Donald Trump – How to answer?
M.L. King — Opposition with Vision

Radio inter­view on Martin Luther King Holiday — January 16, 2017.
KGO Radio Host Ethan Bearman speaks with Miki Kashtan.
How Martin Luther King can help us find a way to respond to Donald Trump.
Excerpts of the inter­view tran­scri­bed by John Gather — January 30, 2017.

Beginning of transcript:

Ethan Bearman:
[after wel­co­m­ing his guest Miki Kashtan]
First of, is my assess­ment of Trump’s com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on style, you know, the fact that he bul­lies and he calls names, and it seems to me like a very typi­cal two or three-year-old type of beha­viour in respon­se to when he’s chal­len­ged.
To me this seems vio­lent in natu­re.
Am I total­ly inac­cu­ra­te with that?

Miki Kashtan:
Thank you for the ques­ti­on. Let me take a second to try to defi­ne vio­lence:
For me vio­lence is what hap­pens when peop­le have no opti­ons,
and they act for their own needs without regard for the effect.

Oh, inte­res­ting. I like that defi­ni­ti­on.
That is a good star­ting point. He seems to be acting that way.

On the basis of what I have seen it is hard for me to trust that Donald Trump cares for other people’s needs. And that is about him.
I don’t have much con­trol over what he will or will not do.
But whe­re I have choice is how I respond to it.


Martin Luther King took action.
He mobi­li­zed many, many peop­le around him becau­se of the power of his mes­sa­ge.
Which was about visi­on, which was about love, and which was about the cou­ra­ge to speak truth in a new way.

Nonviolence is not pas­si­vi­ty.
It is not about let­ting other peop­le do wha­te­ver they want to do,
and I am just going to be fine with it and passive.

Nonviolence is about respon­ding in a way, that cares for the who­le,
and is wil­ling to con­front what pre­vents the out­co­mes that we want,
but con­front it in a loving way.

[men­ti­ons arti­cle — Miki Kashtan, „Working for Change in a New Era“ Psychology Today.]
One thing (from the arti­cle) I was wan­ting for you to cla­ri­fy: When you say „Solutions that work for all“ …
don’t dif­fe­rent groups etc. have dif­fe­rent needs, other than food shel­ter etc. ….
I would wager in the USA, any solu­ti­on you pro­po­se, the­re is a group of peop­le who will say – that solu­ti­on does­n’t work for me.

What works based on my expe­ri­ence is that befo­re you start from solu­ti­ons,
start from having an under­stan­ding of the needs and of the goals that are the­re
on a deeper level than the spe­ci­fic this or that way of doing it – and also on buil­ding trust.
The level of trust in this coun­try is lower than zero.

Ethan: Yes. That is abso­lute­ly true.

I would start. If some­bo­dy asked me to do things and res­to­re trust, that’s what I would start with.
I would start with finding a way to let ever­y­bo­dy know that their needs matter.

My sen­se of why the elec­tion went the way that it did – is that somehow,
in the way that Donald Trump speaks,
the­re are major swa­thes of the popu­la­ti­on that pre­vious­ly felt left out
that somehow expe­ri­ence them­sel­ves being taken serious­ly.

Those of us who are frigh­te­ned by Donald Trump, and I am defi­ni­te­ly one of them, I think
we need to think long and hard – what is it that we did,
did­n’t give peop­le a sen­se of visi­on or a sen­se that they matter.

So, befo­re the solu­ti­on, the­re is the foun­da­ti­on of con­nec­tion and trust.

I did a pie­ce of work …. [Example of legis­la­ti­on work in Minnesota – topic Child Custody – crea­ted coope­ra­ti­ve legis­la­ti­on – pas­sed almost unani­mous­ly – even when the legis­la­tor was very divi­ded from the outset]

This is how it hap­pens.
When you talk about opi­ni­ons, peop­le will ent­rench themselves.

But when you bring peop­le tog­e­ther and say:
Here: What are the actu­al prac­ti­cal pro­blems that you have, and how are we going to sol­ve them?
They mana­ge to find solu­ti­ons becau­se they know their life depends on them.

[About an „acci­den­tal“ poli­ti­ci­an in England.]
They focus­sed on sol­ving pro­blems ins­tead of doing ideo­lo­gi­cal debating.

[about poli­ti­cal par­ties in the US]
I call it our bro­ken duo­po­ly. They liter­al­ly prey on our fears. Fear is a gre­at moti­va­tor.
It is moti­vat­ing you in loo­king for solu­ti­ons in dealing with who will be our 45th pre­si­dent.
They use it though, of cour­se, to ent­rench power for themselves.

We talk about the indi­vi­du­al though. I want to go back to that for a second.
Where do we as indi­vi­du­als start by loo­king insi­de our­sel­ves for what we need?
You talk about indi­vi­du­al focus.
What is the first step in that indi­vi­du­al focus?

The first step is to find
Where am I part of the pro­blem?
Where do I sepa­ra­te mys­elf from other peop­le who dis­agree with me?
And what can I do to find com­mu­na­li­ties, to find our shared humanity?

We are very habi­tua­ted to crea­ting an „other“ — and, if I may say so, you are doing it with Donald Trump. You are cal­ling him names. In the the way that I see it, it’s fue­ling that ener­gy rather than trans­forming it.

Absolutely. [Goes on to exp­lain his moti­va­ti­on for cal­ling Trump names.]
I am mouth­pie­ce for how some peop­le are fee­ling, and I felt like the­re are a lot of peop­le who are very frus­tra­ted, so I wan­ted to express it in a some­what humo­rous way,voicing the frus­tra­ti­on of many peop­le out there.

I get it. You have kind of like a public respon­si­bi­li­ty. It’s like you are in some posi­ti­on of lea­ders­hip as a radio talk show host, and so you are expres­sing what you are hea­ring from the people.

And one of the things, if we go back to Martin Luther King for a second.
One of the things he was fan­tastic at doing is
diver­ting ener­gy from oppo­si­ti­on to vision.

Instead of just oppo­sing what is hap­pe­ning, he is crea­ting a DREAM

His big speech is I HAVE A DREAM
His big speech is not I HAVE A COMPLAINT

Hahahahaha. That is a gre­at point.
We will have to con­ti­nue the con­ver­sa­ti­on ano­t­her time.
We are out of time on this one.
But I wan­na thank you so much, Dr. Miki Kashtan.

Thank you.

Thank you so much for your time today. I real­ly real­ly appre­cia­te it.
And of cour­se that’s food for thought for me then.
Of how to keep it enter­tai­ning, while expres­sing how many of us are fee­ling about the 45th pre­si­dent of the United States.