Friday, June 02, 2006

Fred Wilson endorses Al Gore

Fred Wilson is a smart venture capitalist. His business is keeping up with trends. He went to a conference where Gore was a guest speaker and came away with his battery charged. Gore's clearly running, and Fred Wilson supports the idea.

I've been thinking a lot about Al Gore in the past month.I believe that he ran in2000 because he was supposed to. He was groomed his entire life to be President. But when it came time for him to run, he didn't really have a "reason to be President" other than the empty wall on his father's home where the pictures of his presidency were supposed to go. That wall is still empty, at least metaphorically.

But the Al Gore I saw last night knows why he must run in 2008. He wants to provide the political leadership that will allow us to deal with the looming ecological crisis. He wants to lead our country, and hopefully the rest of the world, toward a sustainable energy policy. He wants to embrace the power of technology to inform, educate, and provide a platform for political discourse and reason all over the world. He wants to face down the financial corruption of our politcal system. He wants to face down the scourges of terror, genocide, AIDS and other pandemics running rampant in our world. These are the things he cares about. These are the battles he wants to fight.

Al Gore talked last night about where all the Senators were when Robert Byrd spoke to an empty Senate chamber on the eve of the vote to back Bush's war in Iraq. He said they were at cocktail parties all over the country raising money so they can run 30 second spots defending the votes they made.

Al Gore isn't good at that part of the political process. I know. I've raised money for him and he doesn't know who I am. When I shook his hand last night, that was crystal clear. He's not the face to face politician that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are.

And maybe that wil get in the way of him running again. The biggest thing that Al Gore has added to his public persona since 2000 is a self awareness and a self deprecating style. He said last night that, "I am not particularly good at politics". And "I don't like much about politics".

But as Al Gore ended his interview last night with a passioned fiery challenge to everyone in the room, my friend Howard turned to me and said "he's running". I sure hope so. Because I am looking for a leader with a vision and Al Gore has it in spades now.

Comments are not all that supportive. I am undecided myself. For me the debate is more important than the candidates because it reflects the political will and how it is being orchestrated by leadership, both incumbents and challengers. And yes, the challengers are very much a part of leadership. Politicians have learned that using the right language is more important to getting elected than believing what you say. It is for that reason that I have such a jaundiced view of electoral politics.

In the case of Al Gore the issue is global warming. Just as George Bush has tied his wagon to the war in Iraq, Gore is hitching his to a vision of environmental salvation which by proxy can be just about anything you want it to be.

Critics try to make him look like a fool because global warming has been going on a lot longer than modern oil refining. The history of archaeology is filled with past cycles of warming and cooling that have been going on for thousands of years -- ice ages, frozen mastadons and all that.

Nevertheless there is still no compelling argument to ignore environmental concerns. Just because we are all gonna die anyway is no reason to ignore the benefits of diet, exercise and not smoking. Those who would criticise Gore because he is in favor of preserving the environment should think very hard about what they are really saying.

Here's a little exercise for the reader. Lindsay Beyerstein points out that the vulture population in India has been decimated by pharmaceutical additives in the food chain. this is in India, remember, not North America.
Question: Which candidate or candidates running for office would be most responsive to such a problem?
Is this important? If not, then why not?
Am I the only one who thinks that what happens in India could have implications for North America?
Just saying.

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