Sunday, December 16, 2007

Al Gore Broke My Heart

I want to thank you folks for not pointing out that my future as a political prognosticator has been irredeemably scarred by my wishful thinking toward an Al Gore candidacy. I thought I had it all figured out. But like someone that can't accept Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman, I could not believe that a statesman who's political trajectory had propelled him to win the popular vote for the presidency could turn his back on his destiny and merely walk away. I thought Gore certainly must have some grand and Biblical strategy that would swallow the other candidates like Jonah by the whale. My scenario was this; John Edwards wins Iowa, Hillary wins New Hampshire, and Obama wins South Carolina. Then in the midst of this turmoil would come Al Gore, organization at the ready and with a chest full of medals, prepared to assume his rightful place in American history as the redeemer of the thoughtless and slayer of the Bush philosophy of government by the corporation.

America believes in redemption and needed Gore to cleanse the collective guilt felt by those who voted for Bush, actually believing he had integrity. It would have been a national do-over, like a football sideline review, where an historic wrong might finally be righted. In every interview, when asked about running again, Gore always said, "I have no plans to be a candidate." That's quite different from saying, "No, I will not run." But then came the news that Al had accepted a partnership in a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that specialized in helping innovative start-ups that were energy efficient and potentially profitable. Before I could become too indignant about Gore cashing in on his environmental advocacy, however, I read he is donating his salary to the Alliance for Climate Protection. Still, he started the Alliance, and venture capitalists usually get stock in the company. I'm sure he's not working for free.

Silicon Valley is also within proximity of Gore's San Francisco based cable network, "Current," which plans to combine the best features of television and the Internet. Now you can watch multiple reruns of "Law and Order," while simultaneously seeing the most popular Google searches. Gore has been a noble, lifelong public servant and deserves to financially capitalize on an historic year of achievement. I'm certain the speaking fees of a Nobel Laureate are considerable, not to mention the Oscar and Emmy, but I can't help but feel disappointed as a citizen.

If Al Gore is on an urgent mission to decrease global warming, it would seem the most direct way of affecting policy is as U.S. President. But, I am reluctant to admit, Gore's moment has passed and any lingering hope that he, or we, had for a draft has passed too. Also passed is the chance that the "boy groomed for the office," will ever be President. Had he known this before, Gore could have skipped the Nam. I'll also admit something else. When I heard Gore speak last week at the U.N. Climate Conference in Bali, and he blamed the U.S. for obstructionism to great applause from the delegates, I wanted to say, "All right. We get it!", or, "You've got the job. Ease up already." For the first time, I found Al Gore annoying, and imagined years of similar preaching.

So, I was wrong. There will be no President Gore and the politician I have championed since the eighties has gone Hollywood on me. Though sometimes unctuous, most obviously when he blew the 2000 Debates, he was the best informed candidate we'll likely ever see, including Bill Clinton. He will choose to remain in the private sector until next year, when a new President may call upon him to return once again to public service, and I'm sure he will answer his nation's summons. I only hope that in whatever capacity Mr. Gore serves the next government, it doesn't require him to make any more speeches.

10 comments:

Wintermute said...

I have some regrets for having introduced him around here.

A true man of the people, contrasted with a mere heir to name recognition, does not need image consultants to run for any office.

Recall that Al went to Vanderbilt Divinity School for a while. He's achieved a major pulpit now, and that's all he's got the belly for anymore.

Anonymous said...

You're surprised by being let down by a politician? They are just a genre of the acting profession. All true public servants work for God and are invisible, or nearly so. They have too much humility and integrity to think of soiling themselves in the domain of politics. Politicians are wolves in sheep's clothing, passing themselves off as public servants while their true mission is the acquisition of wealth, power, and influence. They are always dreaming up subterfuges to fool a gullible public while they go about their true purposes...the fleecing of America. It's all a bizarre game that the foolish lemmings play...let's find our next political hero that we can throw ourselves into the sea over. Why do I bother to point out the obvious? Lemmings never listen to reason, that is their nature. They sit up on their haunches, eyes glistening, waiting with bated breath for the words of their next supposed hero, and eagerly await the command to rush seaward. Oh, well...everyone has to play a game in life. Maybe I should leave the lemmings alone.

Alice Frye said...

RJ,

When Wintermute brought Al home from Harvard for the weekend, I was just 11 years old and in tears, due to a family crisis. Al sat on the floor with me and comforted/distracted me by telling me about The Hobbit. He recommended that magical book and offered to send me a copy. He charmed me completely, and I was in love, at least until I met you on my 16th birthday. --grin--

Al Gore's warmth in one-on-one encounters is uncommon, and he inspires confidence and compassion, without a hint of arrogance or conceit, in person. I experienced this again over ten years later, when Da Mute and I visited Al in his Congressional office.

As a performer, you should relate to the problem. Some people are more comfortable and can communicate their wit and passion in small settings, only to lose all hint of talent before a stadium audience. Or vice versa. Al plays the small rooms with unmistakable sincerity and concern for his listeners. And you've noted, as the rest of us have observed, his inability to translate these gifts on a larger scale.

The United States and indeed the rest of the world are poorer as a result of this fact.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful thoughts, beautifully expressed, about one of the most brilliant men of our times. Thank you, Randy!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Randy! 'Nuf said' -- eloquent expression of boomer disappointment. Sad to see that he wouldn't even give it a shot just to be able to comment directly
as 'underdog' can and improve the overall game of the non - choices we have before us on the dems side. It's the same kind of capitulating acceptance of
'biz as usual' that prevented him from fighting for the popular election he won........ We're so Fucked!

Cousin Cliff said...

Randy, on behalf of your entire readership, let me wish you a Happy Birthday. Hope it is a good one.

Anonymous said...

The Democratic candidates are such a sorry lot that Al Gore would be a shining light in a metaphorical land of the undead. The Republican candidates are not much better, though. I'll vote for the candidate that will legalize pot.

David said...

Hey "old people", quit your crying. The leadership of the United States has passed us by. The only real chance we had at "our turn" was Bill Clinton.

Even if Hillary wins, we will not get the existential buzz we have been looking for. We will just get an old woman taking estrogen. The world is not suddenly going to agree with us and recognize the superiority of our thinking and the error of their ways.

It is now time for us to graciously step aside and let the representatives from Gen X or Gen Y have a shot at it. But this won't happen. We will be just as selfish and greedy for the illusion of power as our parents, the so called "greatest generation". Don't make me laugh. With the exception of the win in WWII, they didn't do anything but institutionalize racism and deplete the natural resources so that our grandchildren will be living in caves.

Well, so what? The cavemen got used to it. But for now, I just bought a 72" HD TV. I don't want any of the above. For me, I just want to snort heroin out of the ass dimples of a stripper. OK? Yippie!!

Anonymous said...

A just, egalitarian society is a myth/dream of the socialists. Human nature dictates the nature of the game humans play and it is called 'king on the mountain'. A disinfranchised group starts out by wanting their fair share. After they get it, they say, 'Hell, let's take another slice'. And when they become empowered enough, they jockey into position to take as much as possible. This is world history in a nutshell and it will never change. There will always be power struggles between factions and justice will never reign. Those who play softball in a hardball world will find themselves at the bottom of the mountain getting the shaft from those who are ruthless enough to get on top. At least the WWII generation knew the nature of the game and held onto the reigns of power. The group that supplants them will know these things and will not be as charitable as the Euro-fools. Right now, it looks like the Euro-fools had better get used to the lifestyle of those who have been stripped of position and power...think in terms of the Native Americans. I wonder if they will share space with us on their reservations.

Anonymous said...

Euro-fools, that is a descriptively accurate and useful new term for caucasians. Thanks for that. Someone should do a blog that keeps folks up on the latest acts of stupidity of the Euro-fools. That way minorites would have a heads-up on opportunities to take advantage of them.