I know I should be happy. Al Gore's Nobel Prize is, frankly, much
cooler than an Oscar. We now see that Al Gore is one of America's
greatest exports to the world, a true global statesman. I now
profoundly regret all those times I just thought he sounded wooden
and pompous and a bit too much like a second-grade teacher.
I should be happy, but I'm not. I think the reason I'm not is rather
obvious. Al Gore did all these great things as a free agent, a
private citizen, not as our president.
You don't need to imagine what might have been. Here it is, straight
and true, jumping off the front page.
Our lives as Americans, and the lives of so many people in the world,
would be so different but for one vote on the U.S. Supreme Court.
(Putting aside that mess, do you think Gore could win his home state
of Tennessee now?)
If we lived in an alternative universe under a President Gore, and
could communicate with ourselves back here in this universe, what do
you think we might say? Maybe: "Poor schmucks!"
But we live in the here and now, where supposedly 9/11 and the next
9/11 are the only tragedies worth getting worked up about. The whole
planet in crisis: Now that's something to get worked up about,
because it's not random, it's not ideological and it does affect
everyone, starting with drowning baby polar bears and working its way
down to flooded coastlines and mega-hurricanes. Al gets it.
The depth of my depression comes from a different kind of fear: Gore
is not going to run for president. He should BE president, but it
doesn't look too much like he'll run. (Would you, if you were him?)
The only way to get Gore is to endure a dreadful mashup in this
ridiculous early-primary rush before the first day of Spring. Either
everybody kills each other (figuratively of course) or, perhaps, we
wind up with two or three candidates locking up tons of delegates
quickly before any one candidate has momentum.
In the latter scenario, everyone wins, except no one does - no one
candidate has a majority, no one has momentum, the primaries solve
nothing and we all start to look for a way out. A deal? A brokered
convention? Or a savior? Yes, that'd be Al, riding in on a white
Fantastical? Of course. Which goes back to my depression. Democrats
could lose the race the White House quite easily, again, with either
of the current top two candidates. Or we could have movie-starring,
concert-promoting, Nobel-prize-winning do-gooder at the top of the
ticket. Well, a boy can dream.