Showing posts with label Minneapolis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minneapolis. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Melting Pot

" When I came to the stage on election night to give my acceptance speech after thanking my supporters, I'd said this:  

"You know, it was back in '64 that a hero and an idol of mine beat Sonny Liston. 
He shocked the world. 
Well, now it's 1998 and the American dream lives on in Minnesota 'cause we SHOCKED THE WORLD!" 

Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, had been that hero and idol of mine growing up. I was at the impressionable age of twelve or thirteen, and naturally boxers are the epitome of toughness. Along came Muhammad, who broke the mold, reciting his poetry and predicting in what round he would win. Up until then, athletes were supposed to be modest people who were blessed by the Lord for having these wonderful physical bodies. Now here was this flashy, charismatic young black man proclaiming how pretty he was. Black men in America had never been pretty!

I had Clay's record album, I Am the Greatest! I'd memorized it. So I was ecstatic when Liston failed to come out for the eighth round. I always remembered Clay screaming, "We shocked the world!" after the fight, and that's all I could think of when I went out for my acceptance speech.

Not long after this, I was in the transition office of the Capitol when on my schedule appeared the name Harvey Mackay. [...] Harvey came walking in with a big gift-wrapped box, and I was thinking, "What the heck could this be about?"

Setting the box down, he said, "You'd better open that, governor."

Inside was a pair of red Everlast boxing gloves and, written in magic marker on one of them was:  

"To Governor Jesse Ventura—You Shocked the World. Muhammad Ali." 

I was stunned.

Harvey told me that Muhammad was watching TV the night I won.

Harvey then set it up for us to go visit Muhammad on his farm in Berrien Springs, Michigan. [...] We spent a whole afternoon with Muhammad. It was a dream come true for me to be sitting on a couch with the Champ, creating a friendship.

His wife, Lonnie, told me that he'd barely slept the night before, he was so excited I was coming. I was awestruck—Muhammad Ali, excited to see me?

As the world knows, Muhammad suffers today from Parkinson's disease. So you do most of the talking, and he answers more with his eyes. We walked out to his gym and got in the ring together.

It was there that Harvey talked me into reciting "I Am the Greatest" from the record album.

I hadn't heard that album for thirty years, but I did the whole thing from memory.

Muhammad was standing next to me and, when I finished, I could see a tear in his eye.

Isn't it ironic that a white kid from south Minneapolis would have a black Muslim for a hero?

Some people have said to me, "How can you, being a Vietnam veteran, look up to a guy like him who refused induction into military service?" 

 My response is, "Because Muhammad is a man who gave up everything for his convictions. He was willing to sacrifice the greatest title in the world for his beliefs."

You know damned well that Ali would never have seen Vietnam. He'd have done his boxing exhibitions on the military bases.

But he wasn't going to play that game. I have tremendous respect for that.

Something I noticed when I walked into his home: On a shelf in his living room, in equal prominence, are the Koran and the Bible. Obviously, they both carry a deep meaning for him. I imagine he reads both.

For people who don't believe that Ali truly believes, they're wrong.

Like I said, he's a man of conviction.

Always has been, and always will be. "

Former Minnesotta Gov. Jesse "The Body" Ventura


The last week of the victorious election campaign of 1998. 
Jesse's opponents in the Governor's race Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Skip Humphrey seemed to not realize the gathering storm of voter discontent with the two-party system that would soon sweep them into the dustbin of history. 

Much like the oblivious leaders of the Democrat and Republican parties today. Do they think the two-party dictatorship on the national level will last forever? 

Just ask Skip Humphrey and Norm Coleman. 

It won't.


The biggest third party election upset in the US in 50 years! 
The most Ventura did in pre-election polls was 20%, but the third party voters came out of the woodwork and voted Ventura in. The news announcers were a bit stunned by it all. 
Ventura's opponents Democrat Skip Humphrey and Republican Norm Coleman were also stunned, and refused to concede long after Vetura was declared the winner. 
Ventura's victory speech that night is uploaded separately.