Posts Tagged ‘Al Gore’

There’s a lot about Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of the United States, under Bill Clinton, that seems misunderstood to me.

It is suggested that he ran such a lousy campaign when he ran for President in 2000 that he lost his home state of Tennessee. But it is understood in some circles that
egregious intimidation and disenfranchisement of certain voters wasn’t limited to Florida.

The former college roommate of Tommy Lee Jones didn’t say he invented the Internet. The then-senator did create and introduce the High Performance Computing Act of 1991, which “led to the development of the National Information Infrastructure and the funding of the National Research and Education Network (NREN).

“The act built on prior US efforts of developing a national networking infrastructure, starting with the ARPANET in the 1960s, and the funding of the National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet) in the 1980s. The renewed effort became known in popular language as building the Information superhighway.”

“A spirited defense of Gore’s statement penned by Internet pioneers Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf (the latter often referred to as the ‘father of the Internet’) in 2000 noted that ‘Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development’ and that ‘No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution [to the Internet] over a longer period of time.'”

There was the kiss of his wife Tipper at the 2000 Democratic national convention. From all reports he wasn’t the wooden figure he had been portrayed.

“Claire Shipman of NBC speculated… the kiss sent a message. It signaled that Al Gore (unlike some presidents we know) is a faithful husband. Excellent point; imagine what would have happened if the Clintons had dared such a scene. Though some viewers were charmed by the Gore kiss and others squirmed, no one doubted that it was based on reality. There you have what really makes it seem odd. The kiss struck everyone as a political gesture based on truth, and nothing is rarer than that.”

Then there’s his wonky slide show presentation An Inconvenient Truth, which won the Academy Award in 2007 as Best Documentary, Feature.

Did any of this actually ‘save the world?’ “OK, you got us. Ten years after the movie’s release, climate change is still a growing threat and a polarizing issue, with record-breaking heat unable to stop skeptics from tossing snowballs on the Senate floor.

“But we’re also seeing corporate, political, and societal mobilization against the crisis on a scale that would have been hard to imagine 10 years ago, and there’s no question the film played a big part in getting us there.”

As Albert Arnold Gore Jr. said recently, “In 2017, Mother Nature certainly got our attention with a series of devastating extreme weather events. Our thoughts continue to be with the people of the US Gulf Coast, Puerto Rico, and California as they recover from the floods, powerful hurricanes, and wildfires made ever-more severe by our warming world.”


The irony of our family seeing An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is that we drove about 40 miles to see it on Labor Day weekend. The movie came and went in the local theaters too quickly, so we trekked to Williamstown, Massachusetts, where my wife and I had been just the week before, and we noticed it would start playing there.

Image Cinema is a nonprofit entity in the town where Williams College is located. My daughter, on a school field trip, had visited there in the last year.

Matt Souza of Salon wrote: “Would I still recommend ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’? Sure, although I doubt there is much one could glean from this movie that couldn’t be obtained by rewatching ‘An Inconvenient Truth.'” I think that was my problem is that it was Al Gore forming groups of people to take on the fight, or occasionally reminiscing, and that it wasn’t quite enough…

Until the footage of the 2015 devastation from Typhoon Koppu, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Lando, that struck Luzon in October 2015. Somehow, the sheer enormity of the storm made me sit up. And soon thereafter, the movie showed recent (2015) storms in east Texas and Louisiana. Obviously they were not the storms from 2017, and THAT was the point.

Maybe it’s because I’m a poli sci geek, but my favorite part of the film, near the end, involves getting India to agree to more solar power in some sausage-making horse trading for the Paris climate accord. And then, just before the end credits, the news that the US was pulling OUT of said accord, which I knew, of course, but it still ticked me off. (If I thought it would do any good, I would recommend a certain party watch at least the Paris section.)

It’s sometimes difficult to connect the dots, and we treat each rain event, massive fire, and drought as unconnected from each other. In the Weekly Sift piece Houston, New Orleans, and the Long Descent, the author noted that while “President Obama had at least managed to include climate change in the federal government’s own building plans,” his successor has – foolishly, to my mind – reversed that policy.

I found An Inconvenient Truth compelling movie making, and the sequel not so much, although I happen to like it when Al Gore gets angry occasionally. Still, the Daughter had not seen the original movie, so An Inconvenient Sequel was an instructive enough use of our time.

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