Thursday, January 24, 2008

AlternativeVisions/Al Gore/Surgery

(P1) Philosophical

Ahh! If We Only All Would Be As "Naive" As Don Quixote!!

Then perhaps we'd get around to getting important new action going. Don't say "can't."
(collages by ed coletti 2008)

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(P2) Political

from Huffington Post 1-240-08

Rick Jacobs

Why Al Gore is Not President

Posted January 23, 2008 05:27 PM (EST)

Al Gore is truth. Think about it. He says what needs to be said without fear, without posturing. He leads.

He succeeds in the worlds of politics, business, and diplomacy. He reads and writes history. He has access to the smartest people on the planet. He has a loving, close-knit family who are his best friends. He rose from the politically dead in 2000, left behind by his "friends" who thought he could no longer help them, having lost an election to thieves.

Today, Al Gore quietly endorsed equal rights for homosexuals. He did not make a big announcement. He didn't hold a press conference. He didn't stand in front of a rainbow coalition. He just put up a video on his Current TV. It's vintage Al Gore: just the facts, a statement of the obvious that our politicians are too scared to address head on.

Two years ago, Al was honored by the Human Rights Campaign here in Los Angeles. He thought long and hard about whether to say that he supports the right to marriage for gay people. He shared with us his process by giving us a scintillating, unscripted history of civil rights in our country, with the inexorable conclusion put up today on Current. At the time, I wrote here that he was America's soul.

So why didn't he run? Well, why should he? Last year, he won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize. Oh yeah, he also had a New York Times bestselling book. Again. Since 2000, he has built Current TV against the odds and against the "conventional wisdom." Current preceded YouTube by three years. The network provides edited, high quality, largely user-generated content. As with its founder, it's global in its reach and information. And it makes money.

He founded Generation Investment Management, a global asset management firm that focuses on sustainable investing. Sustainable, not just green. Sustainable means that companies invest for the very long term, that they have business models that account for people, not just for profits today. He recognizes that capitalism is the global economic system and if we are truly to change human behavior, we have to work within the markets.

While Al Gore did not invent the Internet, as Vice President he made sure that the Internet would be available to everyone, not just to a few big telephone companies or the Department of Defense. He worked closely with the founders of Google to help guide them to the prominence Google now has. He's on the board of Apple, one of the most innovative technology companies in the world. Does this mean Al has "sold out?" Quite the contrary; it means that he understands the intersections of business, the environment and technology, all keys to America's (and for that matter the world's) long-term future.

In September 2002, Al Gore spoke out against the march to war, while others were either voting to give President Bush the power to attack Iraq or cowering in fear of being labeled "soft on defense." He speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to media consolidation (read Assault on Reason if you have not), as they relate to our democracy and society and as they in turn relate to our long term future.

When I think of the qualities of a president and try to relate those qualities to anyone alive, I always return to Al. But we know why he didn't run. The day he'd have heeded the call to serve as president, he'd have been brought down. Rather than lauding a leader, the pundits and his "friends" would have asked about his shoe color or his speech patterns. Who needs it? While I think Al Gore would be one of the best presidents in modern history -- a combination of JFK and FDR at a time when we need both -- the political system in this country, ruled as it is by a punditocracy and consultantocracy, would have been threatened by someone who owes them nothing. They'd have spent night and day sharpening their knives to keep him out.

Unfortunately, this campaign shows just how silly things have gotten. Former President Clinton has made himself into a midget by serving not as statesman, but as attack dog. And while I like Senator Obama's message of hope, I want to know what's really inside, what he really believes at core and how he'll transform that upbeat message into action in one of the most complex and daunting times in our history. John Edwards has a consistent message that resonates, but unfortunately, not in the media.

Al Gore chose wisely. He has sacrificed enough. And even so, he continues to lead on all of the issues that matter to our country and our world. All of them. In a week or a few months, we'll have a nominee. We'll all be told to rally around the winner for the sake of unity and because the alternative is so horrible. I guess it's a modern fantasy to imagine we'd have a candidate for president who is not just the lesser of a few evils, but who really combines hope, experience, creativity and wisdom. I know some believe that those candidates are out there now; I hope they are right.

Whoever becomes president would best serve our nation by relying on one of the modern wise men, who lives his life according to the inscription above the Georgetown University Library (translated from the Latin): "Knowledge is Truth and the Truth Shall Set You Free."

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(P3) Poetical

Open Heart Surgery

When you realize the surgeon touched your heart,

you go numb like a New Guinea mud man recently told

that a guy named Armstrong set foot on the moon

imprinting it darkly with size 12½ shoes disturbing its dust.

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Anonymous said...

Gore is not president because he lost an election after seven recounts. The Supreme Court had nothing to do with that outcome. They ruled on whether closing the polls denied voters their Civil Rights. They ruled that the Constitution does not provide for an individual right to vote.

Ed Coletti said...

Dear Anonymous,

Please reread the piece. You've totally missed the point. And, while I love to receive comments of all types, please, in the future, do as I ask in the invitation to comment and "Log in under "Nickname" or "Anonymous" if you like, but please be sure to sign some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you like." Otherwise the comment loses some credibility.

slamduncan (not Tim) said...

Actually, the Supreme Court had every thing to do with the outcome of the 2000 election. But, that was 8 years ago, over, done, forget it.

And, yes, anonymous did the miss the point of the post entirely. I admire Al Gore because he took the loss and went about his own agenda, an admirable one at that. He certainly is doing right by staying out of the bun fight now going on in the Democratic campaign for president. While the two leading candidates (the wrong ones IMO)are slinging mud at each other, Mitt Romney sails off into the lead in the minds and hearts of the country (well, not all the country).

While 2008 should have been a shoe-in for a Democrat president, November will again provide a squeaker. Especially if Bill Clinton wins the nomination (not a typo). Mark my words.

V. Ginzberg said...

Happy Birthday, youngster! And many many more. Love your P3, which I read through all the time.

BJ said...

I wonder how Al Gore would do in the 2008 presidential election if he entered the campaign as an Independent after the parties have determined their nominees? Consistent with the integrity with which he has conducted himself since his defeat in 2000, he could remain "above board" in his message and even refuse to participate in the debates. It wouldn't work, but what a refreshing campaign that would be. Alas, among other things I fear his crusade to bring awareness of global warming to the world may have polarized the country too much anyway.
Regarding Barack... His allure went down dramatically for me after he pulled the race card on Hillary. It was silly and I hope a result of poor advice from his people, and not his own reaction. I sense some naivete in him, and I question his readiness at this time. Being a Democrat, my choices are left to Clinton and Edwards, the latter being the better candidate of the two as I see it. But, Edwards' success looks unlikely.