Crossposted at Daily Kos
“Gore is wrong”. That’s right. I stole that line. Because it’s true. Al Gore is wrong when he says that fighting Global Warming is a moral issue, not a political issue. It is the biggest political issue in the world today. More than any other, it cries out for a policitcal solution at the highest national and international level. Gore knows this. He can’t NOT know it. He’s gone as far as he can lobbying governement leaders and CEO’s. It’s time to lead, but he needs a movement to make his leadership unstoppable, and to maximize his unique and hard-earned credibility around the world. He’s clearly waiting for that movement to happen, to come forward. And it is. It’s happening. Even the media narrative on him is beginning to change. Now it’s all a matter of timing and momentum. And here’s why…
As Bryan Walsh eloquently argues in (of all places) Time Magazine
“We face a true planetary emergency,” he said. “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a more and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.” But Gore is wrong. Climate change absolutely is a political issue, the greatest political issue of our time, and it will only be solved in the political arena, with all the mess and compromise that entails. Environmentalists hate to hear this; they think that global warming is so important it should transcend politics, as the IPCC does, and as Gore himself has in many ways these past seven years. But the final war on global warming will be fought not with PowerPoint but with politics, and it will be fought in the halls of power around the world. The scientists represented by the IPCC have spoken – what we need now are passionate, even partisan political soldiers to lead the way and push the final tipping point from awareness to action.
I can think of a pretty good general.
Amn, brother. One of the strongest and most credible recurring arguments offered by commenters to Draft Gore diaries is that Gore can do more outside the White House, or that being President would distract him from focussing entirely on solving the climate crisis.
Wrong. Gore himself has repeatedly stated, as long ago as in Earth in the Balace (1992), that to solve global warming would require making combatting the climate crisis the organizing principle of government. That would mean filtering every policy, of every department and government agency, every bill signed into law through the template of impact assessment with regard to decreasing GHG emissions. Nothing short of that can accomplish the goal in the time we have left.. That’s the reality we face and which he himself understands with a sense of urgency unmatched by any politician now running for President.
Gore is attempting nothing short of changing the whole political paradygm, to achieve a “tipping point”, as he has so often said, comparing the public opinion “climate” to the planetary climate, both of which, he argues, can change in surprising, non-linear leaps, once a certain threshold has been reached. And last night, he told an audience of 2000 people in Chicago, that we are nearing just such a tipping point. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that he has sounded so hopeful. Until now, he spoke of it as something that had to happen and that would happen, in the future. And when he first posited it, it seemed almost an impossible dream. But then it seemed almost… feasible. And now he’s saying he sees it, just over there, like the first glimmer of day just over the horizon.
Now, anyone who has read The Assault on Reason knows its focus is NOT the climate crisis. It is a detailed critique of all the ways in which the American system of government, once held up as a model around the world, has been debased and perverted, not just by this administration but by right-wing policies implemented by previous administrations from BOTH parties (think Reagan, Bush 1 and sadly, Clinton and his “triangulating” compromises of the 90’s, which Gore himself, as his VP, willy-nilly signed on to).
The book is a both a diagnosis and a prescription, for how to take back democracy and restore the Constitution. And one can’t read the book without getting the message that Gore has no intention of standing by and let the disaster continue to unfold. He is engaged. He will lead. As always by example. And change the way campaigns are run, fought and won. He MUST do this in order to change the political paradygm and make it possible to restore America’s moral standing in the world and rightfully reclaim the leadership of the world community.
But make no mistake. NONE of the candidates presently running for the highest office, from either party, has the international stature to accomplish this. Only Gore, in the last 7 years, through his peripatetic lobbying on global warming around the world, has laid the ground work and positioned himself to lead on solving the climate crisis.
But for that, he must become President and he must do it with the support of a large majority of the American people. First because a close election will almost certainly be stolen (this is the GOP’s last best hope to retain power, and you can bet this present batch of Rovians know they are staring at serious hard time if they leave office). But even more importantly, because the rest of the world must see massive popular support behind the U.S. President, so that when he comes to the table he can successfully negotiate an effective and timely climate change treaty, basd on the Global Marshall Plan Gore has been advocating since his book, Earth in the Balance, and has again restated at the U.N. just a few short weeks ago. Only a U.S. President with a strong popular mandate could then take such a climate treaty back to the Congress and get it approved by the People’s representatives and a majority of their senators.
Yup. Talk about a tall order. But if anyone can do it, Gore can. Because he alone among the current and possible candidates for President dares to dream the impossible and has the skill-set, the experience and above all, the moral courage to make it happen.
In the year and a half since An Inconvenient Truth came out, Gore has almost single-handedly managed to change the narrative on Global Warming. That is what the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him for. And in the coming year, we should expect to see him change a lot more than that. The Times They Are A’Changin’ again, finally (something I had once despaired to see happen again in my lifetime). I haven’t felt so inspired nor harboured so much hope in my heart for America since the days before Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. After 1968, our hopes for a better tomorrow seemed to permanently fade away. Suddenly greed was good and plunder to be encouraged. The poor, the sick, the disadvantaged were kicked to the curb and all those whom the dominant darwinian Right Wing ideology branded as “weak” were damned to hell. the American dream of hope and opportunity was perverted into a grotesque parody of Survival of the Fittest. “Blessed are the meek” became an alien concept.War became an end in itself and those who opposed it were reviled. The flame of hope was slowly smothered until suddenly, in 2000, it was very nearly extinguished. For the past 7 years it has been barely kept alive. What Gore is attempting is to re-ignite it, by unconventional means. Above all he is a teacher, in other words the best kind of leader. One who draws his inspiration from the Enlightenment and America’s Founding Fathers. He embraces the Jefforsonian vision of what America must become.
My generation has hoped before, but we allowed our hopes to be taken from us. We enabled that process. We withdrew like Candide to our gardens in the suburbs, where everything was for the best in the best of all worlds. We turned our backs on the poor, the sick, the oppressed, the downtrodden. We accepted the inevitability meme that the world is as it is and it’s foolish to dream that it could be better. We allowed ourselves to become cynical. And now, in our darkest hour, when our very survival on a habitable planet is under threat from our own profligacy and complacency, someone is trying to rekindle our dreams. Someone is trying to show us the way. And offer a Path to Survival. That someone is saying that all is still possible. But only just. There’s just too much at stake and no time left. It’s up to us.