The “inevitability” meme is beginning to set. Bill himself is being rolled out. Ordinarily this race would be all over but the counting. But the times we live in are anything but ordinary. In fact the urgency and magnitude of the challenge we and the rest of the world are facing call for leadership of historic proportions. I will argue that Hillary is not that leader. Though she is experienced, highly competent and immensely well-funded, she is the epitome of the hawkish, powerfully connected, corporate-funded Washington insider who are masterful only at the art of “politics as we know it”. But most of all she lacks en epic narrative, one that taps directly into the Power of Myth. She is no visionary, nor are any of her rivals. And a vision of unprecedented breadth and power is what these parlous times are crying for. The era of business-as-usual, lesser-of-two-evils American leadership cannot continue. The stakes are simply too high.
Right now public opinion is being stampeded into accepting the impending coronation of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee in 2008, a media narrative four years in the making and now being carefully shaped by the power-brokers in the DLC and their fair-weather allies in the corporate media (with a little Rovian reverse-psychology thrown in by the usual suspects, to spice up this all-too-predictable horse race). Indeed, just like John Kerry’s in 2004, after the media-fabricated crash-landing of the Dean campaign in the Iowa primary, Hillary’s inevitability is wholly manufactured, by the power of money to shape opinion and of insider influence to block out others.
But there is another kind of inevitability, of a far more profound and unstoppable kind, the kind that sneaks up when nobody’s looking and then in hindsight, seems blazingly obvious. One that appeals not to one’s “lying eyes” but to the intuition, like a nagging certainty of a better tomorrow that fuels even the wildest hopes which even the corporate, consolidated media will eventually be dragged kicking and screaming into recognizing.Because it stems from an overarching narrative, that taps directly into the most ancient of human stories, common to all cultures across the centuries. the saga of the Hero:
(a) character that, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display(s) courage and the will for self-sacrifice, that is, heroism, for some greater good,
On Dkos alone, many diarists and commenters have already made the connection between Al Gore and heroism, most notably for his actions in the wake of the catastrophic events in New Orleans in 2005. But several others make an even broader connection to the Hero myth. For readers who, for whatever reason, remain unconvinced of the inherent potency of a Gore candidacy, each of the following is worth reading in its entirety and pondering carefully.
Al Gore Rising: The Fourth Turning
We are reaching the end of things now . . . best for Congress to hold quiet. The culture is about to flip. And when that happens everything gets different. The poles reverse their electrical pull. The Emperor becomes the Sith, the Sith the Emperor.
I’ve seen it flip before. Practically in my high school football field in Newport, RI. From Eisenhower Optimism & the Positive Face. Then a little known and undernourished Magical Animal came out of the borderland forest and lake lands of Minnesota. It is said in hindsight that the Sixties started in a minute, when Bob Dylan switched from a wooden guitar to an electric one in Newport, in the summer of ’65. Then everything was different.
And now it is flipping again.
The diarist, Bernie Quigley, makes a powerfully eloquent case:
History has its gatekeepers. They open doors and they also close doors. Ronald Reagan was a gatekeeper to the third post-war generation of culture and politics, now in the last 15 minutes of its 11th hour.
George Bush the Little is gatekeeper too. Since he first arrived in national politics it was clear that his fate would be to close the gate that Ronald Reagan opened.
The Strauss & Howe books, particularly The Fourth Turning, are easier to understand than the Vedic wanderings of Spengler, Jung and Toynbee. (…) History comes from its own nature and the seeds of the third generation are sown in the first. The seeds of the fourth generation are sown in the second. In between, the avatar which will rise later lives in shadow. (Like the “Sleeping King” in the Tolkien stories.)
John McCain is exemplar of the third generation, taking his inspiration from the first and finding his “Fathers” in first generation – the WW II warriors. (…) The third generation warrior wants to be like the first: He wants to live again the culture of valor because it is good and true. But first generation didn’t get to valor from book, movies, and memories of blood relatives. It came to them instead direct from necessity and the survival instinct.
The second generation sleeps as the third rises or sends forth it’s sith and its shadow side. It is time for it to rise now and it will rise with this picture: Earthrise. Earthrise is the picture taken from space of the earth rising in the distance with the moon as ground in the foreground. It is time for this to awaken.
The picture was taken in 1968 from the dark side of the moon. Mythologist Joseph Campbell said at the time that this image would change us. It would change the way we would see ourselves, much as the discovery that the world was round changed the way we were centuries ago. The Al Gore movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” opens with this image and the fourth generation will also open with this image and this movie.
(…) The new generation will awaken now with the awareness that we and the planet are in danger. And Al Gore opened the gate.
Tthree more diaries, all from last year, speak more specifically to contemporary American cultural myths:
Al Gore is The Lion King by Dkos diarist allanthus is beautifully written and passionate:
There is a story I’m sure most people are already familiar with. The receptors are already in place. It’s just a question of pouring the candidate into the mold that already fits him like a glove. The story goes like this: The legitimate leader, groomed for the job, is forced into exile by a usurper. There follows a period of near-catastrophic misrule during which everyone suffers but the usurper’s minions. The exiled leader hangs out in the wilderness where he gains New Wisdom. Reluctantly he returns from exile and restores balance and health to the kingdom. The story is both ancient and universal. Whether through the intellectual route of Joseph Campbell or the straight-to-the-heart magic of Disney Studios, it has deep and compelling resonance.
And what Gift for the People would candidate Gore bring with him out of the wilderness? What is the issue with which he is most clearly associated? Visionary ecology, restoring the balance. What was the title of his first book? Earth in the Balance. What is the over-arching theme of the Lion King? Restoring the balance. What is the one issue that transcends partisan interests? Global warming.
Global warming is the meta-issue that nobody is yet talking about and Al Gore owns that issue. He is, in effect, the only grown-up in the room while everyone else is squabbling over scraps, over stuff that won’t even matter when the cataclysmic changes overtake us. It’s the only issue that hasn’t been kicked around and slobbered all over to the point where it’s just an indistinguishable mash of tired rhetoric. It’s simple. It’s big. It’s shiny. It’s new. It’s tailor-made for New Deal Democrats in need of a goal towards which to mobilize. It’s JFK’s Moon and FDR’s Depression all rolled into one. It has fear and endtimes cliff-hanger drama for those who respond to that kind of stuff, but more significantly it poses the kind of practical problem that Yankee ingenuity thrives on, engaging the optimistic, sleeves-rolled-up, can-do spirit that made this country great. It’s a whole a new organizing principle just waiting to emerge from the wings like Simba returning from exile, like the sun rising after a long and agonizing night, clarifying everything, putting the jackals of pettiness to flight.
And kossack diarist davefromqueens lists ten reasons why this is so in
Al Gore: America’s Simba
Al Gore’s script as to why he’ll be President in 2009 (in a huge landslide) was already written in the Lion King. Al Gore is Simba.
The Lion King is a phenomenal animated movie in which a happy place is torn apart by a psychologically deranged brat who wrongfully takes over the kingdom with the rightful heir banished from power. While the deranged brat rules, the creatures of the jungle see their homeland destroyed, their standard of living decimated, and their resources stolen out from underneath them.
What’s the only way for the kingdom to be saved? To have Simba come back and take the throne. America faces the exact same situation.
Another is by George in AZ, The Return of the King:
Gore is the only Dem candidate whose comeback would actually be heroic, following the gross injustice that was perpetrated on him and on the country in 2000. There are deep currents in the psyche of the American mind that resonate strongly with the idea of a fallen hero – the victim of treachery – overcoming it and returning to victory.
If Gore were to tap into those currents, which I believe he could, his race would be suffused with an epic excitement among supporters. And his victory would be a moment of profound national redemption that would, on some deep level, satisfy even his detractors that an injustice had been righted, that a national wound had been healed and an epic disgrace in America’s politics had turned out well, in the end.
It is the story of Ulysses, of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s Odysse, and it is the story of every reluctant Hero since, who, persecuted by Fortune, ultimately triumps over betrayal and treachery to defeat his ennemies, vindiacte his name and save his people.
Now, as 2007 winds down and the 2008 presidential race heats up, America stands at a crossroads. The most recent Pew Research Center poll of 46 nations, taken to coincide with the UN meeting on climate change this week puts America’s loss of influence in the world in the starkest terms:
The survey found that positive attitudes toward the United States had plummeted since 2002, when the first in a series of Pew Global Attitudes surveys was taken. Those with favorable views of the United States have fallen from 60% to 30% in Germany, 61% to 29% in Indonesia and 30% to 9% in Turkey.
More than 45,000 people were interviewed by phone or face-to-face for the survey, which used nearly 60 languages or dialects.
The poll found sharply rising concern about environmental problems as the world’s biggest threat. Majorities or pluralities in 34 of 37 countries where the question was asked identified the United States as the chief culprit.
Most sensible Americans know that this generalised disaffection, even among America’s staunchest allies, is not explainable by some facile talking point or easily dismissed as the work of “Blame-America-firsters”. Any American who has travelled abroad in the last few years senses that a historical groundshift may be occurring. To borrow a phrase from climate science, a tipping point may have been reached with regard to international resentment of the American hegemon, and its well-documented heavy-handedness and strong-arm tactics in dictating internal policy to other nations, with the help of international institutions like the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank. For the rest of the world, U.S. militarism, adventurism and de-facto unilateralism has been a fact of life since the rise of the military-industrial complex, which Dwight. D. Eisenhower famously warned about. So-called “regime change” is not a new concept. It has long been a covert policy of the U.S., when and wherever it was deemed in the national interest (Iran and Chile being only two of the most glaring examples). And the world has long held to a sharply different narrative regarding events in the Middle-East than the one embraced by successive Israeli and Us administrations.
Most importantly, of all the candidates currently running for the candidacy of the Democratic Party, none (Chris Dodd would come the closest, if he were better known, notably because of who his father was and because of his stated positions in the current primary race — it’s not surprising that he is the only candidate in the ’08 race whom Gore has singled out for any praise ), but no, none can command the level of trust and respect that Gore is reaping and that the international community has been expressing in the form of awards and honours of every kind, the epitomy of which may well come in a couple of weeks in Oslo, Norway, if he wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
For all the conventional wisdom spewing forth in the traditional media from the DC elite and pundit class, the Hillary Clinton juggernaut is not an unstoppable. For all her money, access and power, Hillary herself has not been able to capture the imagination of the American people, let alone the base of the Democratic party. As for Al Gore, his support among grassroots Democrats is wide and deep, and rising among Independents and Repentent Republicans. There is no doubt that leadership is his calling. Not only has he been groomed for it since childhood, his entire experience of life and politics place him at the crossroads where America finds herself at her moment of greatest need. As the great dkosser buhdydharma most eloquently put it, Destiny seems to be calling him.
Right now the nation-wide movement to draft Al Gore is building momentum in many States, gathering signatures on essential petitions to get his name on the ballot, readying to carry him forward when he finally pulls the trigger and announces he is in. When he does, at the time and place of his choosing, he will be running a guerilla campaign, as unconventional, bold and people-powered as Hillary’s is safe, steeped in money and politics-as-usual. He will run on ending the war in Iraq, which he warned against before it was launched, and on his signature issue of putting the full power of the world’s only superpower behind the Herculean task of adressing the planetary emergency, the danger he has been has been single-mindedly striving to avert for the last thirty years and which is now upon us. He will argue passionately for a Global Marshall Plan, a visionary set of policy solutions first outlined in his ground-breaking 1992 book Earth in the Balance (now available in a new edition)and which he again linked to the global fight for social justice, just this week, during his (grossly under-reported) talk to world leaders at the UN.
Gore is ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment. I leave you with a prediction from Kos himself, which at this point sounds prescient:
One reason I’m not jumping aboard any 2008 bandwagons is that I’ll wait as long as necessary to see if Gore will jump in. That’s ultimately my guy this cycle. And even though I don’t think he’ll run, he’s really got all the time in the world to make a final decision.
Gore was just nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and while any schlub can get nominated, it’s Gore’s backers that make his bid impressive — Conservative Member of the Norwegian Parliament Boerge Brende and Heidi Soerensen of the Socialist Left Party. It’s rare trans-ideological support.
The prize will be announced in mid-October. So say Gore scores an Oscar and Nobel in the same year, he can announce in November and still become THE story in the primaries. It’s not as if he’ll need the full year to get his name recognition up or make the case for his candidacy. He would instantly raise gobs of cash (I’d bet on tens of millions in the first 24 hours) and become the media sensation of the winter. He would instantly make hundreds of millions spent by his primary opponents obsolete. Talent would flock to him, decimating the staffs of his opponents.
Heck, if done right, a serious “Draft Gore” movement could have the shell of an infrastructure in place for him to adopt.
If Al Gore is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he will have been handed a mighty shield to wear into his battle to restore America’s honour and reclaim her soul. In that battle, the future of Earth’s children and the ultimate fate of human civilisation are at stake as never before. The time has come to put an end to politics-as-usual and this time resist the usual media-generated stampede, based on cleverly orchestrated, consultant-driven “communications strategies”. The time has come for Democrats to offer the American people more and better than a pre-ordained outcome, more and better than a choice between the lesser-of-two-evils. Democrats must embrace the people-powered, grassroots revolution spearheaded by Howard Dean in 2003 and fuelled by blogs like Dailykos. You have the Powerr, Dean famously told his followers and this time the People, not the consultants, not the pundits, not the power-brokers behnd the scenes, the People must decide the outcome of this race and carry the candidate who most inspires them all the way to the White House.
These are extra-ordinary times, that call for extra-ordinary courage, leadership and vision. Only one prospective candidate has it. Please help to spread his urgent message that solving the planetary crisis must be the organizing principle of the next american administration. Talk to your friends, talk yo your neighbours. And visit Draft Gore central at America for Gore to find a Draft Gore group near you. And join the My Two Cents campaign. Embrace the dream and get ready to hit the ground running the minute he declares.
crossposted at dailykos