Transcript: Wetiko and Politics, Dec 13 2006

Professor Jack Forbes, a Native American, who's Professor of Native American studies, wrote a book called "Columbus and other cannibals" which is brilliant and in it he used this word, 'wetiko', which is a native American word that, I forget which tribe or community, that describes basically the eating of the life force of another; It's a cannibalism that isn't literally cannibalism.

Wetiko and Politics, December 13 2006

Caller Ken suggested that we have to out-Rove Karl Rove. Here's how the conversation continued...

[Thom] Ken, you know what you're describing is this essential quandary. I wrote about it, there's a chapter about it in a book I wrote called "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight". I went out and interviewed, in Davis, California, interviewed professor Jack Forbes. He's a Native American, he's Professor of Native American studies there, and he wrote a book called "Columbus and other cannibals" which is brilliant and in it he used this word, 'wetiko', which is a native American word that, I forget which tribe or community, that describes basically the eating of the life force of another; It's a cannibalism that isn't literally cannibalism.

And he said that many of the Native Americans, when they were confronted by Europeans who were willing to kill them to steal their land were faced with basically three possibilities, and only three possibilities: they could run away, which many did - the Shoshone for example - there was a lot of territory, they could run and hide - number one. Number two, they could die, in other words they could just stand their ground and be killed and many were, many were; probably the majority were, or they could fight back. The problem with fighting back is that they would have to become their enemy. And as soon as they had done that they had already lost. And, I mean, consider that for a moment. Do we really want to become Republicans?

[Ken] That's just temporary.

[Thom] Well, see, that's a nice rationalisation, but I don't buy it. I think when you become a psychopath, you're a psychopath.

[Ken] Well, Al Gore allowed Tom Delay's thugs to disrupt the vote count in Florida.

[Thom] Sure, and he should have pointed it out and he should have fought back, but, you know, putting LSD in Ed Muskie's coffee and breaking in on the Democratic National Convention, the stuff that Nixon did, you know, negotiating with the Shah, not the Shah, with the Ayatollahs in Iran to hold the hostages like Reagan and Bush did, I mean, these kind of dirty tricks I would hope and pray that the Democratic Party will never go down that road. They just need to be better at pointing out what's really going on and telling the truth about it and not being afraid to speak up and speak out.

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