Friday, May 18, 2007

The Last Temptation of Al Gore

Then, suddenly, Gore was laying American democracy itself on the couch, asking why the U.S. has been unable to take action on global warming, why it has made so many other disastrous choices—rushing into war in Iraq, spying on Americans without search warrants, holding prisoners at Guantánamo Bay without due process. "I'm trying to say to you, be a part of the change," he told the crowd. "No one else is going to do it. The politicians are paralyzed. The people have to do it for themselves!" He was getting charged up now. "Our democracy hasn't been working very well—that's my opinion. We've made a bunch of serious policy mistakes. But it's way too simple and way too partisan to blame the Bush-Cheney Administration. We've got checks and balances, an independent judiciary, a free press, a Congress—have they all failed us? Have we failed ourselves?" ...
? What if he could take who he is now, all that he's learned, and carry it back into the maelstrom? Could he stay as he is or would he revert? What if he launched a new kind of campaign: no handlers, just the liberated Gore talking about what really matters to him? Would he seem too squishy? These days he improvises, giving freer rein to matters of the heart and spirit than he ever could as a candidate. He draws from a number of faiths, from philosophy and self-help and poetry and from Gandhi's concept of truth force, the idea that people have an innate ability to recognize the most powerful truths. He often cites an African proverb that says, "If you wish to go quickly, go alone. If you wish to go far, go together."

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