM: What do you think of the people in politics now? Is there anybody up there who is telling the truth? Is there anybody you can trust? Anyone I can trust?

JT: No. What's going to happen with the next campaign is that the Democrats are probably going to be put into office because the economics are too fine-lined. There's been too much plundering and there are too many people in debt-too many people who just don't know how they're going to meet their economic reality. And that's going to intensify. That's why I think the Democrats will win, so that all of this will fall on them.

TM: But they're not going to do anything really, are they?

JT: No, they're not. And that's the whole point. The people who decide who is going to be the next president have already decided who the next president is going to be. And I think they're going to put the Democrats in power, so when the economic hard times come, and things start to fall and crash, the Democrats are not going to be able to deal with it, and then everyone will get mad at them and blame them.

TM: Do you know that this Democratic Congress has the lowest rating a congress has had in years-and that few believe or trust them?

JT: I'm going to change that. It isn't a Democratic Congress. It's a Democratic and Republican Congress that has the lowest rating. That's what I mean-we need to understand the reality of what's going on around us. We need to see how the media is telling us that it's the Democratic Congress-they're using that kind of terminology-but this is just mental manipulation.

TM: So these are just a bunch of politicians looking out for their own interests.

JT: That's right. It doesn't matter if the Republicans are in the majority or the Democrats are in the majority. The American citizens are the ones who get a raw deal.

TM: Looking at the hype, the spin, the fictional nuclear threat to America-we all know that the whole basis for the war in Iraq was a lie. What do you think of that?

JT: The closest that I've come to looking at it is that the people that invaded Iraq got what they wanted.

TM: Which was what?

JT: They wanted to be there.

TM: But they didn't get the oil. They're not producing or getting the oil they wanted.

JT: They think long term. They knew that it might take them ten years to get the oil that they wanted. But it is very profitable to them while they wait to get it, because war is profitable. And they're in there-they're putting their little forts up. So, even if some kind of withdrawal of American troops is engineered, the invaders got what they want. They got a toehold.

TM: You've said that social change will come from culture, art, and music, not from politics. In today's world do you think that's true? And if so, how does that manifest?

JT: Obviously there is no political solution. Look how long politics have been around, and the situation just continues to get worse and worse. We've seen it evolve in our lifetime. You know, from the sixties when everybody was rebelling against the injustice and stuff, and here it is now forty years later and the injustice is just as bad as it ever was. So, obviously, there's no political solution. I think that the solution will come about when we as human beings begin taking responsibility to use our creative intelligence.

TM: Are you saying that we have to get a little bit smarter?

JT: No. We don't have to get smarter-we just have to think. We have to use our intelligence to think.

TM: For many years you've been involved with all kinds of activist movements, like with AIM and others. Are you still involved with AIM, or similar movements, or is that in the past?

JT: That's in the past.

TM: Okay, let's talk about today, right now. What is it that you are really passionate about in your life? Is there an issue? Is it art? Poetry? Music? Politics? Where does your passion lie today?

JT: I don't know about passion, but I'm currently working on a project called Give Love Give Life. The website is www.givelovegivelife.net.

TM: What is Give Love Give Life about?

JT: It's about promoting and raising awareness about women's health insurance, and about getting national health insurance for women and children.

TM: And how did you get involved in this project?

JT: I've been working with Give Love Give Life for about five years. The project was started by a woman named Marcheline Bertrand. The first event we did was a fundraiser for Afghan women refugees. Then, in 2004, we did a benefit concert for ovarian cancer research. Then, in 2006, we did another benefit for ovarian cancer research. And in 2007, we did another benefit for ovarian cancer research. And the last benefit was a bigger show, with Willie Nelson and Jackson Brown at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

TM: Besides raising money, how is the research and the actual progression of what you're trying to accomplish going?

JT: I don't do the follow-through. We raised the money and turned it over to the ovarian cancer research people and we know that they're doing what they can with it. But what we're interested in now is national health insurance. And we've shifted our focus from just ovarian cancer into women's health issues in general.

TM: These are issues that you feel are really neglected?

JT: Everybody knows they're neglected if they pay attention. Realistically speaking, health insurance is a problem for everybody. The majority of the people in this country can't really afford it. You're looking at the poor-forty million or so people that have no health insurance at all. And there are probably another sixty or seventy million people that would be defined as middle class that can barely afford health insurance. And they certainly can't afford adequate health insurance.

TM: What happens to them? Do they just fall down the tube?

JT: Yeah, that's right. And as the economics shift, this is going to come to be a major problem for them.

TM: It's not a very civilized way of living, is it?

JT: Well, my feeling is that the center of any culture is protecting the women and children. And that's how we're approaching this. We're shifting over now to where we're looking at doing what we call awareness events, to raise awareness.

TM: Such as?

JT: We'll do different shows. However we can promote it, we'll do it. Some of the shows will be concerts, and some will be other types of events. And some may just be going out in the community and speaking. The whole point of Give Love Give Life is to get to people the idea that during these next elections, they say to the candidates and the Congress that "we're not going to support a candidate or a political party. What we will support is a coherent plan that makes sense and is understandable-a plan to provide national health insurance to women and children."€ We want to make the candidates and the Congress come up with plans that are coherent, understandable, equitable, and fair to the women and children in this country. The point is to get people to support a plan and not a candidate, a plan that makes sense. That would be a significant change in how voters participate in their own democracy.

TM: When you were speaking at the IAIA student graduation this year you talked about the human being. The human part being bones and flesh, and the being part as the spirit. Can you talk more about that?

JT: This ties in with what we've been talking about-about our intelligence. If we want to make any solutions to anything, we have to recognize who we are. We're human beings. When we recognize who we are, the rest of that falls into place.

TM: What do you mean by that?

JT: We're human beings-made up of metals, minerals, and liquids of the earth. We're shapes of the earth. That's our humanness. As humans, we have being, but all things of the earth have being, because our being comes from our relationship to the sun, sky, and the universe. Sunlight is literally the sperm, the seed that brings life to the water-bearing womb that is the earth. It gives us life. Our relationship to power comes from our being.

TM: You have to acknowledge that to know you have it?

JT: You have to understand it. As an example of our being, they can take the bone, flesh, and blood of the planet-uranium and fossil fuels-out of the earth and put it through a mining process and convert its being into a form of energy. The whole point of industrial civilization is to mine the being part of the human and program the human to perceive reality through its intelligence. Then they convert that into energy to run their system.

TM: And this is unconscious?

JT: Oh no, it's deliberate. It can't be an accident. It's been going on too long. They program us to be fearful.

TM: Who's the enemy?

JT: The industrial ruling class.

TM: Okay, so it's like back to what Eisenhower said, when he used the term "military-industrial complex,"€ referring to a close relationship among a nation's armed forces, its private industry, and associated political and commercial interests.

JT: It's the industrial ruling class. It's that one or two percent of people who control basically the majority of the resources and wealth on this planet.

TM: I read an article the other day about how the rich have all the money. When you come down to it, what everyone else has is just chump change. They allow us to be creative; they give us illusionary power. Is the reason to keep us down?

JT: Yes, the illusion of power.

TM: When you talk about the industrial ruling class, how many people are we talking about-two million?

JT: Well, the numbers are larger than that. We're talking about that one or two percent of people who control sixty or seventy percent of the resources on this planet. And then there are the people that work for them-governments, religions, militaries, and political systems. They created these things, whether you call it communist, or fascist, or socialist, or democratic-it is that industrial ruling class that created all of these systems.

TM: And the systems follow along unconsciously.

JT: Yes.

TM: I wonder, who are you impressed by?

JT: I'm impressed by people who understand the power of their intelligence. And I'm impressed by people who really and truly think.

TM: Time for a little truth?

JT: Yes. But the whole emphasis is for people to not rush off and support a candidate or a party. We have to make the politicians come up with the plan.

TM: I read something by Chief Crazy Horse that may relate to that. "A very great vision is needed and the person who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."€ Does that make sense to you?

JT: Well, it sounds poetic.

TM: Are you a poet?

JT: I don't know. I write. I think it can be called poetry. (Laughs)

TM: Are you writing songs or poetry now?

JT: Yeah, I'm getting ready to release an album next month.

TM: What's it called?

JT: Madness and the Moremes.

TM: The Irish folk singer Mary Black wrote a song called "Poet's Heart."€ Do you have a poet's heart?

JT: I don't know, I don't think in those terms. I'm just me. It's just me doing what I do. And writing lines is part of it.

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