Where will my typing fingers lead my mind this morning? There are so many topics to explore, from the divine (is there an afterlife and what would it be like) to the absurd (evangelical Christians claiming a Professional Wrestling promoter who paid off a porn star to keep quiet about their tryst three months after the birth of his son was sent by God Almighty to save us all).
Or I could waste my and your time engaging in wishful thinking. For example, how would the world be different if 19,000 Palm County Florida ballots had not been spoiled because of shoddy ballot design and Al Gore had been elected President in 2000?
Here are some possibilities:
Perhaps 9/11 would have been prevented. Bush ignored intelligence warnings that Bin Laden was planning to attack the US. Perhaps Gore would have put the nation on Red Alert, but, of course, there’s no way of knowing for sure.
I am, however, supremely confident that Gore would not have waged war against Iraq – Afghanistan perhaps, but not Iraq — saving hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.
Imagine that money being directed towards infrastructure instead of military hardware.
Remember his much maligned idea of taking the Clinton surplus, placing it “in a lock box” for the upcoming rainy day (think monsoon, deluge) when our aging population overwhelms Social Security and Medicare funds?
John Roberts and Samuel Alito wouldn’t be on the Supreme Court.
The Great Recession avoided.
I could go on.
But what is it about Al Gore that makes him the target of such widespread animosity? He seems to provoke a disproportionate amount of scorn from Late Empire citizens from all walks of life. I remember all too well during the 2000 Campaign when the mainstream [insert nervous throat-clearing audio] liberal press pilloried him, as if coming off as a somewhat pompous, wooden media presence was more worthy of scorn than being a dysphasic Connecticut cowboy with a mutant Midas touch that turns everything he touches into shit, whether it be an oil-drilling company, a war of liberation, or the United States economy. So what if Gore served in Nam? W served his country in the saloons of Texas. So what if W is incapable of delivering an unscripted coherent paragraph? Al Gore claims that he invented the Internet. Ha ha ha ha ha.
You would think that in the ruinous aftermath of the Bush Debacle, people might cut poor Al some slack, realizing that a rather robotic public persona doesn’t mean that human being behind the automaton mask is necessarily a buffoon. Having W as your lab partner might yield a couple of funny jokes you could tell later, but you’re much less likely to have a beaker blow up in your face if Al (or Hillary Clinton) were working at your side.
But people still love to hate Gore. I remember a decade ago when the South Carolina Aquarium bestowed upon Gore its Legacy Award, providing him a pulpit to preach his sermon on looming environmental disaster.
At the time, disgruntled citizens inundatedour local paper with comments like these:
An award? An AWARD??? Instead, ARREST this sorry piece of trash for aiding and abetting the greatest scientific fraud in the history of mankind!
Ask any REAL scientist, physicist, etc. Gore’s theories are not supported by the scientific community.
Anyone curious about how Gore’s family made their money in Tennessee?
[. . .] the SC Aquarium is honoring the father of all hoaxes ALGORE. It is a joke. I sure am not going to visit or take my children to a place that supports fraud science.
We already have clean air, water and food or we would all be dead.
Critical thinking at its finest!
So what are we to make of the general public’s disdain of this well-meaning man? I have noticed similar reactions to certain students when I worked as an educator. For whatever reason, some unfortunates attract a disproportionate fusillade of slings and arrows for their seemingly petty peccadillos – their fashion faux pas, shyness, sexual orientation, intellectual curiosity, etc.
I suspect that this tendency for folk to gang up on the socially awkward lies in some deep-rooted evolutionary adaptation. It’s nothing new.
Our current President, who makes W sound Ciceronian when it comes to oratory, shares these sentiments.