In discussing the failure of the various components of the American body politic --except for a fringe-- to respond to the rise of a lawless, tyrannical presidency in the way our Founders intended, I further lamented that in America today, the words of the Awakened Fringe tend to be heard only by those who are already outraged and mobilized. Meanwhile, the people at large and the mainstream press and the people in Congress who have been passive or complicit in this assault on our system tune us out. How do we get beyond "preaching to the choir"?
In the piece below --in the form of an open letter-- I propose one quite feasible and plausible way for the vital message about the truth of our historical moment in America to be delivered in a way that will command the attention, however begrudging and resistant, of those major components of America that need to stand up and fight for the soul of our country.
NOW IS THE TIME TO COME TO THE AID OF YOUR COUNTRY
I understand, Al Gore, there could be plenty of reasons why you wouldn't want to run for president. But your country needs you. It needs for you to use your present stature and moral authority to save us from our present downward course.
You don't have to run for president to do it.
I understand that you've made climate change your number one priority. But that's a long-term mission, and in the short-term there's nothing that you could do to bolster our civilization's ability to respond appropriately to the challenge of climate change than to help repair our grievously injured constitutional democracy. It will do no good for the world if its leading nation --and dominant economy-- is still being dominated by the forces unleashed upon us by this Bush administration.
So if you are not going to run for the presidency, the alternative is for you to provide America --now, before that election-- with the kind of moral leadership that transcends partisan politics.
The first step toward doing that is to make that Shermanesque statement you've thus far refrained from doing: Go beyond "I have no plans to run" to "I will not run for president in 2008; if elected I will not serve."
This will take you a large step upwards out of partisan fray. So also will your willingness to note that the Democrats in Congress are among those components of the American body politic that have failed thus far to play the role our Founders intended in the face of a lawless presidency like the one now in power.
When these steps are combined with the moral authority you've gained through your recent work and recent honors, you will have elevated your voice to a level that will command America's attention.
We sorely need it. And as perhaps no one else in America is in a position to speak about these things with such authority, it might fairly be said that you have an obligation to provide it.
How can you not speak out, Al, with the nation so seriously imperiled? How can you hold yourself back, Al, with the people still insufficently awake to the danger, with the media not trumpeting this huge story of the assault not just on reason but on the cherished idea of "the rule of law," and with the political system acting as if these were normal times? How can you not don the mantle and speak the bold truth to the country when you are uniquely qualified to command the attention and respect the role requires?
GUT CHECK AND PREPARATIONS
First, the essence of the job is to tell the country what it needs to hear about this regime, and what they and the forces behind them are doing to our country and its revered system of government. You've already said important things on this subject, for example in your book THE ASSAULT ON REASON.