Transcript prepared by Fielding M. McGehee, III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
Part 1: Radio interview with Jim Jones
Interviewer: Tomorrow morning about five o’clock. Just tell us about that.
Jones: Yes, we feel very concerned about this, uh, this thing that’s in the Fresno Four. Uh, we feel it’s the beginning of crippling of the press. And we saw no other group taking action, so we felt we could use our (unintelligible phrase), and anyone is welcome to call, if they will, it’s 922-6418. (Softly) Uh, no, sorry. (unintelligible phrase) —broadcasting two weeks ahead.
Interviewer: Oh, I see.
Jones: —cut me— We’ll cut me off. Start me with—
2nd male: Mike, could we re— react the tape?
Jones: I know what I’m doing.
Interviewer: ‘S okay.
Prokes: Oh, no, th— you were going to play that today, though, weren’t you? We were going to u— use this on today’s news?
Interviewer: If he wants to do it again, we can do it again. ‘S okay. We[‘ll] use it tomorrow morning, too.
2nd male: Yeah, see, this segment— this segment will go for today.
Jones: Oh, I— I see, I see.
Interviewer: This’ll play tomo— this afternoon and tomorrow morning.
Jones: Oh— That’s why— I was play— playing for two weeks, and thinking, what the hell am I doing?
Interviewer: Don’t think of the time frame at all, okay? Through— through editing, you know, playing with your voice, and taking a little different (tape edit) tomorrow. Okay.
Jones: Yes, we’re concerned about the— the— the status of the Fresno Four. Uh, it seems um, a restriction on the press that we can’t tolerate. Uh, if— if people have to give their sources, how is anyone going to come out if they uh, uh, (mumbles)—
Prokes: He’s been up all night. (Laughs)
Jones: It’s started, yeah—
Prokes: Two nights.
Interviewer: Two nights.
Jones: —as you can see my bloodshot eyes. Uh, let’s start again. I think I know— Let’s start again, then I’ll be in better shape.
Jones: (unintelligible short sentence) Want to ask me the question again?
Interviewer: Okay. The— Evidently you’re going to be taking a bus ride tomorrow about five o’clock in the morning, and be going out to Fresno. Why don’t you tell us why?
Jones: Yes, we have a few hundred of Peoples Temple going, and we hope that others will respond also. They call our free legal su— services office at uh, 922-6418, area code 415. We’re concerned about the status of the Fresno Four. Uh— We see this as the beginning of crippling of the press. If indeed [the] press has to give their sources, uh, particularly in reference to uh, problems of corruption in government and large corporations— as we’ve seen recently, this gentleman who’s— uh, Jack Anderson said had some information about the death of [former president] Jack Kennedy, and we find him in Biscayne Bay in Florida in a tank, a tub, buried, uh, cemented to the bottom, and he happened to float up, we uh, we’re very much concerned that we— that if we allow these types of infringements to begin, uh, we will not have a free press. As I believe I read the other day, 98% of the world doesn’t have a free press at this time.
Interviewer: Yes. That’s true. I was— I happened— One of the newsmen and I are constantly going out, running around and that we’re— we’re hoping to do someday — maybe in about six months — a sixty-minute show on freedom, and like, what’s happened to it.
Jones: Good idea.
Interviewer: Yeah. We happen to have Harry Reames in, who uh, was convicted of his participation in Deep Throat, but we see that as raising a very important social issue as to— we’ll eventually deal with that someday, maybe we’ll have you back. Jim, the first question, uh— I wanted to just ask you a couple of rapid-fire questions, and that is, how old are you?
Jones: I’m 44—
Jones: —One tries to forget at this time.
Interviewer: How— how long have you been uh, within the religious community?
Jones: Very young. I started um, uh, almost a working minister at the beginning of college, since I was 18.
Interviewer: I see, um— You’ve graduated with theology degree of some sort, I assume?
Jones: Yes. (unintelligible under man’s completion of question) Disciples of Christ. I’m ordained with the Disciples of Christ, which is a comprehensive denomination of two million, we include the FBI director [Clarence M. Kelley], uh, [former President] Lyndon Baines Johnson family, several congressmen, both liberal and conservative, uh— Each church is autonomous—
Interviewer: I see.
Jones: (unintelligible word) the framework.
Interviewer: That’s one of the things that I’ve noticed about the Peoples Temple. Um, how long have you been in San Francisco?
Jones: Oh, years. I tend, as I say, to forget the years now. I guess we’ve been here eight years.
Interviewer: About eight years. Okay. Just wanted to get some of the preliminaries out of the way.
Interviewer: First question I wanted to ask you is, tell me about your God. (Pause) Your God.
Jones: (unintelligible under question; could be “My God—”) My God is Love. I see Love, uh, God-Love to be interchangeable. I uh, I don’t re— I don’t personally uh, cope very well with the anthropomorphic concept of deity. I believe the highest worship to God, if there’s indeed existence of God, a— a benevolent deity, would be uh, service to your fellow man.
Interviewer: I see. So in other words, you tend to see the face of Christ himself in the people that you serve and work with.
Jones: You— You verbalized it better than I.
Interviewer: Good. I have a theology minor at the University of Santa Clara, so— I was going to be a Jesuit at one time. (Pause) There’s been a movement on— I— I tend to just date it in my own mind, since uh, Pope John XXIII and Vatican II, and that the move that’s going on of— of world ecumini— ecumenism, where the ev— the Catholic Church, which of course has been the most strict, is beginning to lower the barriers and beginning to communicate with other religions. You saw what happened in Philadelphia recently, where Episcopalians were invited, and rabbis and things like this. It seems to me there’s a movement on, that religion no longer has to do with necessarily a church service at all, that it’s moving out into the community, it’s getting involved with people on their level, not within the church’s level. Is that where the Peoples Temple is basically moving, or has moved?
Jones: We hope so. We uh— As you may be familiar, we have free legal services and free medical facilities, uh, which includes diathermy, ultrasonic treatments, physical therapist under the auspices of— of Dr. [Carlton] Goodlett, who is, you know, is a publisher here. He’s our clinical doctor. We feel that, that a church must be human-service related. We have um, day care programs, uh, we give free meals, uh, we offer food from our commissary to people upon request as they come to us, we have even a woodshop connected with our shop, printing shop where the Peoples Forum, you may or may not have seen it, through the community, to several thousands. I think we uh, distributed about 600,000. It’s small, but we uh, keep it con— with— with issues, social issues, very much concerned about social issues. We have arts and crafts, and field trips and geriatric homes and a home for exceptional children, retarded children, uh, we give convalescent care to our members. Uh, we— we do see that it’s very important to be practical, and I’m heartened, uh, very heartened by what Pope John created. Uh, it seemed to be such a terrible misfortune, we only had him a few years, because he brought a spirit into the field of religion, the like of which I have never seen in my time.
Interviewer: Yeah. For sure. For sure. I don’t think we’ve seen it since, either, if I might add that.
Jones: I concur.
Interviewer: Jim, you’re involved in a— okay, free legal services, I know you— you’ve been helping Vietnam veterans, old people and transportation, you’re into just about every issue that I’ve ever dealt with in terms of public affairs programming here. No need to tell you that a good many of the problems that are involved with, dealing with people in these things is politics, money. That’s where it all comes from. I mean, on the local level, you have the mayor’s office, the board. On the state, you have that bureaucracy, and federal— It’s always been said that the church should be very much separated from the functions of the state. That doesn’t seem to be true anymore— Or does it? What’s your own feeling about— How involved should the church become in the community per se?
Jones: Well, if the church becomes very much involved in partisan politics, it will lose its tax status. And I suspect that that’s going to happen to a number. I’ve read of some in our denomination, and there’s a Catholic church that’s been mery mu— very much involved in the farm workers’ movement in the south, in the peninsula somewhere, has been in trouble with the tax department, because it— it— it’s a very narrow description of what a church can do. I disagree thoroughly. One tax uh, position in— in one department was uh, [the] church must confine itself to praying, singing and preaching. I would think that Jesus Christ would be disgraced by that. I’m a devotee of Jesus Christ, and he was a humanist, an ethical humanist to me in every degree. His judgment of whether one had— was truly Christian, of the Judeo-Christian tradition, was whether one had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, taken in those that were homeless, and they— I think his brother James embodied pure religion undefiable before God was to minister to orphans and widows. I— I— I can’t uh, understand how the church could be any other than involved, but I don’t think the church should be used as a— a political base to gain power, uh, for itself. If— if indeed, it can bring about change, but not be involved in any particular political bloc. I am opposed to the church being involved with the state in that sense. I don’t— I— I think, indeed, we’ve had a historic precedent of separation of the church and state, and I think that’s wise.
Interviewer: Um-hmm. Um-hmm. Jim, what about the impact on you personally? Now, all the things I’ve been looking at, you’ve won awards in a lot of ways— well, like— as is Cecil Williams [minister at Glide Methodist Church], you are the center of attention, and you can’t help it. You’re aware— It’s sad, in a lot of ways. Obviously, there are dangers involved in that, too. Any person’s, like spiritually, where your head’s at, getting egotistical and things like that. How do you handle all the attention and all the— all the— the needs that are put upon you to solve? How do you deal with that personally?
Jones: You see so many needs, that I don’t know how anyone could get egotistical about it, because you realize that all you do is just a drop in the bucket, compared to the vast needs in America today. I see democracy in the balances, uh, around the— where our church is located in the Fillmore, there’s a great deal of deterioration, and (unintelligible word), even though we have a drug rehabilitation program, and that the church is open 24 hours a night, people can come off the street and find shelter, how could one become egotistical in times like these? We’re not making enough progress about meeting the needs of people. Poverty’s on the increase. Malnourish— malnutrition, most of our youth— our children, state of ecology, I think, an apathy about uh, social issues in gener— general. I— I have never been egotistic in regard to what I’m doing, at least.
Interviewer: In talking with a lot of people — my own parents, friends of mine, and things like that — it seems that they’ve been so overwhelmed— I guess possibly this is part of the media’s responsibility, with the fact that there are so many social problems that seem to be getting worse all the time, that they just kind of said, “My God, it is just so massive to deal with, I give up. Why even try”? How do you resist that kind of attitude in people?
Jones: It’s very difficult. Very difficult. We try to keep active. The old uh, colloquialism, uh, that the uh, idle mind’s a devil’s workshop— One thing that helps me is just keep very, very busy, and I keep a schedule of twenty-some hours a day. I— I think that uh, it’s a dangerous phenomenon, when we read, what was it, yesterday, that uh, perhaps only 30% of the electorate’s going to vote, uh, and I can see good reason for this, see a lot of glib things coming from politicians, we need— we need uh, dramatic things proposed, and not uh, politicians trying to get the pulse uh, of what people want, but to say from their heart what they really feel. And if they’re wrong, not uh, not be so concerned about how it’s going to affect them in the public eye. Uh, I— I can see reason for apathy. After all, we’ve gone through Watergate, and we still a lot of vested interests, we see people uh, at the top echelons not paying their fair amount of taxes, not carrying the burden they ought to, corruption is still— we read about it every day, coming out about this politician or that— although I’m uh, very encouraged— That’s why I’m very deeply con— uh, concerned that the media not be infringed upon. That’s all we have in this country. We would’ve never known about Watergate if it hadn’t been for someone being able to keep his source — Deep Throat — ‘cause I’m sure Deep Throat would’ve not spoken what he had to say if he had been revealed. And— and as I said, I personally have had death threats upon me, and I’m doing a very limited work, uh, what— what a person like that would have, who was willing to step forward and reveal uh, hidden secrets of corruption in high places, we just must not set back idly and allow the press to be restricted. Even though there are responsible pressmen at times uh, who— who misuse that, uh, that misuse their sources, and say things that are not true about this group or that group or another, I— I still feel that the confidentiality of sources is a vital issue today.
Interviewer: Well, can’t argue with you there. Jim, time and time again, just— and it just amazes me, I— I see stories of a— uh, let me, let me try to think of recent things. There was an animal shelter that was out of money. Peoples Temple comes forward, I think it was $5000, if memory serves me correctly. There was a— a program to uh, offer transportation to senior citizens, I— as I remember, I think Vietnam vets were involved, only jobs they could get, the program was running out of money, People Temple comes up with it. Where in the hell do you get the thousands of dollars that you’re constantly coming up with all the time to help program?
Jones: We have a large membership, the membership’s getting close to 9000 active members. We don’t have a— a regimen of tithing that’s required. Some do, because they see a lot of results from what they’re— what they’re giving and— amazing, some little seniors are the most beautiful part of our ministry. They’ll get out and have a bake sale or a rummage sale. A lot of things like that. We receive no resources outside of our church. Now there is going to be, I guess a— a testimonial, much to my chagrin on fo— on the 25th, uh, I asked them after I became aware of it to change it to a benefit. And I suppose those that buy tickets at that affair which the lieutenant governor [Mervyn Dymally] and the mayor [George Moscone] and various other congressmen will be coming, uh, that will be the first time, I believe, in our history, that we’ve ever received any outside resources. We are self-supporting. We have— We have no governmental um— we’re not dependent upon any agency. That gives us a, a great deal of independence to be ourselves.
Interviewer: Umm-hmm. You just more or less, when you need the money, just get the word out and people just go to work and that’s how it happens.
Jones: Yes. Yes. (unintelligible phrase) like with um, Dennis Banks, for instance, when his wife was uh, suffering with a little baby, Ka-mook in jail, our— we— we presented it— him to the congregation, and um, our people are generous. They’re good, uh, beyond uh, any— any people I’ve ever served as pastor. Uh— We raised, I think, $20,000 to get— get her free.
Interviewer: My God.
Jones: I think she’s going now, before her trial, I don’t know what the status of the trial is—
Interviewer: I think you’re correct. Yeah. Yeah, I do remember that. He did uh, get off on, I think, what was the— the biggest charge that was facing him, just a couple of weeks ago though—
Jones: He was one of the most unusual cases to, uh—
Interviewer: You’re telling me. There was a deathbed confession that absolved him evidently, that the person that was murdered said it wasn’t him.
Jones: Yes. Yes, yes. And another thing. Many people we help never come back. You know, they get their— their assistance, and you never even get a thank you. This man came back with a whole, uh, group of his uh, tribe— and insisted on coming back, and thanking us before the press, which we didn’t require at all. He called a press conference in our church after the fact that we’d assisted him, when he was still under a lot of pressure. I saw uh, a go— a good man there, I thought, a very good man.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah. He surely has a good deal of influence now. I— I’ve— I’ve had a chance to meet him. He is a fascinating man. (Pause) (Tape edit?) Just getting my head together here. We could stay for hours. I want to go for the most important things. I’m writing my report here, okay, so, trying to think of things I want to move to. Jim, I did want to bring up Vietnam vets with you, because that seems to me to be an issue that’s died that is still here, it’s just that it’s not being discussed, so therefore, it doesn’t exist, because of just how media and society are nowadays. I’m under the impression — I happened to talk with somebody at San Francisco State a couple of weeks ago — that uh, there are a good many Vietnam vets still w— without employment, uh, into drugs and a whole lot of other things. What have you been seeing at Peoples Temple?
Jones: Yes, yes. A whole— I don’t like to— to see the number of young people that are still on drugs. Some say it’s improved. I can’t see it in our quarter particular— particularly. But it has improved. It’s a— It’s a terrible shame that we would have called our young people to be involved in a war that we have since questioned the morality of that war, and not provide opportunity for them. That’s what I saw in the Senior Citizens Escort Service here, black, white, uh, Mexican, Chinese, all these young men going beyond the call of duty, helping— I think there was uh, primarily older white senior citizens, and they gave uh, uh— it almost— it was like they became children to them. They gave after hour, overtime, um— uh, it’s, it’s [a] shame, I— I think that we’re going to have to face some basic changes in our society, a more egalitarian type of society.
Interviewer: And that leads to my next question. (Pause) Can we provide for all of our people with— well, uh, they call it capitalism, um, at least by my college training, I’m— I’m finding it very hard to fit the definition of capitalism in how this country is run, because I’m not seeing capitalism, I don’t see like free enterprise—
Jones: No, no. I really don’t either.
Interviewer: Can we continue with this kind of economy and deal with the domestic problems that we’re facing, including ecology and jobs and stuff like that? I don’t think we can, with the profit motive being so important now.
Jones: I’m afraid not, and particularly, as you say, free enterprise doesn’t exist. My wife [Marceline] is with the state department of health, uh, her official (unintelligible word) inspection of hospitals, convalescent centers. Uh, when she said, the— in the day when s— uh, the small businessperson existed, there was a lot of quality care. Now, she’s into situations that are indescribable, where people are uh, a piece of cordwood. Uh, she finds uh, patients with uh, (unintelligible word— a drug name?), uncared for, uh, it’s just like uh, a, a machine process. And uh, we see this in every phase of uh, of our life, that the small businessperson has indeed been put out of business, and the multinationals grow, and they’re (small laugh) involved in the overthrow of governments across the sea, uh, and who knows their power, can’t even begin to comprehend their power, influence or their— their wealth. I— I— I indeed agree with you. We’re going to have to have some sort of welfare capitalism, better than what we have now. The system is not adequate, and we’re going to have to see some basic changes, we’re going to have to certainly see that people at the top echelons pay a— a fairer share of their taxes. Every day we read it, even the (stumbles over words) the present candidates, uh, they’re paying less taxes than I do, and I make, uh, my mi— my wages are minimal (small laugh) compared to theirs. I read one of them — I don’t want to go into the name — but his taxes, he paid less taxes than I did last year.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah. (Pause) This— I was— I was going to bring up the fact that— that the politicians seem to be preying on that idea, too. I mean, uh, what’s the big pitch now in terms of taxes? We’re going to reduce them for the middle class and all this. It seems to me like the— the middle class is being inundated politically at least with the idea that, well, the system can work, and we realize you need a break, and we’re all, of course, campaign that you get it. But it seems to me, in looking at it over the long view, especially the Nixon Administration, that [former President Richard] Nixon worked very hard in convincing the middle class that it was the poor people they needed to be afraid of. Not the Pentagon, not Washington, and not the corporations. I— Uh, being a mi— a middle class member, whether or not I like it, I’ve never agreed with that, because I don’t see the poor people having been born and raised in the flatlands of Oakland as my enemies. They’re my brothers and sisters, that’s who I grew up with. How do we go about helping the middle class taxpayer, who does carry the financial burden of this country— how do we demonstrate to him that his money is in fact better spent in drug rehabilitation programs as against prisons, is better spent at providing jobs as against welfare and unemployment checks. I mean, how do we con— begin to make them see that that is a better investment of their money, as to what it is now?
Jones: Well, if we— if we take a look at some of the society of Scandinavian countries and see the modest amount of crime, uh— it’s hardly safe to walk the streets in most any neighborhood, because the environmental circumstances uh, force people to violence. I— I— I don’t believe in um, uh, prison syst— our prison system, or death penalties, I don’t think that’s the answer. I think we need to create a better social situation. We have had people come to us in our church community that were one on the most troubled individual— individuals, people that they said their pathology was uh, psycho— uh, psychopathic. One young man, I think, that we just sent to our agricultural mission, um, he’s been there now six months, he— he took delight in cutting uh, dogs’ heads off and chickens’ heads off, and they said there was no cure for him. But given a new setting, and opportunity, uh, we haven’t had a problem. The people there in that agricultural mission, professional people, say it’s amazing, it’s almost like a, a person that’s been reborn.
I happen to believe that social conditions do shape the individual. I remember one time when I was the foreman of the grand jury of uh, Mendocino County, they brought before me this uh, I’ve forgotten, Main, I think, that raped uh, a young woman [Susan Bartholomew] and left her, it was a terrible case, and killed the— the son of a district attorney, and— and left her p— paralyzed. But uh, in receiving witnesses, when I had to hand down uh, a writ of indictment, as the foreman of the grand jury, one witness came up before me and he said, this man chased me for about forty miles and bumped my car and kept trying to push me off the road, and he said, finally he turned around and went back uh, I saw these young— these young people walking on the road, their car had been stranded. And I said, what’d you do, sir? He said, well, I went home and I had a mi— a milk toddy, I think he said, and prayed. And I said, why didn’t you stop at the next uh, next uh, door. Said how close was it. He said, oh, about a quarter of a mile. Didn’t occur to him that he had a moral responsibility. And then when I got him to Main’s background, strapped in a chair, uh, his dad, uh, an alcoholic, due to uh, handicaps in his physical life from the war, on welfare, degraded environment, and strapped in a chair, and his dad took it up of a typical syndrome of battering the child and battering his wife, uh, what— uh, what’s going to happen to any animal when you beat it and deprive it, like the poor dog left a whi— a while ago, uh, we read in the news yesterday, uh, left for days without food, and the little baby laying there still. That wasn’t a vicious animal. It was a starving animal. And I— I— I don’t know what is the matter with our society that wants to uh, think that we can remedy [the] situation by just killing people off, because as long as these ghettoes exist, and underprivileged situations are there, we’re still going to have problems. Certainly I’m— I’m afraid of governmental uh, bureaucracy. [Thomas] Jefferson had a point uh, perhaps, when he said the government governs least governs best— uh, governs best that governs least, rather. I uh, I know there are dangers going down the road to uh, government um, involvement, but (laughs) when I see uh, the lives that are wasted, and uh, the— the youth that are just spaced out, uh, I think we better take some chances uh, on a government that will reach uh, reach the people on all levels.
Interviewer: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. Could you define for me what you believe moral responsibility is in 1976?
Jones: In what regard? I never like to speak just off the cuff on that, that doesn’t moa—
Jones: —that doesn’t bring forth anything from me, I’m sorry, that’s a (unintelligible word) question you hit me with, I— well, I don’t know how, what—
Jones: I don’t know what you’re saying, probably. (Pause)
Interviewer: What is my obligation, as a member of this society, or any individual’s obligation to the people around him? The reason I ask this question — let me tell you a very quick story — there’s a little uh—
Jones: That’d help me.
Interviewer: —a teenager, okay, in London, this happened a couple of weeks ago, who was born with a tic, he had a nervous tic and he shook—
Jones: —and they drowned him.
Interviewer: And he was deliberately disliked. But there was a very long story on this.
Jones: (unintelligible word) Italian— No, no one (unintelligible phrase as interviewer talks)—
Interviewer: In front of a thousand people, he was drowned and beaten— Okay, uh, we do hear of cases like this, a very famous case of [Kitty Genovese] that woman in New York that was robbed and beaten in an alley, all these people watched, you know—
Jones: And somebody getting ready to jump out of a building, they all stand down and say, “Jump, jump, jump.”
Interviewer: Stand— Why? I— Again, I put the question to you. What is our moral responsibility to our fellow men and women?
Jones: (Softly) Yi. (Short laugh) That— that is a big—
Interviewer: Where does it begin and end?
Jones: It ends in the society, uh, which I’m a little hesitant to— Are we on the air?
Interviewer: Yeah. I won’t use it if you don’t want to.
Jones: (Laughs) I don’t— I think you’re going to have to get into a society that teaches some form of cooperativism, uh, call it socialism or what, I’d rather not use that word, because I’ve had so many death threats on my family even. I— I don’t see how we’re going to possibly get cooperation, when we teach competition, competition, competition. If you want people to uh, assist and be responsible, we’re going— in the school, everywhere, we’re going to have to emphasize a cooperative society rather than so much competition.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah. Is there any program—
Jones: If you ever ask the question again, I’ll give that phase of it.
Interviewer: (Laughs) I’d like to try to move on to uh, something that— Do you have any projects that are ongoing right now that you’d like to talk about?
Jones: I never like to talk very much about what we’re doing.
Interviewer: (Lightly) Ah, but you gotta. See, that’s part of your obligation to the community, see? Now that I’ve got you here, you gotta do that.
Jones: Well, what do you know that we ought to talk about?
Temple member: Well, I think that the— the medical, the— the programs for seniors, the medical care, and whatever the need is, uh, legal help.
Jones: You might stick— It might— might be able to get some of these uh, middle class people less scared if we would emphasize that the church could do one hell of a lot, if it would be, uh, do— have a lot of voluntary efforts. All this money wasted. See, our Temple is — you should see it — is the most used building in the world. We have ping pong set up in the sanctuary, we move the chairs, we have folding chairs, uh, we use for recreation. There always are free shows available, every night, get the kids off the street. And crafts and games and all sorts of things. Woodwork going on, printing shop where the people can learn training, printing. We have a radio broadcast, so we can get youth involved in engineering and broadcasting. Um, uh— Perhaps if they heard that, they— they’re always griping about more government encroa— croachment, maybe uh, maybe uh, some emphasis on that would— How much a building can be used, and these abominable institutions, they— they build the damnable things, you know, miles high, cathedral, the steeple that has no use, or vast uh, auditorium that’s never used but one hour on Sunday. It’s an abomination.
Interviewer: Yeah. The edifice complex, as Governor [Jerry] Brown has talked about it.
Interviewer: Um— It’s funny how uh, you’re bringing up, uh— we don’t use our— our physical resources very well. Little wonder that we’re not using our human resources very well anymore.
Jones: I read where a church spe— spent a hundred thousand dollars for tapestry, uh, someplace on the ra— around the choir. Uh, tha— that’s a crime.
Jones: It’s just criminal.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah. I remember when uh, the new cathedral was built on Geary, uh, one of the priests I had at Santa Clara wrote a very stinging letter to the bishop. I mean, he really risked a lot in complaining about it—
Jones: I’m sure he did.
Interviewer: (unintelligible word as Jones interrupts) —all the millions he could have spent there, he just could have handed out to the community and he would’ve (unintelligible under Jones)—
Jones: It still goes on.
Interviewer: What about that? How hard is it to uh, to— You have to— Now you have no choice. You have to deal with, with government agencies and stuff like that. What kind of reception do community-based organizations like yours get from, like, the city of San Francisco, the state, the fed?
Jones: We don’t uh— We don’t— Being that we’re not su— uh, the supply— or— What am I saying here? What do I want to say? We’re not uh, funded.
Jones: We’re not funded. We have very little connection. We do have a credit bureau. It doesn’t fall under my immediate jurisdiction. We have uh, some accountants who are very, very fine. One woman who volunteers her time. Mrs. Leroy [Laetitia Leroy, aka Tish Leroy]. She has more experience in the contact with the government. But being that we seek no assistance from the government, we really don’t have that problem.
Jones: I don’t— I really don’t know how to relate to that.
Interviewer: Could I ask your appraisal of Chief [Charles] Gain’s policies, in terms of the San Francisco Police Department?
Jones: I think Chief Gain is a very human person. I— I— Sensitive. I think he’s ne— he’s necessary in law enforcement. I never could understand all the ballyhoo abo— about the flag. ‘Cause I’ve seen so many people of late carry the flag in, in, for instance, Boston, attack uh, some minority person who’s a member of the government with a— ah, use it as a spear. Some of the people who wave the flag the most uh, hide behind hate, uh, to the degree that I’m not able to comprehend. I’ve seen in Chief Gain, though— I’m not a personal friend. He has be— spoken at our church. I— I— I think that the man has a uh, a care for people, and goodness knows that we need that in law enforcement. There’s quite an alienation, particularly a— amongst minorities and poor whites, uh, in reference to law enforcement. They don’t trust. And when we have a chief with a heart, that has programs that uh, are more concerned about rehabilitation than uh, punishment, I— I think that’s good.
Interviewer: I do too. You mentioned media when you first walked in here. Do you want to talk about that a little bit? I— I— Obviously you’re very concerned—
Jones: And you asked me about moral responsibility too, if you want me to get back on that, I’ll— I’ll try it—
Interviewer: Do you want to try it again?
Jones: I— I’ll try it again, yes, if you want me to.
Interviewer: Okay. Let’s see what you— I’d like to try to get a working definition of what— what you believe to be the moral responsibility of people towards each other in this day and age.
Jones: Well, uh, uh, the Christian concept was, that we uh— the Judeo-Christian concept, in fact, I think it runs through all the great world faith[s], is that we are our brother and — not to be chauvinistic — sister’s keeper. I think that there’s been too much stress placed upon competition, from the school up, and in sports and everything. There ought to be more emphasis upon cooperation. I think that’s why we see people, uh, passed by, uh, uh. The man I read in Jet uh, yesterday, that was hung on a road sign. Fortunately, it didn’t happen to break his neck, but a thousand people passed that man without even stopping. Some even backed their cars up and looked at it and went on. Only one person called the police, but no one stopped to assist him. And you were mentioning earlier, the incident in England — ‘cause America’s not the only place that has a problem with prejudice and apathy and indifference — how a thousand people can stand and watch a young Italian uh, who it happens to be the victim of prejudice there— And by the way, other ethnic groups should show— have concern. Prejudice does not just limit itself to Chicano or Indian or Mexican, because in England, Italians are very much uh, the victims of prejudice. But none of those thousand people came forward until money was offered, I believe. Uh— This, this is appalling. And I think you’re going to get that, until — from the media and from the church and from the schools, every area — cooperation is taught, and uh, some value is placed upon that type of assistance of people.
Interviewer: Hmm. Mike? (Pause) How much more time do we have on the tape? (Pause) About two minutes. I’d like to try very quickly in about two minutes: What about local Bay Area media? Are you satisfied that we’re doing our job in terms of conducting open discussions? And I’m talking about whether prime time news of what’s going on in communities, both the good and the bad. What’s been your impression of our job?
Jones: I think the Bay is better than anyplace I’ve seen, but it’s never quite adequate, I’m sure, uh, compared to the vast need that we have, to discuss the problems that are before us. Um— I— As I— I— Unfortunately, being a working minister of about 20 hours a day, I don’t get to listen to the news enough, but um, I see a better job all the time being done.
Interviewer: You do. You do. What about the uh, integration of the media itself? You mentioned, as you first walked in here, that you’re seeing more minorities.
Jones: Yes, I was pleased to see a minority person interviewing me. Um— I have not had the occasion to look through this uh, particular uh, uh, radio station, but I think it’s very important that we uh, see minorities at every level, uh, because unfortunately in the past, we see often uh, some tokenism, but at the top will be uh, the white male still prevalent. But I think again, I see integration at all levels of the media better here. In the Midwest, when I was traveling through— we take a bus tour every year to take underprivileged people to see Washington and places of interest and beautiful parts of America, uh, you— you can go through many cities and never see a minority face as a communicaster at all.
Interviewer: Wow. That is interesting.
Interviewer: We’ve run out of time. I did want to have a chance to talk to you. I think we’re going to leave it right there. At 10:54, we did all right. (Calls out) Mike? We’ll stop it there. How’s your voice feeling?
Jones: Well, my voice is—
Interviewer: You okay?
Jones: —feels all right, but it sounds horrible, (unintelligible word) people to listen to it.
Interviewer: You’ve got a hell of a good uh— tape recorder here.
Interviewer: This is considered one of the best.
Movements, then tape turned off.
Part 2: Phone call
Man: Oh yes. I uh— You wrote a letter to the paper or something?
Temple member: Pardon me?
Man: Pardon you? Can’t you hear me? You wrote a let—
Temple member: I didn’t understand you.
Man: You wrote a letter to the paper? Editor?
Temple member: To which paper, sir?
Man: Oh, the Examiner or Chronicle. (unintelligible word), I’m trying to find the name here. Oh, hi—
Temple member: (unintelligible)
Man: A Michael Prokus wrote, I guess. Prokes?
Temple member: I see. Uh, he’s not in now, but your phone call sounded like you needed a call back, so I uh, I took that liberty to return the telephone call.
Man: Well, that’s what it’s for, is to call back (unintelligible word). I didn’t care who it was. I’m looking for altruists, though. I’ve waited— written 18,000 letters regarding urban problems all over the world, and no one seems to care, and I’ve distributed a hundred thousand flyers, trying to promote the golden rule of constructive sharing, minimize money, and uh—
Temple member: Sounds good.
Man: It seems everyone prefers guns and gold and react to problems.
Temple member: Uh— How did you find out about our letter? Was it something you read in the paper?
Man: (unintelligible phrase). If it was in the paper, I read it in the paper, right?
Temple member: I see. I see. Well, our problem—
Man: But great minds discuss ideas. What’s better than moral health, maximum sharing for mental and physical health.
Temple member: What’d that letter appear, I’m trying to—
Man: Is the hum better?
Temple member: Pardon me?
Man: Is it— Pardon me? Can’t you say, what? (Pause) Is the hum better than moral health?
Temple member: I’m trying to—
Man hangs up.
Part 3: TV newscast
TV announcer: —demonstration tomorrow in Fresno, on behalf of the four Fresno Bee reporters now in jail for refusing to reveal news sources to the courts.
Jones: We’re very much concerned that we— that they— if we allow these types of infringements to begin, uh, we will not have a free press. And, as I believe I read the other day, 98% of the world doesn’t have a free press at this time.
TV Announcer: Jim Jones, pastor of the Peoples Temple. Six ten notes of the Berkeley one-act theater company is presenting a Tennessee—
Woman: The applications—
Man: The applications for—
Part 5: Conversation between Mike Prokes and Kay
Prokes: Mike Prokes.
Kay: Hi, Mike.
Prokes: How you doing?
Kay: Oh, fine.
Prokes: Haven’t heard from you for a while. Jim just wanted to know what your attitudes and feelings are at this point.
Kay: I just walked in the door from school.
Prokes: Oh, you did?
Kay: But uh, in any event, uh— (Pause) No excuses, I mean, I was going to come anyway, but I mean it’s just this is why you called, because uh— (Pause) You know, I mean my attitude is okay, it’s just that uh— (Pause) (Sighs) You know, I don’t uh— I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it and uh— you know, my health originally at stake, and you know, pretty much, I’m still under the doctor’s uh, care now, and uh, I just really think it’s just too much for me and uh, I know that I can’t, you know, continue to be a part of uh, PC [Planning Commission] and not, you know, be there and stuff, and I just know that, you know, I can’t hack that. I mean, my nerves just cannot take it, and then get up and go to work and— and go to school and carry on the normal functions that I have. I just can’t do it. So uh— (Sighs) I don’t know. You know, I mean, my feeling at this point is that, I mean, I— I know what the obligations are and I would just rather not even be Council, you know, because I just cannot handle that. I mean, emotionally, I just cannot handle it. (Pause) And I mean, you know, I thought about, well, can you handle it, is it, you know, the kind of thing, can you handle it and— or are you just saying that you can’t? And uh, you know, when I reflect on the fact that, you know, I was sha— I was shaking to pieces sometimes when I walked out of that room, you know, just from being up so long and that period of work and the whole thing for a whole period of day, I— It wasn’t a question of whether you wanted to or not. To me, it was just a question of whether my body could, you know, continue to hack that.
Prokes: Yeah, why uh, why would— how does be— why would being a counselor uh, hurt?
Kay: It wouldn’t hurt. It’s just that I know that there’s certain demands that are made on counselors, you know. And I just don’t think it’s fair to, you know, ask not to have those demands put on me, you know, and still, you know, maintain the same position. I’m not saying that— you know, I’m saying that I’m willing to do that. I’m just saying that (Pause) I would prefer not to ask for, you know— (Pause)
Kay: For, you know— I— I’d prefer not to ask for somebody to— to be doing something for me that would cause problems for somebody else looking on, ‘cause I also know how that’s affected me. You know—
Prokes: What do you mean? I don’t understand.
Kay: Well, you know, I mean, when people see somebody else doing something, and whether they understand or don’t understand, they still, you know, have feelings about it, if they feel that they’re getting away with something that they’re not getting away with, you know, and— Or I mean, that’s the way they look at it. It’s not to say they’re getting away with anything or not, it’s just that I think that’s how we reflect on things.
Prokes: So, uh, what role would— did you want, I mean, what uh, what’s— How do you see yourself? What positions or position would you be taking?
Kay: You know, I have no problems in coming to church, you know, it’s just that uh, I have a problem staying up all night, and trying to work, and going to school, and going to meetings twice a week, and you know, I mean I just— I just cannot hack that. (Pause) And then maybe it was in— if it was in nature of a meeting that I was going to that had some end results, you know— I mean, in my mind, there’re— there’re none. (Pause) You know, if it was a busi— I don’t know. I mean, I’m just saying that I— I just know that emotionally, I cannot just stay up like that and function like a normal person. I just can’t do it. (Pause)
Prokes: Okay. Okay. All right. Uh. I’ll pass it along, and uh, possibly get back to you.
Kay: You know, ‘cause one of the things that had happened was that I was, you know, running to work, you know, like in the middle of the day on Saturday, and running back on Sunday, trying to make up for things that I didn’t do, you know, and it just got— it just got out of hand. I mean, my work was— when I got ready to l— to— you know, to go away and try to get some rest, I had to work two days overtime to catch up with my work. (Laughs) You know, which is just, I mean— I mean, that’s a trip. And, you know, fortunately, you know, I— you know, I told my boss that I just really, you know, wasn’t feeling well, and that I, you know, wanted to take some, you know, leave of— short leave, you know, for a period of time, and she said it was okay. But I mean I could see myself as being under a lot of scrutiny and criticism, had I been someplace else, where I wasn’t in control, you know, basically of a lot of my own work. (Pause) But I had— I mean, I had really— I mean, I had really gotten bad, Mike, I’m telling you the truth. A girl in the office said something to me, and I almo— I mean, I almost slapped her. I mean, I walked up to hit her. And I mean, that’s— (Pause) you know, I mean, (unintelligible word)— I mean, I think you know me a little bit—
Prokes: (unintelligible phrase as Kay talks) Are you sure it’s a result of, we have the meeting?
Kay: No, I think it was a result of my nerves just being— you know? You know how you just get to the point where you just— (Pause) Well, I don’t know if you ever got at that point.
Prokes: Well, (unintelligible word as Kay talks) was it brought on by here, for sure? Or could it have been brought on by the— your job itself?
Kay: No, I think it was, it was brought on with the combination of things, just the fact that I was just tired all the time, my nerves were shot to— to hell. I had gotten to the point where I was just shaking. (Pause) And it, you know— And my hair had started to fall out, I had bald spots on my head, you know, there was little— I still got some of those, it’s not nearly like it was, but little bumps, you know, red bumps that would get— which comes from what they call psoriasis. And it’s all nerves. (Pause) I mean, that’s what it was described to me as, nerves. (Pause) So I don’t know whether it was in all results of that, no I can’t really say that.
Kay: I’m just saying that I think that the combination of it all, you know, was just—
Prokes: Well, I— you know, I don’t know what uh, sort of position uh, you know, we can take, uh, and you know, I don’t um, presume to make that decision now. But uh, I just know that, you know, like in the past, when have people have uh, wanted to, you know, lessen their responsibility, it uh— Well, you know it just sets a, you know, a precedent for others who would like to do the same.
Kay: Mike, I realize that. I realize that. And that’s why I, you know, I suggested right from the— from the beginning that, you know, I just come off Council altogether, ‘cause I realize that that’s what happens.
Prokes: Well, that’s what I’m talking about. Oh, you suggested that from the beginning, is that what you’re saying?
Kay: Yeah, because I think that it does set a precedent for people in terms of, if I was allowed to do something else, you know, then I think it would cause more of a problem. (Pause) I don’t know. I just uh, know that I, you know, I’ve had a lot of time to do a lot of uh, thinking, and you know, I mean, I’m— There’s nothing wrong with me, you know, I mean, I’m not hostile or anything, you know, and I don’t want to leave, it’s just that— I know what I can take, Mike, you know, and I know what— I think I should have— I— I have a right to make up my mind what I want to do, you know.
Prokes: Sure, you have a right to do that. What— The problem is what we’re going to— you know, what would you have us say to others?
Kay: I don’t know. I don’t— I don’t think that that’s my position, you know, I mean, I really don’t see that as being my position.
Prokes: That’s not your position, but uh, I mean, do you see the difficulty?
Kay: No, I— I see the difficulty, but I mean, the whole difficulty right now in which— I mean, I think that that was my whole dilemma. I think that that’s one of the things that really got me started on— on that downhill trend, is because it looked like there was no way out. I was just fenced in, and I had all this responsibility, nobody wanted to hear that, nobody wanted to lessen it. I was just trapped. (Pause) You know, and I— how— you know, I can’t live like that. I don’t know about other people, or what other people want to do, but, you know, I’ve had that. I mean, I have had it up to— you know, like almost have a nervous breakdown, and I just can’t— I don’t think that that’s what it should be all about.
Prokes: Okay. Well, I’m— I’m just saying that, it— it’s almost like an impossible situation where, you have someone comes up to ask advice for me as a counselor and you say, well, I’m not a counselor, and I know that you were at one time. I mean, people are going to know that you no— no longer a counselor, and uh— it’s— it’s like an impossible situation to deal with, as far as explaining it to them why you’re not. (Pause) That’s why I wonder if you are dealing with, you know, if you understand that. (Pause)
Kay: Well, no, I didn’t uh, deal with that.
Prokes: That’s what we have to deal with. I mean, that’s what we— what we’d be facing. (Pause) (Sighs) And so— uh—
Kay: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t have solutions. I mean, I didn’t— obviously haven’t had any solutions some time ago or I wouldn’t have uh, been in uh, the state in which I was in.
Prokes: Okay. Well, I’ll just uh— (unintelligible word) Do you have anything to add? (Pause)
Kay: All right.
Prokes: —pass it along—
Kay: No, not really, I— you know, I mean, I don’t know what to say, ‘cause I—
End of side one.
Part 5 (continued)
Kay: No, I don’t feel like it’s personal to me. I think that some people have greater abilities to handle things than other people, and I think that people release them in different ways. (Pause) You know, I mean, I— I don’t think that everybody re— reacts to the same thing the same way.
Prokes: Yeah. (Pause) Maybe.
Kay: And uh— (Pause) You know, I just cannot— I mean, I just cannot sit up like that all night long, I just can’t. I don’t see any purpose in it, for one thing.
Prokes: Well, there is.
Kay: Well, maybe there is. There is not any purpose in it for me, okay? I mean, I just don’t see any purpose in it. I mean, I think that anything that we had to do, could be done in su— in such time that a person could go to work and feel like they have all their faculties, you know, and produce, and be a productive person, but hell, it’s a wonder I’ve had a job for the last year. When I really look back on the kind of shit that, you know, I was responsible for, and how I just drug along and produced just bare minimum. (Pause)
Prokes: Well, I mean, it’s not as if, you know, you’re in a unique situation, I think there’s others that are in the same position, but like you say, maybe they react different. I don’t know. Uh— fortunately, I haven’t had to hold an outside job.
Kay: Yeah, well, you know, I think that maybe people look at it differently, Mike, when um, you know, I mean, when you step out—
Prokes: I just know that, you know, there’s (laughs) most— I suppose most people on their jobs— I’m probably one of the few lucky ones. (Pause) ‘Course, I don’t like (clears throat) dealing with the public, you know, the way I have to either because s— I don’t— I don’t enjoy having to play all the games that the mayor gone through, and everybody’s like that.
Kay: Yeah, well, I— you know, I mean, I can appreciate that. I just feel that I know, you know, what I think is right for me, to some extent, and I want that, you know. I mean, I want to be able to be a sane human being, and I think— I don’t think that that’s asking a lot, you know, and uh— I mean, I don’t think— I mean, I think a lot of people are— probably feel quite the same, if not worse, but they just keep sitting there going along, and all of a sudden, they walk off and leave, and nobody ever understands why. You know, and it’s for the— the reason that, you know, you’re looking at right now, Mike, is that I’m trying to say to you what my problem is, and you’re saying to me, how my problem’s going to affect everybody else. So that gives me the heavy of, do you want your problem to affect everybody else, or do you want to have the problem all by yourself and continue?
Prokes: Well, I— I— Well, this is just personal, Kay, I— I shouldn’t be expressing to you (unintelligible phrase), I won’t continue, but I just think there’s a ways of, of uh— there’s ways of dealing with things. I think we— we give ourselves— I think we let ourselves go as, as far as we want, I— I think we uh, uh, you know, feel that— that we each have uh, limits that we set ourselves as far as how much pain we’re willing to endure, when we all could uh, go much farther. That’s all I’m saying.
Kay: Oh, you’re probably right. (Pause) You’re probably right.
Prokes: And so, it— it gets down to a matter of uh, character, for all of us.
Kay: Well, you know, maybe that’s the problem, I don’t have enough character.
Prokes: I don’t know— I don’t know— I’m just saying that’s, you know, my personal—
Kay: No, I— No, I— I know that, and I’m just saying, you know, to you, I’m not taking it personal, I mean— I mean, I don’t want you to feel that you can’t express yourself to me and that, you know, that means I’m going to run off someplace and hide. That’s not true. I can accept what you say. Maybe I just don’t have enough character. (Pause)
Prokes: Well. Anyway, I’ve already said (unintelligible phrase).
Kay: No, I— I agree with what you said. But I think that we have a right to set our own limits, you know, and I think I have that right.
Prokes: I don’t know that we do, Kay. I don’t know that we do.
Kay: Well— Okay, Mike. I have a right to set mine, okay?
Prokes: Well, you— you do, if you give yourself the right.
Kay: Well, that’s what I’m doing, is giving myself the right.
Prokes: But I— I think— I think— I think uh, you know, you know, what— what— why should we have uh, any more rights than, than, than most uh, oppressed people, who don’t eat, who don’t— you know, who just are in constant suffering?
Kay: Uh— I don’t know why I should have the right. Mike. I really don’t. I just know that, by my— by my, you know, having a nervous breakdown, and you know, n— not being able to deal with what I see as a normal, everyday responsibility of taking on your responsibility as a— you know, on a job, by not being able to do that, I don’t see that as, as making that any better, either. In my opinion, I don’t see it as making it any better.
Prokes: Okay, well— I mean, if— if you agreed with what I said before, then, you know, uh— (pause)
Kay: Yeah. Well— That’s, you know— I agreed with what you said. Maybe it’s just— I mean, I just don’t have the character that it takes. (Pause) And I mean, that’s uh— I accept that. (Pause)
Prokes: Well, I don’t know what to say, Kay. Just— I— ‘cause I feel that uh, (Pause) I feel that— (Pause) I don’t want to say this in a way that, that makes it uh, you think that I’m just blowing smoke up your rear but uh, I mean, you have a lot to offer. You have a lot of uh, unique potential that, you know, could be utilized as far as PR capacity, and uh, I’d hate to see you fall back because uh, I know that that can be utilized, and that it’s going to be needed more and more up until the time that we leave. And if you are less involved, then we can’t draw on that, because it, you know, it would be a matter of utilizing those who are in the planning.
Kay: I— I can ap— I can appreciate that, and I— I mean, I— I can appreciate what you’re saying. I know that the people that are in the planning will be the people that are used for that. And uh— (Pause) You know, uh—
Prokes: All I—
Kay: What can I say?
Prokes: Well, I would just like to see you— You know, again, this is personal, I’m not passing along a message, I was just asked to call and simply ask where you’re at. But uh, you know, I would like to see you just uh— attempt to keep the— your level of commitment and, and try to cope with it, and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.
Kay: (Firmly) I’m not going to do that, Mike. I’m not going— I’m not staying up any more all night.
Prokes: Because I— I think you—
Kay: I’ve made my mind up about that, okay?
Kay: I’m not going to do that. (Pause)
Prokes: (Resigns) All right.
Kay: I mean, you know, I can’t even take my medication and stuff. You know, when I come to church, I have to be aware and alert, okay? So I can’t take my medication while I’m there. I just have to go through, you know, trying to control whatever it is that I have to have control during that period of time. Which I’ve done very well at doing that. But also, a lot of it has to do with rest. You know? And not being just really, you know, bogged down with a lot of things that, you know, basically is what got you in the situation that you’re in. (Pause) You know, I mean, I don’t— I don’t know what to say to you. I mean, I— (sighs) I mean, I hear, I hear what you’re saying to me, but nobody, you know, I mean— when I really was begging people to take some of this shit off me, so that I would’ve never gotten to that point, nobody wanted to hear it. Nobody would listen. And nobody ever does, until you’re pushed against the fucking wall, and you can’t breathe, and all you can do is come out screaming. (Pause) You know, I don’t understand what it takes for people to stop and listen to people around there, why nobody recognizes when people are pushed too far. I don’t understand that.
Prokes: Well, I— I do this— You know, I thought uh, I was pushed too far, too. I really did. I mean, there’s uh, times when I come out of meetings, emotionally devastated, and uh, I wanted to scream. And again, uh, well, I just decided I was going to try again, that, you know, that I— I just uh, felt like, well, what the hell, you know, why should I be any different, uh, you know, what’s— what’s my life uh, worth? I’m nothing special, ‘cause I’ve certainly blown enough things. I fuck up every day. So—
Kay: (Emotional) Okay. I understand that, Mike. Okay? All I’m saying is that, you know, I mean, I think— I don’t think that I’m special, okay? Maybe I act like I think that I’m special, and I’m sure in a lot of people’s opinion, that’s what they think, you know, but I do think that I have a right to make some decisions about my life, and about my health. If other people are not concerned about my health, I think I have a right to be concerned about it.
Prokes: Okay. Okay. Okay, well.
Kay: And that’s—
Prokes: If I said what I was going to say, it would just lead to more.
Kay: No, I mean, if— you’re not— all I’m just saying to you is that you’re not making me hostile, I’m just telling you how I feel.
Prokes: Okay. I— Okay, all I— all I’m saying— I’m just saying that uh, I don’t feel that, you know— When we’re involved in a revolution, we lose personal rights. You know, we don’t have the right to decide what, you know, how far we can commit ourselves, how far we can go, how much, you know, of pain, that, you know, limits of pain or something, because uh, because there are others who uh, go through much worse, who aren’t even in here. The people that we’re trying to rescue. (Pause) So I don’t think we have that right, Kay. I don’t think we have it. (Pause)
Kay: Well, you know, I— (Sighs) Maybe we don’t, Mike. I mean, uh, maybe we don’t, I don’t know. I just know that I’ve, you know, I’ve been away and I did have s— some time, you know, because I needed it, if I didn’t go away, that I’d be, you know, in church on Wednesday, you know, the whole thing, all over again, and still not being able to really settle down and get my head together, ‘cause my mind was really screwed, you know? And I— I’m just saying that, I don’t want to go that route anymore, Mike. Now I don’t know what got me there, but I know s— some of the things that got me there was the fact that I had too much responsibility.
Prokes: Oh. You know, Kay, before I came here, I— I couldn’t have been more of uh, uh, a honky. I couldn’t have been more of one. And n— now that I’m here— you know, if— if I can identify with this, and understand why we have to do what we’re doing, and what it means to people who are really destitute, why can’t you?
Kay: Mike, I— yeah. I— I— I realize why you’re there, you know, uh— And I also realize that I’ve worked 18 years in my life. I don’t know how long you worked before you came there, you know, uh, but I have. And I’m continuing to work, you know, and I— I think I’ve done what I thought was right. Or I tried to, you know, but again, you know, I think that if— if you’re there, and you’re there for what you say that you’re there for, and you can’t hear people screaming around you, how in the hell you gonna hear them from afar? I mean, I— I don’t understand that.
Prokes: You mean, people outside?
Kay: I mean people outside that you’re supposed to be concerned about, if you can’t look at people right around you, and see them falling apart, and stop and help them, or stop and want to suggest that something’s done to help them, then, you know, to me, I— you know, I lose sight on the target outside if you can’t see what’s going on right around you.
Prokes: Well, I think, that’s where I— you know, I— if— if we— if we keep— if we kept our eyes focused on what’s outside, I think— or I don’t think we’d get the internal individual problems that we have inside. (Pause) But I— I’m— no, I shouldn’t— I— I really don’t feel I— I’m probably uh, out of line, because I’m— I’m just uh, (Pause) you know, I’m just blowing off, I think, Kay, so I better uh, let you go.
Kay: Yeah, okay, uh— (Pause) Fine. (Short nervous laugh) You know, I don’t know what to— what to say, I think I, you know, I think I just said what I had to say when (unintelligible word)— I don’t know how it’s gonna, you know, work out, and I hope it does work out, because I really don’t want to stop coming, you know, but (Pause) I know what I want to do.
Prokes: Yeah. Okay, well. I may be back to you anyway.
Kay: Well, what are you suggesting, that I, you know, I wait for you to get back to me or—
Prokes: Uh, frankly, I don’t know. I really don’t. (Pause)
Kay: (unintelligible word)
Prokes: What do you suggest?
Kay: No, I— I— I mean I’m asking you, ‘cause I was on my way out of the door, so I didn’t know what you want.
Prokes: Well, you’re not going to return to (unintelligible word), Kay, that’s for sure.
Kay: (Pause) No, I mean— I’m not even— God, I don’t know how I’m coming off, but I mean I didn’t mean to even suggest that that was going to happen. I was just saying that I didn’t know whether you wanted me to, you know, stay here until you, you know, contacted back and talked to me or—
Prokes: Oh, no, no, it wouldn’t— it wouldn’t be that soon.
Kay: You know— Okay. I didn’t know. So that’s why I asked.
Prokes: I’ll see you.
Kay: All right. Bye-bye.
Phone hangs up.
End of tape
Tape originally posted April 2002