In case you've been wondering when the announcement might come (or been living in a cave lately), today is the big day when we'll find out whether Al Gore will win the Nobel Peace Prize. Though most articles are saying he's "tipped" to bring home the award, we won't know for certain until Friday morning around 5:00 a.m. EDT. One tantalizing detail I saw today fueled speculation that he would indeed win because "Mr Gore cancelled his attendance at a global warming event in San Francisco on Thursday night, citing an unspecified overseas event on global warming." I also read that he was scheduled to appear at a fund raiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer, but called to cancel citing an "unexpected need to travel" to said "overseas event." (Sorry, but the link at RawStory was gone when I went back to find it tonight.)
Now I usually don't get so personally invested in who the Nobel Prize Committee ultimately selects for its awards, but this time it's different, and intensely personal for me, for various reasons, not the least of which is that many in this country desperately need to realize (and publicly recognize) just what a huge injustice was done to him in December, 2000. Of course his Nobel nomination has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal usurpation of his presidency. Nor should it. This Nobel nomination just serves to prove the unrecognized and much maligned brilliance of the man whom I consider to be the best president we never had.
I'm sure that if he wins, the right wing noise machine will still find it fodder for mockery and no doubt attribute the win to the evil liberal conspiracy in Oslo. Honestly, at this point, in what should by all rights have been Al's presidency, I could give a shit what they think. I'm way beyond trying to reason with wingnuts and neo-fascists, because if they aren't going to grant me the courtesy of hearing my views, I can stick my fingers in my ears and go nyah nyah nyah nyah as well as they can. The time for trying to reason with them is long past and they don't even deserve the effort. (Just witness this week the disgraceful smearing of 12 year old Graeme Frost and his family, as only the most recent example.) Nothing would make me happier than to hear the sound of wingnut heads exploding across the country in their rabid froth filled rage. Now, I'm not intrinsically a vindictive person, but where the likes of the minions of the right wing noise machine are concerned in their treatment of Al Gore, I take it very personally. Why? Because Al Gore has been a personal hero of mine for going on 20 years now, and I will defend his honor and his greatness tooth and claw.
I first saw Al Gore back in 1988 when he made his first run for the presidency and during that campaign I was lucky enough to hear him literally making his stump speech on the streets of Madison, WI, where I was finishing my graduate degree at the time. I was so impressed by his passion for the environment that he had me mesmerized ... no one else running was even bringing up the issue of global warming at the time, and many were mocking him for being a tree hugger hippie type. Now, I've known plenty of hippies in my time, but that passionately sincere man sweating in the suit on a hot Wisconsin summer day was anything but a hippie. He was so obviously brilliant that I was astonished that so few people were giving him serious consideration. I fell in love with him then and there (and, you have to admit he was then and still is a very handsome man, not that that should be a consideration, but still ... how many politicians can you say are truly handsome?). I was, being the dirty f*ckin ex-hippie I was at the time, totally on board and proudly voted for him in the primary. (To hell with that bland Massachusetts technocrat everyone was buzzing about, and for whom I ultimately would not vote, out of sheer disgust. And, for the record, that is the only time I have not voted in a presidential election because I was so disenchanted with the Democratic choice that year.) And for those who remember, the guy who blathered on for what seemed like hours on end at the Democratic Convention, (a guy from Arkansas named Bill Clinton), positively bored me to tears ... perhaps because I felt that Al got cheated in the race that year, even though a lot of what Clinton had to say did resonate with me at the time.
Fast forward to 1992. Clinton won my vote by choosing Al Gore as his running mate. I figured that if someone with Al's integrity would run with Clinton, there had to be something good about him, even if, in my gut, I had my doubts about him and his non "cookie baking" wife being in the White House. (Anyone else remember him promising to establish a "New Covenant?" That freaked me out....) All I hoped was that we could end the dreadful 12 years of Raygun and Shrub the elder. Gore was why I didn't have to hold my nose that year when I voted (in of all places, Sarasota, FL, where just getting registered to vote was an acrobatic feat in and of itself). Well, we all know the rest of the story and how that all turned out. But, I would remind you, did Al ever give up on his environmental causes during the whole time? A resounding NO, even if he was, at times by circumstances, held back in his efforts.
Yeah, Al made some big mistakes in his campaign in 2000 (the biggest of which was choosing LIEberman as his running mate), but I never once doubted his sincerity and integrity, even after the last few Clinton years. If only he were able to be in charge, I was certain that he would ultimately do the right thing for the country and stick to his principles. Well, we all well know how that turned out. I wept and spent an angry, sleepless night (well, many of them) that November and December. I've wept many times since for our country ... most recently last week when we watched An Inconvenient Truth again, especially during the part about the Florida recount, when I was sobbing uncontrollably about the loss imposed upon us.
But, you know what? Al Gore has acquitted himself admirably in the intervening years, despite the mockery, despite the charges of alarmism about global warming, despite all the shit he has had flung at him by the right wing noise machine. He has stuck to his principles above all and pursued his great passion for the preservation of the earth, no matter what his critics have said. That alone demonstrates his integrity and his dedication not only to this country but to the world at large. And finally he has gotten some of the well-deserved recognition he should have been getting all along. Let's hope that today brings him the prize that will cement him in history as the visionary he truly is, and will surely remain for the rest of his career, no matter what he chooses to do. I've had a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator for months now (it was intended to celebrate Rove's indictment, oh well...) and if Al brings it home we'll open it and toast his victory!
I'd be remiss if I didn't say at least a few words about whether Al should run this time around. Though he has yet to make the "Shermanesque" pronouncement about his future plans, I'd just like to say that whatever he decides to do, I will accept and profoundly respect his decision. He's already proven himself a true patriot and servant to his country and the world at large, and honestly, I'd not blame him one bit for deciding against running. But if he does (and if the Draft Gore movement does ultimately convince him to run), I will be on board one more time, with all my heart and hope and passion to ensure him the win he so richly deserves.