"If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
We need to go far -- quickly." ~~ Al Gore
Into the Abyss
The election coup was a shot across the bow of democracy, a power seizure orchestrated by the ever-present, hands-on man who leaves no fingerprints, James Baker III, and carried out by mob leader John Bolton. Luckily for Bush, he blundered into 9-11 and managed to hit the trifecta before the papers managed to hit the newsstands. And, thanks to the media and its burgeoning power to manipulate citizen opinion and form legislative attitudes, Bush demanded -- and was given -- a license to kill.
The beast was loosed.
For the rest of us, those years have just been hell. Like our fellow Americans in New Orleans caught up in the despair of waiting for help that will never come, we remain mired in a Samuel Beckett wasteland, waiting for our own "Godot" to return and claim what is rightfully his. Rightfully ours. Our rights, our freedoms, our civil liberties -- our government.
Gore tested the water in 2004, and the media met him head-on, fangs bared, in a concerted effort to ridicule and destroy him and to keep their corporate benefactors and war profiteers in office. From the New York Times to the Washington Times to the Los Angeles Times the message to Gore was the same -- get lost.
Over at CNN, Paula Zahn and Judy Woodruff each did an "exclusive" interview with Gore. Each pointed out how popular and wonderful Bush is; each asked Gore virtually the same question -- "Do you really think YOU can win?" Each looked at Gore in stunned amazement, and Woodruff even added in her intensely oh-so-blonde bewildered way (eyes wide, hands spread) -- "People are saying that nobody out there likes you, even the leaders of your own party. Given that (you're such a ridiculously low lying slimeball) -- what makes you think you can win...?"
People are saying. Should anyone doubt who those "people" are, during the same period, CNN's Suzanne Malvoux opined to then morning anchor Soledad O'Brien, "There's a connection between Bush 43 and the public -- it's a comfort level...Bush has a glow about him." O'Brien announced a bit later, as if noticing it herself, "Bush seems to have a glow about him." Later, Woodruff credited Malvoux with reporting earlier that "Bush is so relaxed, he has a glow about him." Later in the day, Wolf Blitzer commented, "Some people are saying that Bush has a glow about him..."
Gore was determined that the election be more than some "media" people saying he is boring, he is fat, he is a liar. He knew that Bush, if forced to address the issues facing this country, if forced to explain the disconnect between his words and actions, explain to Americans why their civil rights were being desecrated in the name of freedom, explain how a "man of God" could morph so effortlessly into an "Angel of Death," he could not -- and should not -- survive. So Gore withdrew, hoping to set the stage if not for Bush's defeat, at least for him having to answer some critical questions about this nation's economy, its domestic chaos, and the pathological lies that took this nation into a bloody, senseless war.
Going Quickly, Alone
The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani did review Gore's book, pointing out that it was "largely free of the New Age psychobabble and A-student grandiosity that rumbled through" his 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance." Kakutani reminded readers that Poppy Bush had earlier dismissed Gore as "Ozone Man," but conceded that Gore's "passionate warnings about climate change seem increasingly prescient," and that his "wonky fascination with policy minutiae has been tamed in these pages..." Finally, while noting that Gore wrote the Introduction for (1994 reprint) Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," Kakutani wrapped it up by sneering that Gore "isn't a scientist like Carson and doesn't possess her literary gifts," and accused Gore of writing "as a popularizer of other people's research and ideas."
Perhaps if Kakutani had known that, just 18 months later, Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations ... to counteract such change," she might have mentioned that the premise of Gore's book was clearly that global warming is not just about science nor is it just a political issue. It is a moral issue and we -- all of us -- have a responsibility to do something about it. Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" is, as Kafka wrote, "the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
Al Gore is a "larger than party" guy, and stands head and shoulders above the hypocritical Bush clones in both parties who are flip-flopping all over the campaign trail. Since 2000, he has wielded that axe again and again via op-eds, speeches and face-to-face interaction with the people -- a wake-up call to resist the imposition of tyranny by the powerful. As early as 2003 Gore was ahead of the pack, warning Americans about the loss of civil liberties, unwarranted searches and seizures, and illegal surveillance.