Jesse Ventura on Civil Rights

Former Independent MN Governor

Respect diversity, both cultural and lifestyle

The next census will reveal a newly-diverse population characterized by widely diverse races, heritage, cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles. Diversity is not something that will happen sometime off in the future. It is the best word to capture the total picture of life right now in urban, suburban, and yes, rural communities across Minnesota. The Governor refers to the Constitution when he reminds us that every citizen is afforded certain inalienable rights. He touches his own beliefs when he observes that “Love is bigger than government.” In other words, government is required to ensure that every person has an equal access to education, and is not denied housing or a job or services because of who they are or what they believe. At the same time, the Governor cautions that the best government protections are insufficient to protect against the pain and inhumanity caused by individual acts of prejudice.
Source: The Big Plan: Healthy, Vital Communities , Dec 10, 2000

Equal opportunity for women; but equal responsibility too

I’m all for equal opportunities for women. Our nation is richer when women can contribute their individuality to the fabric of our society, But I think we get off track when we talk about equal rights without also talking about equal responsibilities.

Our government can only protect rights, it can’t always enforce responsibilities. That part is up to us. But practically speaking, you can’t have one without the other. Women have done a terrific job over the past few decades of breaking down the barriers that denied them equal rights. I’m all for that.

But I hear an awful lot of women arguing for equal treatment, but then the minute the going gets tough, they start hollering about harassment and abuse. We seem to have gotten so overly sensitive about harassment that it makes it look like women can’t handle any kind of sexual overtures from men at all. I think we need to get a whole lot clearer on what we mean by harassment and assault, because right now the definition is arbitrary.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.145-6 , Jul 2, 2000

Gay domestic partnership OK; not gay marriage

I support the idea of a legally recognized domestic partnership for gay couples. There are honors & privileges that go along with being in a permanent committed partnership, as well as responsibilities & benefits to society, and I don’t think that people should be denied the opportunity to achieve these things just because they love a person of the same sex.

It often happens today that a committed gay couple isn’t permitted to function the way a committed (married) heterosexual couple would, [such as in hospital visitations]. Legalized gay partnerships would allow gays to become something they have never become before in the eyes of the law: family.

But I draw the line at calling gay partnerships “marriage.” Marriage is something different. My dictionary says marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I don’t think we need to be diluting that definition just to make sure gays have the privilege of being in a committed union. I think a term like “domestic partnership” works fine.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.141-2 , Jul 2, 2000

As football commentator, found name “Redskins” offensive

Our professional sports are loaded with racial stereotypes. Native Americans have complained for ears that they don’t like being made into mascots. Personally, I think the name REDSKINS is offensive. When I was a commentator, I refused to use it. I just referred to the team as WASHINGTON. The name is a leftover from a more racist era, and we should get rid of it. Can you imagine if someone tried to name a team that way today? Can you imagine if they tried to start up the Philadelphia Dagos?
Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000

Against funding National Endowment for the Arts

A lot of people view the NEA and other programs that use taxpayers money to pay artists to create different kinds of “symbolic speech.” I don’t think the government has any business using our money that way. If we want to patronize the arts, we can do that, but why should we be forced to pay for it?

Artists who sell their work commercially or who work under private grants are beholden to the public and to their patrons. Not so with the NEA. As an arm of the government, the NEA is in the awkward position of handing out the cash without being able to place any conditions on what it gets for that money, because for the government to limit what an artist can “say,” verbally or symbolically, is a breach of the First Amendment.

And so you often get government-sponsored art that would probably never make it in a commercial venue. You have a right to say whatever you want, verbally or symbolically, but that doesn’t mean you have a right to get a government handout for it.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p. 98-99 , Jul 2, 2000

Prosecution and sentencing should be colorblind

Q: Do you support the necessity of changes in arrest, conviction, sentencing, jury selection procedures affecting African Americans and people of color?

A: Yes. We should be prosecuting the crime, not the person. Prosecution and sentencing should be colorblind. When someone is sentenced, the only items that should be taken into account are their criminal record, nature of the crime committed and sentence guidelines for the crime. Race has no place in prosecution or sentencing.

Source: Questionnaire from the Coalition of Black Churches , Aug 29, 1998

Support principles embodied in the Equal Rights Amendment.

Ventura adopted the National Governors Association policy:

In 1976 the National Governors Association expressed support for ratification and implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would constitutionally guarantee full citizenship rights and opportunities for women. In 1982 the drive for ratification fell short, and efforts to initiate the amendatory process were taken.

The National Governors Association reaffirms its support for the principles embodied in the Equal Rights Amendment, i.e., that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on the basis of gender.

Source: NGA Executive Committee Policy EC-14: Equal Rights Policy 01-NGA1 on Feb 15, 2001

Other governors on Civil Rights: Jesse Ventura on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Mark Dayton
MN Senatorial:
Al Franken
Amy Klobuchar

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011