Watching the film An Inconvenient Truth was an odd experience. Aside from the fact that it is hardly a film at all, with no observable cinematics or narrative to speak of, the reappearance of Al Gore in a starring role is compelling. Gore, who limped off of the American political stage after the 2000 election after being gang raped by Dick Cheney, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and James Baker, as well as their election-stealing goons in Washington and Florida, returns to face public gatherings to discuss his unbending assertions about global warming and the urgent need for America to take the lead in combating its causes and, perhaps, its effects.
Nearly forty years after the birth of the mainstream environmental movement in this country, all Americans know what global warming is and suspect that substantial sacrifices on the part of all developed countries in the coming fifty years and beyond will be required to begin to reverse the problem. If that is, indeed, possible. This recognition comes in spite of the best efforts of major industries, primarily oil and automobiles, to quiet or outright kill the discussion. (For a more vivid picture of how that game has been played, see Who Killed the Electric Car, if only to watch how the California Air Resources Board and General Motors drove the US electric car program off the cliff in one of the most shamefully misguided and corrupt environmental decisions allowed by a government body in the history of this country.) Most Americans today accept that a meaningful attempt at solving the problem will require an adjustment in our foreign policy, our taxes, our regulations and our standard of living.
Which brings us back to Gore. Gore has been standing there with his finger in the dyke for some time now, patiently and insistently exhorting us to come to the aid of the ailing planet. In spite of a perceived Clinton fatigue in 2000, and Gore's own baggage as a less-than-captivating frontman, it took an impossibly anomalous set of circumstances, led by that ever-reliable Democracy-hater and Bush family hit man, Baker, to deny Gore his shot. Gore won, no mistake. But like a kid on a corner with his shiny new bike on his birthday, Gore was no match for Baker and Company, who proved they can steal whatever they wish, with impunity.
And yet, Gore is still here. Still on message. Still demanding that America must do great things and make great sacrifices in order to remain a great country. Gore, who wants to remind Americans that every so often, we must reset the dials and knobs, compressors and gauges of our system in order to better balance capitalism and the Constitution. Watching Gore, I realized that other emerging candidates for the 2008 election may have ideas on a range of issues that confront us today. But there may be one problem that, in an actual triage sense, must be solved before any other. Just as the patient with multiple fractures but one truly life-threatening injury must be treated promptly and effectively, global warming may be the thing we have to address before we set all of the other broken bones. And for that job there seems, at least for now, only one specialist to call on.
Watching Gore, I couldn't help but think how we owe him, and ourselves, another look at the man.