A Convenient Lie

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 thought about 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 was most impressive about the “slide show” that Gore has presented over 1000 times over the last 6 years is 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 claim that the Average American feels Gore is boring and pedantic. 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, Gore managed to present an amazingly complex set of issues in an entertaining way. He was funny and he was passionate. He was dead serious and he was clear and precise.

When historians compare what might have been with the horrific reality of the Bush years, the term that will come to mind is- tragedy.

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