What does Al know that we don't?
Why, given the opportunity that's been presented to him on a silver Prius, is this man not going to run for (and win) the presidency of the United States? If ever there was a clarion call to be answered it is this one: heed the will of the majority of the people, take back the yoke Bush and his cracked team of highjackers have used to steer the country into the ground and pull the ship skyward again.
Why, after his self-imposed banishment to the wilderness (suburbia), where he along with every other sentient being has observed the feckless evil of the current executive tenant and his Neo-posse, does he demur? Could he know that any run at the office would surely turn out to be a hollow chrysalis which, after gestation, would not incubate a butterfly but more likely belch forth a wingless, blind slug; that an educated, experienced, wise adult can lead more effectively and make more of a difference by being an activist/celebrity and riding a wave of pop-culture popularity, rather than relying upon the rusted and jury-rigged contraption quaintly referred to as the electoral process?
Maybe Al knows that America (to paraphrase Paddy Chayevsky) is a dying giant, that perhaps she is dead already. And the "business of government" is merely the scramble of organisms over the carcass's wan, flaking skin; any rumbles from within aren't the sounds of legislators engaged in constructive debate but the gasses issuing from the anuses of the bacteria digesting the sad corpse's putrefying innards. Are we destined to have the presidency so finally and utterly mediocritized that it no longer holds any attraction for the most qualified person in recent memory who would imbue it with the honor and prestige it -- and we -- deserve?
Well then, that's what Al must know. Because only that kind of realization would prevent him from participating. He says that politics no longer holds any allure for him. And really, why should it? He won an Oscar, for chrissakes. He's raised awareness of a real issue that actually effects us all in a way that makes him truly a uniter -- not a divider. He is the world's activist uncle. George Bush standing in front of his American Enterprise Institute portable backdrop can barely scrape up a strangulated hosanna from his meticulously vetted and dwindling audiences.
Having only once appropriated the toxic phrase "cut and run" to describe the result of catching my fishnet stockings on a partially extruded staple embedded in the side of a bed post (A long, dull story. Forget I mentioned it.) I am forced to resurrect it once again. It's an extremely ugly phrase, wielded by extremely ugly people but I will use it as that mediocre apparatchik/harridan Jean Schmidt never intended: to provoke the discouraged conscience of the marginalized true-patriot who would ably restore what has been so ignobly destroyed. On second thought, it's so shallow and inflammatory that I can't stand to apply it even in a good cause. There has to be some other way to convince this man of his worth. May be we need to convince him of our worth?
Because this country, for all its gaudy fascinations, for all its daily desperation to fend off reality by consuming goods from China as though they were oxygen atoms is also a country of souls betrayed by their loyalty to the idea of America the beautiful, the judicious and the brave. And it is not the loyalty itself that is at issue but those whom we have entrusted with it. A presidential election is not a parlor game, though it may resemble one far too closely. It is as close to being a sacred exercise as this secular republic asks of its congregants. We require a real leader now, one with a true understanding of the importance of why this country must function correctly and efficiently. We and the world depend on it. So here's your hat. And there's the ring. America needs you need to lead us now more than ever.
That's what we know that Al doesn't.