Sunday, July 08, 2007

Gore/Obama

"We are the other people,
You're the other people, too/Found a way to get to you."

Frank Zappa, "Mother People," 1967

Mark it down. After today, no one beats this ticket. No combination of Clintons, and certainly no foreseeable combination of Republicans can match the starpower of these two candidates. And yes, Gore is a candidate, and I believe the presidency is his for the taking. And nothing anyone in my generation can say or do, thank God, will alter the outcome. Al Gore has found his audience with a younger, hipper generation that doesn't believe intelligence is a drawback, and he has found the way to get to them. The Live Earth Concerts were a stunning success, and the biggest star to emerge from the international showcase was Al Gore.

I have waited my entire socially conscious life for a political coalition to coalesce around idealistic young people before they're eaten alive by cynicism. My generation had the chance, but blew it. Big time. After the Vietnam War, we had the chance to consolidate political power gained in the protest years. But instead, we opted out of the political process, allowing Richard Nixon to be elected and re-elected. When the war ended, everyone put on a tie and tried to make up for the lost time not spent hoarding money. Thus, hippies became yuppies and the moment was lost. The direct and concrete result of that apathy is that my generation is now represented by unprincipled men like Karl Rove, who has made a career of demonizing the excesses of the sixties. The failure of my generation is on display every day that pot is still illegal. My divided and disenchanted peers have forfeited the right to instruct the young. They will decide the next presidential election.

The big story of the Live Earth Concerts was not the Police/Kanye/John Mayer jam, but how Al Gore has been transformed into a pop icon and is treated like a rock star among the young. Readers of this post know that I am a Gore man, (see Al Gore; Soul Man), but I must now confess my sin of doubting Al. Like many, I felt "just what the world needs, another rock concert," and thought that this time, Gore had overreached. But not only were the shows uplifting and smartly staged, Gore emerged as a prophet and displayed in one day what George Bush has been unable to show in six years as President; leadership. Climate consciousness has been kicked off worldwide with real conservation suggestions that will yield genuine dividends, and Al Gore has tapped into the Internet generation like no other political figure.

Barack Obama is another impressive candidate with intellectual curiosity, real world knowledge, and his eye to the future. His online fundraising, though a regrettable evil, has been as remarkable as the Howard Dean internet phenomenon of 2004. Obama has already captured the interest of the young, and rightly so. His positive campaign has been compared to Robert Kennedy's of 1968. The only minus on the Obama ledger is lack of experience. Of course, that never stopped George Bush, but it makes Obama an ideal candidate for Vice President, and promises a continuation of a progressive Gore legacy well into the future.

I used to imagine my generation as a force for good. In my youthful optimism, I believed that we could change the world. I never could have imagined that the change would come through preemptive bombing campaigns and secret Gulags. I have long ago given up on my generation to accomplish great things in this life, and President
Chuckles is the mortal sum of my fears. No, we're going to argue over the 1960's counterculture and refight the Vietnam War until we're all dead and buried. But if hope was rekindled today, I entrust my hope to the young. As much as anyone can who doesn't go out much, I feel something stirring in the political air, and it is growing daily in size and strength. Something big is going to occur, and I hope that this burgeoning new youth movement finds its' voice before Cheney bombs Iran. That would be terrible for the environment.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

The world does need to wake up to the environmental crisis and Gore is doing a masterful job as the alarm clock, but he may be moving too fast. To reduce 90% of the world's greenhouse gases in two years would produce a global economic calamity and give his enemies fodder to spread fear in this regard. He may have done better if he had proposed a 20 year plan, and one in which he could give some assurance that there would be no cataclysmic economic consequences. The trick is to develop an environmentally sustainable global economic engine that does not require us to live in teepees, ride bicycles, and wear government-issue black pajamas. Along a related line of thinking, Hillary's statement in regard to doing away with the ownership society sounds ominous. The other alternative is to create a society in which the government is the owner of everything and the citizens are all on the government dole...a nightmare of socialism. Don't the socialists see that when everything becomes equally distributed that many of the lemmings will want more, creating capitalistic black markets...to say nothing of the crime involved in getting a little more than one's fair share (a.k.a. stealing)? The trouble with utopianism is that the propagators overlook one little problem...human nature. Big government and socialism will do nothing to change human nature. Human nature wants social stratification based on differentials of ability and apptitude. Everybody wants someone to look down on. What do you think produces the impetus for upward mobility? And if there were no impetus for upward mobility we would all live in grass huts and be hunters and gatherers...but, then there would be no global environmental problems. Just periodic mass die offs from disease and famine, because of no medicine...because of no technology. And so the wheel turns. Another interesting ecologically related issue is that in correcting one environmental problem, several others usually arise along with the attempt. A fundamental problem is that the issue of global ecological balance requires omniscience and that is hard to find. Combine that problem with human nature and all that we have left is the prospect of a huge global die off...which has been foretold in Revelations. But, that is another issue entirely. Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

What you said about pot remaining illegal has stunning implications with regard to the political impotency of the Baby Boomers. How anything that is as innocuous and as widely used as pot can remain illegal is supifying. Especially in light of the large numbers of people from the 60/70's generation who have smoked pot and who know of the government lies in regard to its use (think Reefer Madness). When one compares the health impact of the governmentally sanctioned legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, to pot and to the economic and social costs of court trials and incarceration for such innocuous behavior as pot smoking...the situation is ludicrous. At the very least pot should be de-criminalized for those 50 and over as a palliative for the aches and pains of growing older...sort of an extension of the medical use argument. In a broader consideration of the drug use issue, think of the following...throughout human history and in every culture a sizable portion of the population will indulge in consciousness altering behavior and this includes the use of alcohol. This drive cannot be legislated away...look at Prohibition. This reality will ALWAYS be with us. Secondly, very few people (as a percentage of the total) get into serious trouble with these substances in regard to overdosing or crippling addictions. The vast majority use rather than abuse their drug of choice (think of social drinkers relative to full blown alcoholics). So, you have a sizable population of users in a given society and a statistically small number of people who cross the line and get into trouble. It would seem that a prudent position would be to manage and control the use of these substances rather than to try to stamp them out all together by legal means. It has been demonstrated that all you do is fill the courts and jails with essentially harmless people (I'm talking about those who just use, not felons who harm people in pursuit of drug profits, etc.). If drugs were legalized and distributed through government stores, the prices could be set so as to destroy the black market in them. This would eliminate vast amounts of crime to say nothing of the people who wouldn't be arrested for merely the use of them. At the government distribution points those who are in trouble with drugs could be identified and treated rather than incarcerated. Another effect would be that many casual users would quit drug use, because there would be no black market to buy them in and they wouldn't want to be registered at the distribution centers as users. Vast amounts of money would be saved and vast numbers of lives would not be destroyed by the judicial system. And the numbers of users would most likely remain static over time. So which is more sane...management and control of the issue or the futile attempt to squash it legally? Much the same type of argument could be made for prostitution...manage and control of something that will always be with us or fill the jails with essentially harmless people who work at satisfying urges that will always be with us?

Anonymous said...

Randy, I think that you are overly optimistic about the youth of the current generation. But then hope springs eternal...

Gregg said...

Anonymous is on target in his reality testing of human capacity, and desire. Although, I'm not sure that all upward mobility is based on passing someone else along the way. If I like A/C in my car because I hate the heat, I don't give a damn whether anyone else has it or not. I'm just glad I do. On the greater issue of how to deal with hundreds of millions of Americans, and billions of our species who would be Americans if they had been born north of Mexico and south of Canada.......the arbitrariness of national origin is my point here.......I'm not sure that there are any good answers. I think that our technology has gotten so far ahead of the emotional intelligence required to harness it wisely that we, as a species, are doomed for bad stuff for a long long time......just like we have for our entire history until now.

This does not preclude moments, or decades, or even longer periods of "enlightenment" when there is some transient melding of the higher intellect, positive mood, sense of well being, and hopefulness about the future that seems to stimulate science, art, philosophy, and a lot of boats rise. We've seen a couple of "golden ages" in various civilizations. But, I'll tell you, if you examine the true underpinnings of these there were a hell of a lot of "serfs, or slaves, etc." who were doing some very heavy lifting while those that were enjoying the "golden age" were writing poetry, singing songs, and speaking in front of large groups of other aristocrats espousing the philosophies of the time.

So, maybe today, we've got the added load of rapid communication (with pictures) and the pictures are of slums, poverty, horrible inequality, disparity between groups that is not so much about upward mobility but about some groups dying of preventable diseases like measles, TB, pneumonia, accidents, etc., because they aren't worried about A/C, they're worried about food, and keeping their children alive.

And we're now struck with the debate as to what to do about our personal desires, some of which are all about "upward mobility" and some of which is about our sense of our responsibility to our fellow humans. It's a difficult discussion. There are obviously two sides. Rightness or wrongness is in the eyes of the beholder. But, without doubt, Randolph is right when he is excited about the possibility of "intelligent design" created by an executive branch that has a longer view than just the tip of their own nose. Turns out that it often is good to beat cancer early rather than pretend that it's not there, and then begrudging suggest that it might be, and then when it's too late run like hell for all the witch doctors to save your ass........ or the world's. Think Lance Armstrong. Think, then, about GWB and his Rasputin, dc.

Wouldn't it be nice to try out some smarter folks for a while just to see........especially now that it's hard for idiotic illogical and uncreative people to do anything other than create more and more trouble for more people than ever.

So, RJ, would I like to see a Gore-Obama ticket. Of course.

Wintermute said...

Did someone require omniscience?

BAH, your best post yet. Welcome to the Daily Docket blogroll. Of course this means you have to post more....

Anonymous said...

Well, we have to keep trying that's for sure. If enough people make the sacrifices to live greener lives perhaps we can forestall the inevitable ecological collapse for a few more years. But, just think...the third world countries haven't even come to the table yet and we are talking about cutting back. If they get on the band wagon they will want a higher and higher standard of living each and every year like everyone else...like I said about human nature...more,more,more!!! That being said, I refuse to live in a teepee, ride a bicycle, and wear black pajamas. If it comes to that...let the collapse begin. Sorry folks I can't go back that far. My DNA won't allow it. Oh, and by upward mobility I was referring to the upward thrust in general of mankind (each person has some of it)...you know, reaching for the stars...getting ahead...the capitalist spirit that is in all of us, even the socialists. Look at the Clinton's annual income...and they are pretty socialistic. As an aside, Hillary was complaining about the salary of CEO's being so much greater that the average employee. I would like to compare the Clinton's annual income to one of their average staff workers. Can you spell HYPOCRITE?

Juan said...

now all you have to do is get the word out to the millions in your age group. you certainly have an unbeatable team in mind, or so I think. it is not just you young folks who want a good president, a good administration with a fast-learning vice, and some more liberals on the supreme court. a lot of us older folks think the same way. I think a lot of the conservatives would be in total opposition, but then they would oppose anything less than the dreadful team in force now.....the worst in my 74 years.

great going, born'again!!

your mexican amigo who agrees with you totally!!

Juan

Julie said...

I would vote for that ticket in a heartbeat!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!There you go again saying what needs to be said.Bravo!

Anonymous said...

To all who read Randy's 'special commentary' I suggest that you copy and send his writings to anyone you like. Randy writes the truth as I see it and his journalism is exemplary. To Randy: Thank you for providing us with your analysis.

Oki

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but there are lots of points of view. Randy has one... and then there are others. Voting politicians into office is a little like selecting a mate. On the surface they may seem wonderful, but after you live with them for a while you begin to see inconsistencies with regard to the way they presented themselves during the courtship. Can you imagine waking up every morning to see Al Gore drooling face next to yours? Or for that matter Hillary Clinton's? I speak metaphorically.

Anonymous said...

Randy, you put too much faith in politicians, even in liberal Democrats. In the end all they do is feed the ineffectual, freedom-robbing beast of government with taxpayer dollars. It is always a choice between Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum and no one is satisfied because they put too much faith in something that can never deliver. But, I guess we all have to occupy our time and mental energies with something...so rave on. It's just that investing too much energy in politic seems to cause one to lose his erection in life...again speaking metaphorically.

davethedog said...

Right on Bro'. The Repubs have shown themselves to be whoremongers in the classic style. The only redeeming thing about Vitter was that he left the meth out of the equation. I do have to say about his wife, with her judgemental big mouth, when Bill Clinton was on the hotseat, Judge NOT, Lest YE BE JUDGED. OK.

The main topic is that Bush has fallen into the Viet Nam trap, as Randy has been hectoring for years in this blog. Congress of both sides is ready to pull the plug and the Bushes are already scrambling like cockroaches when the light is turned on. His faithful are ready to die in the bunker with him and have their orders to not talk to congress. The next step is lying to congress and I predict many will see prison because of it.

Bush is not leading, but begrudgingly following the country, always a step behind. Why cannot this guy admit a mistake and be done with it. Someone said that our continued presence in a Muslim country, NOW THAT is falling into the hands of al-Quaida.

Finally, regarding Gore/Obama. ROCK ON!! Gore's views of our destruction of our own planet will have him viewed as a saint and prophet in 100 years. The idea that we will have to live in a teepee, ride a bicycle, and wear black pajamas is ridiculous. For the most part the societal changes will be in full accord with the dictates of Capitalism.

E.G. Gas will be price increased to the extent that the Europeans do and this will give true incentive for us to conserve or push for real fuel efficent cars. By taxed, I mean if gas is $3.00 per gallon now, then a $2.00 per gallon fee would be added for this selfishness. This money would be used solely for fuel conservation. With electrical power, the Prius gets over 70 mpg NOW. The automakers could have this resolved and cheap within 10 years.

The point would be that we would be free, for the most part to be as wastful and inefficent as we want, we would just have to pay for it. If Anonymous doesn't want to ride a bycycle, then he should get a job and make some money. Personally, I will probably still drive a gas-guzzling SUV and throw my soda cans in the trash, BUT I will just have to pay for this priviledge.

Gore/Obama in 2008!!!

Anonymous said...

I will vote for the Democratic candidate who will either have marijuana legalized or decriminalized. My only other concern is that they don't levy big taxes on those who make less than 60k a year. Their warcry is to soak the rich. That's ok, but I'm afraid that 'the rich' includes anyone who can pay their bills. It will be tough to duck under their draconian tax policy. It may be that only the homeless will have a low enough income to escape their clutches.

Anonymous said...

The reference to living in a teepee, riding a bicycle, and wearing government-issue black pajamas was in regard to the vision of the future that some environmental extremists would impose upon us if they ruled the country...not to the fact that my income is that limited. However, that may be the case with lots of us after the Democrats implement their tax measures. That scenario would be a little more tolerable if we could at least legally smoke weed to numb the pain of our grinding poverty (if we are taxed enough the goal of social leveling will be achieved...no middle class, just the masses living in poverty ruled over by the 'elites'). I am counting on the Democrats cutting us that much slack. They should at least let the cows on the government farm have a little pain killer, and the passivity caused by smoking pot would make the cows easier to rule.

Anonymous said...

Having to choose between Republicans and Democrats is like having to choose whether to be shot with a gun or stabbed with a knife. I hope and pray for a viable third party candidate. Most Republicans and Democrats should be executed for being terminally bogus and ineffectual...empty suits worthy only of universal loathing.

Anonymous said...

I have been an environmentalist way before being one was cool (for over 30 years) not for political reasons, but because I was a science teacher and understood from a standpoint of science what the fuss was all about. In fact, I consider envioronmental science to be the queen of the sciences, because one has to have an underestanding of all the others sciences to truly appreciate all of the implications. Those who are anti-environmentalist simply don't underestand the situation. One of my favorite expressions applies to them...if you keep your head while all about you people are losing theirs, perhaps you don't understand the situation. I used to fret about the environmental crises (there are many more issues than just global warming) till I came to a better understanding of human nature and theology. As far as I can see, the two are intertwined. The root of the problem is caused by man's estrangement from God. Even the born agains are cascading head long into the morass...They have no grasp of the life of simplicity that their Gospel calls them to. That being the case, all we can hope for is to buy a little more time through preaching the 'green' lifestyle before the inevitable global ecological collapse. I seriously doubt that enough people will heed the call to create a sustainable world economy. They simply won't make the sacrifices necessary. Look at your own life...how far back down the scale of consumption are you willing to go? Nature will eventually solve the global problem the same way She corrects the more local ecological crises...through a massive die-off. And this could eventuate through global nuclear war. Isn't Nature clever? Didn't you know that She is ruler even of men's psyches (after all, She spawned us)? She has tried to communicate to us through scripture, but we scorn the scriptures as being vestiges of primitivism. And we think that we are superior to Her...that we can rape Her with impunity. We'll see who wins this battle in the end. And I wouldn't bet on man.

Show-Me said...

I take Gore at his word that he isn't going to run, but believe he will be an important asset to the next (Democratic, of course)administration. Our experience is that a candidate's experience is not necessarily the best qualification for the office, and think that over the course of the campaign more and more people will become comfortable with Obama for the top job. My current candidate for the vice presidency? Probably Bill Richardson.

But who will the Republicans run, since their announced candidates seem to be all self-destructing? I don't think Thompson will last the course. I think the conservatives will wind up turning to Newt Gingrich. And maybe Ron Paul for VP.

So there you have it, my fearless prediction. Obama/Richardson vs. Gingrich/Paul. An easy choice.

Anonymous said...

Show-me, I'll bet the Republicans are hoping against hope that you are right about the Obama/Richardson ticket. That way, anybody they put up can win.