Did you see Al Gore last night on John Stewart? He looked terrific, sounded great, and was as loose and comfortable as I’ve ever seen him.
I always liked the guy. I found him to be in many ways the embodiment of the word “honorable”—especially being a vet and realizing that he made the choice to serve in Viet Nam when he could have gotten out of it so easily with his dad being a powerful Senator and all. Unlike so many in the present administration who avoided Nam at all cost and now are so casual about committing young people to the kinds of horrors they avoided so well.
I also dug his stance on the environment, although he wasn’t the first by a long shot, the poet Gary Snyder, usually associated with “the Beats,” was an ecology activist back in the 1950s and ‘60s already, and Neal Young and Marvin Gaye and others were writing songs about how we were destroying Mother Nature back in the 1960s and ‘70s, etc.
But Gore was the first major politician to treat the problem as seriously as it deserves to be treated. And continued to, even after the right wingers big lie campaign of labeling anyone concerned for the “stewardship” of the earth, as the Bible indicates we should be, by calling them “tree huggers” and making them seem anti-ordinary-people while pro-trees-and-spotted owls.
You have to admit, the right wingers have been incredibly successful at that shit. Especially when it comes to Gore. To have convinced most of the country, and get the media to play along, including the late night comedians, with the idea that Gore was trying to take credit for “inventing” the internet, when what he was actually taking credit for, and deservedly so, was helping to make the internet what it became, accessible to all of us, etc. That’s a hell of an achievement for those right-wingers, to convince a lot of “Americans” that this honorable, intelligent, serious, and on the correct side of all the issues that are most important, guy is in fact a bumbling doofus, was, literally, a HELL of an achievement.
Not that Gore himself didn’t contribute to the debacle by taking advice from people he should have been giving advice to, and feeling honor bound to restrain himself from mentioning Clinton, either his faults or accomplishments, etc.
But then when he won the election and had it stolen from him by again the right-wingers, who got the rightwing dominated Supreme Court that had been defending states rights above any federal jurisdiction for years to reverse themselves in the case of the Florida election results and override that state’s desire to continue to straighten out the voting mess, Gore did the honorable thing and accepted defeat in order to not do any more damage to our democracy than the right-wingers were already doing.
Unfortunately, they have since done even more damage, and continue to, while Gore has finally begun to have the kind of impact he may have had as president, through his movie and book and slide show, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, and now his new book about the degradation of the public conversation about our democracy in his latest book, THE ASSAULT ON REASON.
The guy still can come off as a stiff lecturer at times, and certainly isn’t perfect, but oh man, what a difference it would have made had the country been allowed to have the president they voted for in 2000. And any right-wingers who want to comment on this post by saying that the “terrorists” would have done more damage without the rightwing chicken hawks running the show since 9/11, need only to research the attention Gore’s people were already giving to Bin Laden and the terrorist threat to note that there is a strong possibility that if Gore had been given the presidency as he deserved by popular vote, instead of having it taken away and given to W., 9/11 might never have even happened!
And we can say for certain that an invasion of Iraq would not have happened, though the invasion of Afghanistan may have, in which case we may have confined the war to one against the actual organization that carried out 9/11 and most likely have captured Bin Laden and still had the support and sympathy of most of the world for our efforts and avoided the caldron of terrorist recruitment that is Iraq today.
God I wish it had worked out that way. But as for Gore running this time, I’d hate to see him lose again, and he may be too tainted as “a loser” to carry all the states he would need to, though on the other hand, he might be able to pull a Nixon and be a vice president who ran for the presidency after eight years in office as veep and lost, then came back eight years later in the midst of a highly unpopular war and won. Wouldn’t that be a cool scenario to repeat, only this time with a competent intelligent informed guy on our side?