I saw Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, yesterday. It was a powerful film. Even though I have followed the science concerning global warming, I left the theatre understanding the extent of the problem much better than I had before. It should be required viewing for all Americans.
But today, as I reflected on the experience, I kept coming back to one central thought- What if the election had not been stolen from Gore? What if Al Gore had been President for the last six years? First of all, we would have had a President bright enough to understand the complex issues and problems that the country has faced since that election. But, perhaps more importantly, a President articulate enough to talk about those problems in ways that all Americans, no matter what their education or background, could understand.
What is most impressive about the “slide show” that Gore is seen presenting in the documentary, and that he has presented over 1000 times over the last 6 years, is the positive responses he has received from scientists who are climate experts and, at the same time, average Americans who have no background at all about the problem.
I started thinking about FDR and the qualities that made him such a great leader. As America faced the Great Depression and World War II, It was the “fireside chats” over the radio that gave Americans the sense of common purpose and the courage necessary to face those two great crises. FDR had that very rare ability to speak to all Americans, no matter what their education or background. I think Gore has that same ability to communicate.
Media elites and beltway pundants claimed that Gore was too much the teacher. They claimed that the average Joe found Gore boring and pedantic. We voted for Bush because he came across as an average guy himself. We were comfortable with him and didn’t enjoy being preached to. According to this view, we need sound bites and bells and whistles to keep our attention from straying. We don’t want to hear boring facts. Instead, we want emotions and human interest.
Well, not only is that attitude patronizing, it is clearly pre-911. In a time of crisis, instead of a sniggering, inarticulate buffoon, the American people needed a leader in the mold of FDR. Go see the documentary. Tell all your friends and acquaintances to see it. Not only will you learn something about the climate crisis we face, but you will see what might have been. You will see Al Gore present an amazingly complex set of issues in an entertaining way. He is funny and he is passionate. He is dead serious and he is clear and precise. He is exactly what we need in a leader.