Friday, July 18, 2008

Big Oil's Ox Gored by Big Al

I haven't written on the subject of the environment here, yet, despite that it is a subject to which I have devoted hours and hours of my time in both study and action over the past year. Yesterday, something happened to change that. Former Vice President Al Gore--the very man who would be our president today if not for the greatest political embezzlement ever perpetrated upon the human race--gave a speech on the necessity of converting 100% of America's energy production to solar and wind power within ten years. I strongly urge you to use the link on the left side of this page--under "More Deserving Dots"--to see and hear the 30-minute speech yourself. Al Gore says more in this speech that could secure the future of our children and our children's children's than all of the speeches made by the current administration over the past seven years.

I'm not going to summarize what Mr. Gore says in my blog. I'd rather use the bytes to urge you to contemplate two things: 1) What might the US and the rest of the world look like today if the occupant of the White House over the last seven years had been AG instead of GWB?; and 2)How did it happen that American presidents are chosen not for the content of their ideas or character but by the timing of their sighs or their appeal on television?

How is it that GWB's dereliction of duty in the Air National Guard during wartime and his connections with Big Oil received less air time on the major networks and cable channels than AG's alleged "exaggerations" about his influence on the development of the Internet? Does a candidate's style really matter more than what she or he does? Answer: only if her or his style can be spun to instill enough fear in the electorate to overcome the things she or he does that scare the hell out of the people who own the news media.

I fault Al Gore--and his party--for being far too wimpy about the events of November and December of 2000. It seems to me that liberals/progressives are overly sensitive to the feelings of others--to the point that they let neoconservative's zealotry run roughshod over the truth, even at the cost of a very important election.

However, the mainstream media also had a vital role to play, in that--as Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols explain in their brilliant book, Our Media Not Theirs--they were far too amenable to listen to the Republican mantra that the voters had declared Bush II the winner and the Democrats were trying to forestall their will. This came about the moment the networks and newspapers became businesses and not purveyors of news. With staffing cutbacks and greater fiscal dependency on advertising, reporters became--as McChesney and Nichols claim--mere stenographers, capturing the words of partisan elitists of the left and right without inquiry into wherein lay the truth. It took Greg Palast, writing for British news media, to reveal the truth about the disenfranchisement of thousands of poor Florida voters--a direct attack on democracy that could well have, by itself, changed the outcome of the election.

Well, you may say, but that's ancient history. It couldn't happen today. If you feel this way, I encourage you to post a reply and tell me why you feel that way. I only see things getting worse when it comes to mainstream media in the US.

As for Al Gore's energy plan, all I can say is that it's bold, workable, and will be fought tooth-and-nail by the likes of Exxon/Mobile and the coal and natural gas industries. I'm with him 100%, however, and will give time and money to the effort to bring it into fruition. I don't call myself "Legacy Guy" for nothing. I believe that the greatest mission of my (Baby Boomer) generation is to make it possible for my children and their children to live, first of all, and, beyond that, to live healthy and happy lives. I'm willing to make sacrifices to make that happen but I don't see Gore's plan as being one that calls for a great deal of sacrifice. I see it as one that will do far more for real people than did Kennedy's dream of putting an American on the moon. It will be expensive--Gore estimates as much as $3 trillion over the next decade. That's roughly what the ill-advised and -fated war in Iraq will cost us before it's over. Consider what we will have when the money's spent on Gore's project compared to what we will have when all our soldiers are home from Iraq.

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