Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar and Al

Al Gore’s film about our impending incineration won the Oscar last night.

A Nobel Peace Prize may be next in the offing.

(p)resident geo. w. bsh’s approving rating jumped from 33 to 34 percent.

Life’s funny, mysterious and unpredictable, which is why most of us get up everyday and face the mediocre situations we configured for ourselves through self-defeating behavior and bad choices. There is no denying that you never know what’s around the corner.

One minute you’re getting ripped off by the Republican Party, the next you’re cleaning the same guys off the bottom of your shoe. One minute they’re riding high for efficiently flattening Afghanistan, the next, “The Washington Post” is writing an article about you entitled, “Al Gore, Rock Star.”

William Booth’s piece is kind and charming, an addition to the Gore bibliography most remarkable for its lack of unflattering and snarky comments. It’s a valentine really, with the telling paragraph informing of us what separates real and committed people from those occupying the White House:

“Before the film? He was more Willy Loman than Green Avenger. After his loss in 2000, a battered Gore began to schlep around the country, often solo, flying coach, giving his ever-evolving slide show about climate change, a threat that Gore, now 58, says he has felt strongly about since his Harvard days.”

Isn’t this what politics should be about?

The scribe scribbled in “The Gore Zeitgeist”... “Doing for his country and the world. Helping. That should be a new road to our presidency. Early in life, (not 18 months before an election) you start out helping the homeless guy around the corner with a meal now and then. You volunteer at the animal shelter. Then you organize a beach cleaning mission made up of your neighbors. And your circles or waves of mutual assistance move concentrically outward, catching on with others so that one effort, started earlier, merges with a different one started after, and so on until your use to the country is indisputable, measurable by something other than how much money you can raise for paid political spots.”

Apropos of everything, the scribe would like to note that Tom Vilsack, the governor of Iowa, has dropped out of the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, a year ahead of the primaries. the scribe never even got to see what Vilsack looks like, never got to hear him speak, never got a chance to be presently surprised or not disappointed.

Some say he has tremendous talent and it's too bad voters didn't get to see him, coopted as they were, by the Donor-ocracy.

As the scribe’s brother observed, “It’s terrible for Democracy. There used to be a way for these unknowns to hang around and maybe deliver a surprise in a caucus, but now that’s gone.”

Okay, we’re not going to get into the virtues of Barack or Hillary, or the respective campaign strategies of they and others, but the scribe was thinking, instead of raising $100 million to pay for two years worth of commercials, why wouldn’t one of these folks raise $100 million TO CHANGE THE WORLD.

Like Gore, they could pick an issue, “schlep” around flying coach as do the rest of us, and spend that money helping people: “and your circles or waves of mutual assistance move concentrically outward, catching on with others so that one effort, started earlier, merges with a different one...”

But that’s just the scribe musing. Maybe THE BIG DONORS don’t want to change the world so much as put a friend in the White House to serve their own purposes.

And the presidency? There are many great lives that fall short of ruling the world. And furthermore, we shouldn’t go where we are not wanted and Washington D.C. has never wanted Al. Gore. So screw ‘em.

What’s better, living like the guy who rules the whole word and whom the whole world abhors, or finding a niche with friends who accept you and with whom you can work to do something life-changing and important?

Having voted and proselytized for Al Gore over the years, the scribe can tell you it is much more satisfying to be "right" about the former Veep than it is being right about, oh say, how stupid it was to go to war in Iraq, because being right about the latter came at the hands of so much innocent blood.

Congratulations Mr. Vice President, the White House seems like a much lonelier place than the “Vanity Fair” party.

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