Each has merits and flaws. From my vantage point however, the right candidate must combine maturity, gravitas, experience, intellect, authenticity, foresight and desire to serve a cause bigger than themselves. Al Gore has flaws of his own but is best suited for the job. We don’t need a nominee who sticks their finger to the wind and follows the politics of expediency. Now is also not the time to nominate a pretty face or sound bite machine with a glass jaw. The real question is will Gore run? So I decided to compose a hypothetical announcement speech in Gore’s voice and try him on for size. Looking at 2008 I like how Gore fits.
(Al Gore standing on a platform in Carthage Tennessee with his photogenic family and gathering of family, friends and media in the summer of 2007.)
To my beloved family, my wife Tipper and the great people of Tennessee I ask for your support as we embark on a quest to renew America. The previous six years our country has grown weaker, our moral standing is diminished and corporate interests have triumphed over the public. America needs to reconnect with its core values of fairness, justice and reward for an honest days work. We’ve lost our way.
I can’t help but think of my dad today. I can feel him with me today. Finest and bravest man I ever knew. He stood up for civil rights and fought against Jim Crow laws right here in Tennessee. He stood up and told the truth about Vietnam. The country wasn’t ready for truth and he lost his last campaign. He vowed the “truth shall rise again.”
Since my last campaign I’ve learned truth will not rise on its own. Truth requires a push. We need to stand up for truth. Fight for truth. Sacrifice for truth. Tell truth to power. Demand truth from our leaders and ourselves.
I was in public life along time and learned from experience. As a private citizen I’ve learned even more. I’m a little older. Grayer. Wiser. Humbler. A lot wider (smiles and laughs)! I’m still very charismatic (self-deprecating facial expression eliciting laughter). And what I’ve learned is politicians can be too afraid to lose. Expediency becomes more important than conviction and telling it straight is sacrificed at the altar of ambition.
Not this time. Not for me. Not for this campaign. The stakes won’t permit it. America has wasted time these past six years. Dependence on foreign oil is accelerating global warming and financing our sworn enemies. We’re on a collision course with calamity and shirking the truth won’t safeguard our future.
There are some among us who believe American society must engage in a global war on terror. They sow fear and rationalize taking away our liberties, deploying troops in wars of preemption and torturing detainees without regard to evidence or due process. They’re wrong. Horribly wrong. Irresponsibly wrong. Morally wrong.
The truth is we’re creating our own calamity. The so called global war on terror is a self-fulfilling prophesy of death and destruction waged by people who believe Armageddon is just around the corner. We’re actually empowering our enemies. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Yes America has enemies and vigilance is required against terrorism and those who want to establish a global theocracy. During my years of public service I was a hawk against terrorism. I still am. Yet when global war against Islamic terrorists abroad is waged by Christian theocrats at home – criminal behavior is justified in the name of righteousness.
In 1942, Christopher Dawson wrote in the Judgment of Nations,
“As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.”
The true path to victory is combining a strong defense, pursuing sensible strategic priorities, enlisting international cooperation and setting an honorable example. Nearly six years after 9/11 our homeland security remains shamefully porous. President Bush and his enablers have managed to undermine national security and erode civil liberties simultaneously.
Security at ports and a broad range of facilities ranging from nuclear power plants to our reservoirs remain unprotected but your phones may be tapped. Nothing is done about nuclear proliferation but old ladies can be harassed at airports. Osama Bin Laden remains at large and the country that provided safe haven for the attackers - Afghanistan – is being taken over by a resurgent Taliban. But our military remains bogged down in Iraq’s civil war created by an ill-advised invasion. We have failed to empower moderate Muslims while civil wars rage in Lebanon, among the Palestinians and Iraq.
America is uniquely suited to empower moderates in the Muslim world by setting an example. Millions of Muslims have assimilated well in the United States and lead productive lives. I served in an administration that helped save Muslim lives in Bosnia. Last year a good and honorable man – Keith Ellison from Minnesota who happens to be Muslim was elected to congress. So America has real assets in communicating to the Muslim world.
Instead we’re seen torturing Muslims and citizens such as Congressman Ellison are not given the benefit of the doubt about their patriotism. Too many Muslim citizens are harassed for what they are and not judged by who they are as individuals.
Republicans hope to exploit fear and some in my party are too timid of being associated as America’s “Muslim Party.” I ask my country, have we grown so cowardly, so fearful and so intolerant that we can’t look upon our own citizens as neighbors? How can we expect to empower moderates in the Muslim world when we’re not committed to protecting liberties and dignity of our own citizens?
My Dad taught me America couldn’t be freedom’s beacon of light as long as segregation infected our soul. He was right. Today I’m standing up and telling my country America will never prevail in its quest to spread freedom and tolerance abroad if we remain regulated by fear and intolerance at home. I’m not interested in leading the Muslim Party, the Jewish Party, Christian Party, the black, yellow, brown or white party, the gay party or the straight party. Instead I seek the nomination for president from the true party of all Americans: the Democratic Party (sustained applause).
As President I will roll up my sleeves and work to address the important challenges of our time. Number one is saving our planet from global warming. Some of you might have noticed I made a movie about it (dry self-deprecating tone and facial expression eliciting laughter). I will be blunt: we have no time to lose.
Natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina will become the norm if we don’t take action today. It’s not a coincidence that glaciers and the polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. This didn’t just happen. This is not fate. Nor is it imagined. Global warming is the direct result of our consumption-oriented culture.
As Americans we have a unique obligation. We consume resources greatly disproportionate to our population. From the ordinary citizen to the biggest conglomerate American society must adapt, mobilize and change. Already we’re falling behind, as companies in China no less are busy establishing themselves in the green industry sector. We fall behind at our own peril. America should be leading the way.
Let there be no doubt I will seek a mandate to mobilize our society for developing clean alternative energy and reduce our carbon emissions. My fellow Americans I’m stating it plainly: if you want to maintain the status quo, drive big cars, make no sacrifices and continue importing foreign oil then don’t elect me. If you want to continue giving your hard earned money to big oil and hostile foreign powers don’t elect me. I intend to empower an American society that’s energy independent, clean and prosperous. I don’t seek incremental change. I’m going to push this country to join the 21st century – culturally, scientifically and economically.
Our schools need to turn out the finest engineers, computer programmers and scientists if we’re going to adapt for a new age. That requires recalibrating our priorities. The task at hand will not come cheap. Oil companies, billionaires and multi-national corporations will have to make due with less. If they’re smart they’ll join in the effort and prosper from it. A used up planet doesn’t do anyone any good.
The average citizen can’t help in this however if they’re struggling to make ends meat. Once upon a time citizens merely needed a work ethic to enjoy a slice of the American dream. Too many Americans are not rewarded for an honesty day’s work because we’ve lost a sense of community.
Workers, small business entrepreneurs and families in George Bush’s America are expected to absorb all the risks, perform the tough labor and relinquish most of the rewards to high salaried CEOs who outsource our jobs. Corporate America and their enablers in Washington have replaced community values with computerized receipts. We haven’t created an ownership society or investor class. George Bush and his cronies have placed the American workforce on a fast moving treadmill and people can’t get ahead.
We’ve seen the results. An American community underserved when disasters like Hurricane Katrina strike. A public school system in decay, skyrocketing health care costs and depleted retirement savings. Environmental and tax laws written by corporate lobbyists while their enablers in Washington lecture the rest of us about values.
I’m a religious man and it angers me when the Lord’s name is used to coarsen our culture with hate, intolerance and greed. Faith has made me humble. I lay no claim to knowing what the almighty considers righteous. I just pray everyday for the wisdom to do right.
I believe what’s right is a bold agenda of progress. I need your help. Let all of us join together. Not for me. Let us come together to restore America’s honor and rightful place as a beacon of freedom, justice and opportunity.
Thank you and may God bless you.
And God bless America.
ADDENDUM: My thanks to "Mike" for including the above topic on his roundup at Crooks and Liars.