Al Gore is a challenge to the traditional idea of politicians. His manner is more like that of your favorite high school teacher. He is the anti-demagogue. He invites you to listen and think about what he says, and to engage in a meaningful dialogue. His time out of government has allowed him get a perspective on the major problems facing the nation and the world.
He is a terrific threat to what the American political system has evolved into.
Here is a great take on the slams and smears that have been directed at Gore and his books.
Ironically, of course, these reviews actually illustrate Gore’s central point. They cast him as a liberal monster who aims to suppress free speech, or they make fun of his writing, his sighs or his professorial manner, rather than focusing on his arguments. They aim to win with image and rhetoric, not content.
Which is great as entertainment, but not so great for understanding issues that really matter: how and why we’ve slipped from first to sixth in global business competitiveness, why our infant mortality rate ranks down there with Latvia’s, or why the Chinese are graduating more engineers every year than we are.
Surely a good share of the extreme animus against Al Gore comes from the far right, who seem to hate him viscerally, and from powerful business interests with no particular desire for widely ranging debate amongst an informed public. These interests like to paint Gore – and his idea of government that would use rather than abuse knowledge – as the products of some kind of demented science-crazed lunacy bent on shackling the human spirit with equations or computer programs, and luring us into a scientifically planned hell-on-earth.
The piece is well worth a read, as it casts some light on the forces that would be arrayed against Gore if he were to run for president. It is a sorry state of affairs. I read David Brooks’ piece in the NY Times the other day, and thought about commenting on it, but decided I really couldn’t refer to people to such a shallow, inaccurate and personal attack on a fine person.
If Al Gore throws his hat in the ring, OTLS! will be hard pressed not to jump on the bandwagon.