Al Gore is back. Actually, he has been for a while.
Eric Slater from the Los Angeles Times reported that immediately before Gore’s most recent anti-Bush address (you know, the kind that he SHOULD have been giving in 2000 instead of trying to be as much like Bush as possible), he was standing in the lobby of an Idaho hotel with “a puffy face from a ski slope sunburn.” Awww, poor baby. The Bush presidency has been hard on him, too.
“A spot slightly to the left of the Democratic center is where Gore has always felt most comfortable, many who know him say–a place from which he can expound on his concerns over class, race and the environment,” according to Slater in his March 8 article. Oh really? Race, class, and the environment. Let’s see: Al Gore, who as reported in 2000, was the holder of hundreds of thousands of shares of Occidental petroleum, one of the world’s worst polluters; Al Gore, the absentee slumlord whose tenant was threatened with eviction when she complained of a faulty toilet that was seeping sewage; Al Gore, who was a key player in Welfare “Reform”; Al Gore, who wanted NAFTA (and got it; or I should say, many American workers got it); Al Gore, defender of the Defense of Marriage Act; Al Gore, DLC co-founder; Al Gore, who while presiding over the Senate in his last days as Vice President, dismissed the concerns raised by the Congressional Black Caucus over the stolen Presidential election.
Okay, I want to stop here for a second: I have received many responses to my February 26 CounterPunch article. Most were from people who agreed with Ralph Nader’s decision to run. But some, of course, were from those not happy with Nader and who wanted to argue the 2000 election results with me (no thanks). After I told one e-mailer that Gore did win the election and would be in the White House were it not for the racist actions of Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush, he responded back with: but “despite the election tampering” and went on to blame Nader for being in the race. I hit my delete key.
There is something deeply troubling about the fact that it seems like many progressives in this country have followed in the path of the Democratic Party and US corporate media in their forgetting about the revival of Jim Crow in Florida; it seems that beating up on Ralph Nader gives progressives this sort of amnesia. There is no “despite the election tampering!” We should know better. Never forget Katherine Harris had thousands of voters struck from the Florida rolls; 59% of them were Black. I am not Black and do not know what it is like to be Black. I have never had to deal with racism, but I have been discriminated against because of my gender, and I have had to deal with classism more times than I care to remember. So I take these “isms” that I have had to endure and try to imagine as best as I can what it must have felt like to walk into a Florida polling place on election day only to be told that I cannot vote. This, on top of America’s long tradition of racism and hatred (keep in mind, Brown V. Board of Education, passed on May 17, 1954, is only 50 years old). Try to imagine this humiliation. We must not forget the highjacking of the 2000 Presidential Election. After the US Supreme Court’s decision to appoint George W. Bush to the White House, Al Gore did NOTHING! So much for class, race, and the environment.
Gore is now for Universal Health Care; he’s speaking out against Bush’s damaging policies. Too little, too late. He could have stopped Bush in November of 2000 by offering voters a true alternative.
There are those who will read this and charge that I am living in the past. Umm, no. The damaging effects of Gore’s policies can still be felt by many all over the world today. Al Gore, there are those of us who could forgive you if you were to work to try to reverse even ONE of these policies. Come out for gay marriage and lobby some of your former co-workers in the Senate to do the same. Do your part to stop these new electronic voting machines even if you still do not have the gall to speak out against the fiasco in Florida. Do something; all of this talk about health care for all and no action sounds eerily like the empty rhetoric of “compassionate conservatism.” You STILL sound like Bush in 2000.
If all you are going to do is talk, then Al Gore, go away.
BRANDY BAKER can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org