I wanted to share a few of the more powerful words and images created in the light of Al Gore’s incredible achievement, and humbly add a thought or two of my own.
First, Josh Marshall:
There are several layers of irony and poetic justice wrapped into this honor. The first is that the greatest step for world peace would simply have been for Gore not to have had the presidency stolen from him in November 2000. By every just measure, Gore won the presidency in 2000 only to have George W. Bush steal it from him with the critical assistance of the US Supreme Court. It’s worth taking a few moments today to consider where the country and world would be without that original sin of this corrupt presidency.
And yet this is a fitting bookend, with Gore receiving this accolade while the sitting president grows daily an object of greater disapproval, disapprobation and collective shame. And let’s not discount another benefit: watching the rump of the American right detail the liberal bias of the Nobel Committee and at this point I guess the entire world. Fox News vs. the world.
And not to forget what this award is about even more than Gore. If half of what we think we know about global warming is true, people will look back fifty years from now on the claims that “War on Terror” was the defining challenge of this century and see it as a very sick, sad joke — which rather sums up the Bush presidency.
In spite of what the Republican right wants us to believe, this herculean effort was never about personal glory for Al Gore. It is a selfless act, born of a deep commitment to the truth, and a dedication to the health and well-being of all on Earth. But since they cannot fight the facts, which as Stephen Colbert once said “have a well-known liberal bias,” they must counter with outright slander and the most personal of smears…
Speaking of which, along with the great Media Bloodhound, I too was appalled to see the New York Times give prominent placement to such worthless garbage. Contrast that with the simple and understated treatment on the Apple website:
Al has put his heart and soul, and much of life during the past several years, into alerting and educating us all on the climate crisis. We are bursting with pride for Al and this historic recognition of his global contributions.
Yes, Gore is a member of the Apple Board of Directors (he’s on Google’s Board as well), but he’s also an American icon now recognized for his efforts by the global community, and that feat alone is worthy of acknowledgment. But we can’t give him too much glory, or else some people (even make-believe ones like Fake Steve Jobs) will look to Al for even more…
Now it is time. You must run. Not because you want to run, but precisely because you don’t want to run. That, Al, is your strongest point. You don’t want it. You don’t need it. You dare now to be yourself. No artificiality, no stiffness, no falseness. You are who you are. And we need you. We, your fellow Americans. We need you. Now more than ever. Our nation’s soul, hurt by this foolish war, cries out to you. We’ve been wounded by an administration so obsessed with so-called “terrorists” that they don’t notice the earth’s temperature rising at an alarming rate — nearly a tenth of a degree in just the last ten years. So blinded by fear of Iran that they don’t see the snowcap receding on Mt. Kilimanjaro, and icebergs melting and breaking apart in Antarctica. For nearly eight years we have suffered under this madness. This must end.
I don’t often admit it, but I voted for Bush in 2000. I was warned repeatedly by a close friend, but the overwhelming media bias against Gore (especially at the local level in Ohio — the Columbus Dispatch was ruthlessly brutal) had me so thoroughly snowed that I pulled the lever for Bush instead. I still recall a distinct sorrow and shame for my decision at that very moment, knowing in my heart that I was making a grave mistake (obviously that regret remains with me to this day, and even voting against him in 2004 brought little relief). Luckily, there is a silver lining, as Andrew Sloat so eloquently reminds us of the beauty in the 22nd Amendment…
Clearly, these two men and their causes will forever be linked, and their fortunes intertwined. We know now the many differences and the immense gulf between them. Look no further than these two images for confirmation…
Here is Al Gore. He is consumed with his life’s work, immersed in his passion, actively at play in his mind, and truly unencumbered by his modest office:
On the other hand, here is George W. Bush. He is an empty suit in an empty office, seen here casually bullshitting with Nouri al-Maliki on the phone, obviously fidgeting as his imagined power to wish away an inconvenient truth proves ineffective yet again. It always seems that he is consciously trying to look the part of President, all the while mistaking ceremony for reality:
Clearly one man is a leader, the other is a farce. History will not be kind to Bush, nor should it be, but that is the least of our worries now. And no, this is not about the election in 2000, it is about the future of America and the fate of the world. We must find a way to move forward, together, and only one person can do it.
So please, Al, run. Run for President of the United States in 2008. And don’t take any shit from anyone when you do. Stand tall. Stand proud. You were right then and you are right now.