Slate continues its short features on the 2004 presidential candidates. Previous series covered the candidates' biographies, buzzwords, agendas, worldviews, best moments, worst moments, and flip-flops. This series assesses each candidate's most embarrassing quotes, puts them in context, and explains how the candidate or his supporters defend the comments. Today's subject is Dennis Kucinich.
Quote: "The energy of the stars becomes us. We become the energy of the stars. Stardust and spirit unite, and we begin: One with the universe. Whole and holy. From one source, endless creative energy, bursting forth, kinetic, elemental. We, the earth, air, water, and fire source of nearly 15 billion years of cosmic spiraling" (remarks to Praxis Peace Institute, June 9, 2002).
Quote: "In that moment I had a new understanding that this flag, as spangled with stars as a bolt of heaven itself, connects the United States with eternal principles of unity, of brotherhood, of sisterhood. … One bright star shines for hope. Another star for optimism. Another for well-being. One for freedom. One for abundance. One for creativity. One for togetherness. One for peace. One star to wish upon to create your highest aspirations, to make your dreams come true" (remarks at Redwood Sequoia Conference, Sept. 14, 2002).
Quote: "(Singing Softly) O, say can you see
O, Canada! glorious and free!
(Speaking) O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave
(Singing) O, Canada!
(Speaking) We stand on guard for thee
(Slowly and Quietly) O, Canada, we stand on guard for thee"
(remarks at Conference on Unity, Sovereignty, and Prosperity, Nov. 30, 2002).
Quote: "We're asking our countries' leaders to understand that the world is undivided. We're asking our countries' leaders to see the world as an interconnected whole. We're asking our countries' leaders to take a holistic view of the world and to allow the globe, the sphere of the Earth herself, to exist free from an assault from space" (remarks in Malibu, Calif., Feb. 23, 2002).
Charge: Kucinich is "at risk of being tagged the 'Moonbeam Congressman' " (Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 10, 2003).
Context: According to the Associated Press and the Plain Dealer, Shirley MacLaine is the godmother to Kucinich's daughter. She introduced Kucinich to Chris Griscom, who has become a "spiritual adviser" to Kucinich. Griscom, who reportedly helped MacLaine "communicate with trees," has founded two institutes "to teach people how to connect with their inner [selves], partially by helping them to remember their past lives." Carol Rosin, another Kucinich friend and supporter, "helped arrange to send the cremated remains of her friend LSD guru Timothy Leary into space."
Defense: It's unclear how any of this bears on what Kucinich would do as president. Kucinich told the AP, "People want someone who understands and has a higher concept of where our country is going."