The Carpetbagger Report offered a thought-provoking post today, inspired by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s column, “Gore Derangement Syndrome.” Both pieces are well worth reading. I left the following comment at the Carpetbagger site:
“It gives me hope that Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to wake up the world -- and Americans in particular -- about the threat and looming disaster of global warming. It further gives me hope that the committee had the wisdom to recognize that global warming will, indeed, bring terrible violence and unrest to the world when the climate starts having a large effect on the global economy. I read Mr. Gore's first book, "Earth In The Balance" back in the 80s, when he was still a senator and the vice presidency was still in his future. I was impressed then, and I've been impressed ever since. I voted for him with Bill Clinton both times, and both times I wished their roles were reversed. When he ran in 2000 for the presidency, I was glad -- Mr. Gore has vision, experience and pragmatism, and he isn't out for self-aggrandizement or motivated by greed. Of course, we all know how the elections turned out. The man who stole the 2000 presidency is a horror and Mr. Gore's evil doppelganger.
“The Nobel committee did the right thing. The right-wingers still hate Mr. Gore because he's right and he advocates necessary change they don't want to admit or face. That change -- addressing global warming, negotiating rather than dropping bombs, making sure that people have adequate health care rather than making sure that Big Pharma and the insurance industry rakes in their billions, and finding workable alternative sources of energy rather than allowing the oil barons to enrich themselves at the world's expense -- means that they might have to give up their goodies. They're selfish and self-absorbed and sadly, self-deluded.
“Why am I hopeful? That Mr. Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize means that the world will change in spite of them. I just hope it doesn't happen too late. And yes, I'm just idealistic enough to hope that Mr. Gore will run for president again in 2008. I think he might surprise everyone when the right-winger's poo-flinging fest leaves them stinking instead of him, and he wins.”
The comment that appeared right after mine, written by reader hark (Comment #35), is also thought-provoking:
“It was a good, provocative column by Paul Krugman today, as so many of his are, but it misses the mark. It’s not just Al Gore, or just Gore Derangement Syndrome. It’s blind hatred by many on the right toward liberalism in general, and its leaders and messengers specifically. They hate Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton every bit as much as Al Gore. It’s blind patriotism and militarism and Christian fundamentalism and American imperialism and economic greed and ethnic bigotry gone wild and crazy. It’s like a stampede of pure, raw hatred sweeping across our country and trampling it to smithereens. They hate all things liberal with a passion that is breathtaking and limitless and terrifying.
“It’s horrible to watch, and completely dispiriting. And I don’t know what the solution is.”
It does, indeed, seem like America has been swept by hatred and fear. Perhaps it rises from a longing for a simpler world, for times that didn’t seem so fraught with anxiety and greed. But that world never did really exist except for in our imaginations. People have always had to face troubles, even if they consisted only of filling their bellies each day – and of course, there are millions of people all over the world whose lives are that still that “simple.” My bet is that they’d trade three squares for their hunger anytime.
Hatred, fear and greed: These are what move America today and, I’m afraid, what will continue to move us in the near future. But I do believe that Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize win heralds a shift in the wind. Maybe there’s still hope for us.