Photo and audio by Chris Kornelis.  

Click here to listen to the first 15 minutes of Al Gore's speech Monday night at Town


Gore 2.0 Holds Court, Pimps New Book

The anti-candidate tells Seattle, "the rebellion lives!"

Photo and audio by Chris Kornelis.  

Click here to listen to the first 15 minutes of Al Gore's speech Monday night at Town Hall. 

The great thing about Al Gore right now is that he's not running for president.

Even those who hope against hope that he'll jump in for a last-minute 2008 bid, know on a gut level that it's better this way. I'd heard much about the “new” Al Gore, but had yet to see it in person until tonight. Town Hall offered a perfect venue for that with its civic square atmosphere and communal configuration. And the new Gore was in his element.

Pacing the stage in a slick suit and wireless headset, he was engaging and funny. “I'm a recovering politician,” Gore told the mostly baby boomer audience, “on step nine. ...You win some, you lose some, and then there's that middle category.” (Chuckles of recognition. Cheers all around.)

After the pleasantries, he plunged into a 45-minute history lesson that began with the dawn of civilization and hit on the everything from Greek Democracy to the Enlightenment and the advent of broadcast journalism. The message was broad but clear: “We are bound by the mental imprisonment of our shared illusions,” Gore boomed, adding that it's wasn't OK to invade Iraq and it's not OK that more than 40 million Americans go without health care. Eavesdropping on millions of innocent Americans, also not OK, or using the atmosphere like a sewer, or, or, or. “Who we are is not about what we learned in school, or what our parents taught us. We must communicate with each other. We must trust each other,” he said, adding later: “We have to attend to the cracks in the foundation of our Democracy.”

The new Gore may be more professorial than presidential, but his passion resonates. He serves as a salve that reminds us of a time when they weren't out there attacking our freedoms and we weren't attacking other countries. But it's more than just that. He speaks truth in a way that compels, even inspires. But that magic is only possible because he's doing it outside of politics. And it quickly disappeared when he was asked why he did nothing about global warming when he was in the White House. “We lost Congress in 1994 to Newt Gingrich. ...I was the vice president, not the president and not able to define our direction,” he explained, flashes of the old Gore coming out in his sudden defensive tone.

But he quickly recovered and gave the crowd one last nugget to ponder: “We have everything we need save political will, but in the United States of America, political will is a renewable resource.” Though he left the door open a crack, in true polite Seattle fashion, no one asked the question everyone wanted to know. ...Maybe they simply didn't want to hear him say “no.”

comments powered by Disqus