Monday, May 21, 2007

They're Afraid of Al Gore

Because he wants us to learn.

Whether you agree with his arguments or not, no one can deny he has etched himself a very unique place in our political landscape. Maybe it's because he has spoken out about some of the most controversial topics of our generation, maybe it is public sympathy for having the election stolen from him in 2000, or maybe he just knows how to tell a story. Regardless, the man has found an audience, and he is using it wisely. And it doesn't hurt (for those of us who find it entertaining) that he is causing such hysteria and irrational backlash from the Right.

This week, amid the usual slanderous speculations, weak-minded fat-jokes, and reactionary personal attacks from the right, we see the release of Gore's "The Assault on Reason." The Center for American Progress provides us with a preview, filled with linky goodness for your learning pleasure.

American public discourse is increasingly "vulnerable to the kind of rope-a-dope strategies that Exxon Mobil and their brethren have been employing for decades now," argues Al Gore. For example, a recent survey of 21 nations found that Americans are "among the least anxious" about global warming, "even though their nation is the top source of greenhouse gases." In a ranking of 34 countries, the United States ranks near the bottom in the public acceptance of Charles Darwin's mainstream theory of evolution. Nearly half of the public still believes that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, despite unequivocal refutations of that claim. In his new book, The Assault on Reason, which will be released tomorrow, Gore explains "why logic and reason and the best evidence available and the scientific discoveries do not have more force in changing the way we all think about the reality we are now facing." He sharply criticizes the television media for covering trivial excess and politicians for alienating the public, many of whom believe "that no one in power listens to or cares what they think." American democracy "is in danger of being hollowed out," writes Gore. "In order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum."

1 comment:

  1. Gore's new book is a thorough inspection of what he calls "cracks in the foundation of American democracy." That's the big picture.

    However, he's not afraid to condemn Bush for taking the country to war when he didn't have to, breaking the law and generally running an incompetent administration.