I guess it's back to this: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country." So I'm always interested in where I can continue to make a contribution. I'm not a member of Congress right now, and I'm OK with that. I'm not OK with how redistricting worked. (laughs) But I'm ready for a new chapter in my life, and to continue to make a contribution.
The one point I want to make before we're at the end of this show, and I want to thank you for your generosity of time, is that my own spiritual explorations of not just my existence, but the world, and the world that I move in, and the people I deal with - I think that we are at the threshold of an era, if we can break through the thinking that basically encapsulates our world right now. We're at the threshold of an era where people all over are going to come together, where the impulse toward human unity will actually be realized. The technological infrastructure is already there: The internet is there, the ability to travel anywhere, the cellular technology (pick up the phone and call anywhere in the world). We have the technical infrastructure for unity, but we haven't really seen our political systems develop in that direction, our policies develop in that direction.
But it really starts, not from the government, it starts from our own hearts. And I see the willingness of people to try to grow past the partisanship and the ideological differences to try to find those things that unite us, and emphasize that, not just as a nation, but as the human race. So I'm very hopeful that, with our continued efforts, that we can chart a course toward a more peaceful world. But the only way that we can do that, I believe, is to understand the inner equality of all people; to understand that we in fact are all one; that the world is interdependent, and it is interconnected with a latticework that is so fine, that events that happen anywhere in the globe can be felt all over the globe. And because of that, it's time for us to summon the power of our own hearts to continue to try to create love in the world, and to try to replace the hatred that's out there with sentiments of love for our fellow human beings.
This goes way beyond politics. It goes way beyond positionality, to contemplating the power of the human spirit to be able to create new conditions, to be able to evolve, to go beyond where we are in terms of this particular experience in this time and space in the United States of America.
Rob Kall: Beautiful! You know, I call my show the Bottom Up Radio Show because I really believe we're in a transition from a top down world that started with the creation of cities and civilization, to a time when we go back to many of the bottom up principles that people lived with for hundreds of thousand of years in tribes. It sounds like what you're describing is a way of reconnecting.
Dennis Kucinich: There is, Rob. And it starts with ourselves, and our homes, and our families: those things and people that we hold dear. The thing about being involved in politics everyday (and I'm not now, because I'm out of Congress; I care about what happens, but I'm in a different world for myself) is that because I'm not there, I'm not getting pulled into every single dispute everywhere, so I get a chance to kind of step back. There's a Yiddish proverb that says "To a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish." And if you're focused on turmoil and violence all the time, you may think that's the way the whole world exists, but it doesn't exist that way!
There are people who are trying their best to live out life with a quiet simplicity. But, it's true, the world will intrude. It will intrude in the violence that's in our streets, it will intrude in the violence that's conducted in nation against nation, which is one of the reasons why I brought forth a proposal to create a cabinet level Department of Peace, now Barbara Lee's bill carrying it forward with peace building. Because we need to build more peaceful communities, more peaceful neighborhoods, more peaceful homes, and we have the capacity to do that.
I'm gifted now with an opportunity to be able to look at the same things that I've worked on over the years with a slightly different perspective; from being an outsider looking in, to being an insider looking out. And I'll tell you (laughs), it's OK to take a break from holding elective office; because it gives me a chance to have a renewed perspective, a sharper perspective, to get in tune with those slower rhythm of life that actually do more to inform about the way the real world is, than the rapid-fire accelerated pace that happens inside the Beltway.
Rob Kall: Can you talk about that, those "Slower rhythms that inform you?"
Dennis Kucinich: Yeah, I mean, to actually have time to just sit down and think things through. I'm doing some writing right now, and to be able to just slow everything down. You don't have that chance in Congress! And I'm sure the President doesn't have that chance. Everything is happening very quickly. And there's a sense in which the world of events is illusory. Things are happening, yes, they're real, they have real effects, but there's another reality that we sometimes get pulled away from by getting caught up in the tempo of events.
I've experienced this myself, in a career that goes back to 1967. It's almost like a narcotic, you can be involved in everything, OK. But then you may not really have that much of an effect on anything! And you may overlook those things that might be the most important things in your life, but not be aware of it. That's the problem with thinking that somehow you have the ability to change the course of human events from a single public office. Our history will show us that our lives have been changed often by people who never held a public office.
But, we need not minimize how important it is to have individuals who serve this country who have a sense of perspective, and who don't forget what it's like to be just an ordinary human being who is just trying to make ends meet, support his or her family, and live out their lives in peace and security. It's not bad being away from Congress. It's been three full weeks and more, and it's OK. I will be just as involved and perhaps, in slowing things down, be able to go a little bit deeper in my analysis of what's happening.
Rob Kall: Do you have any organizations or people who you want to give a shout out to, who you think are doing a good job? Who you want to support, at all?
Dennis Kucinich: Well, before I leave here, the one thing I want to talk about is: now that I'm out of Congress, I have a chance to work a little more closely on a range of matters with my wife, Elizabeth. And I am so fortunate, because she is so bright, and has been so committed to an entire range of matters relating to agricultural policy and diet, nutrition, animal rights, she's with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And I hope to be helping her out as well, because we're a partnership, we're going to be working together on some things, and I'm grateful for her council. We have a chance to actually spend more time together, which is great (laughs), because the demands of holding a public office, as anyone who has ever served knows, it can take you away from friends and family, and so it's nice to be back home.
Rob Kall: When you were running for President, I spent a day driving, and it boggles my mind, the stamina that you had to have, what it involves day to day, and I know it's not just running for President, the same thing is like that in Congress so, God, it's got to be a nice break. And I've met Elizabeth and she's an extraordinary lady. It's nice that you have time.
Dennis Kucinich: She is. And we're using it to continue our commitment to the world. This opportunity to have an in-depth discussion with you is very helpful, because it helps me to recall in this conversation what it is that animates my involvement. That, I really do care about the world and about individuals, and I see the potential for things being dramatically different than they are now. But we have to have an awareness of America, our country, our history, our position in the world, and be able to look a the world anew every day with a set of fresh eyes; not being hampered by old thinking which is either partisan or ideological, but one which can contemplate the possibility of a world that's awesome.