"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan
"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." - Douglas Adams
It is becoming more and more apparent that a person can do more good for their country by remaining free from political office and staying out of Washington.
This axiom has never been truer than in the case of former Vice-President, Al Gore. As of this moment like a jaded lover unwilling to forgive us for not fighting enough for him in 2000, he has given no indication that he will trust us again to run now or ever. He remains, so far, more than a little aloof toward submitting himself to the political boxing ring, even when, at this late stage in the 2008 primary, his name is considered in many straw polls alongside the Democratic front-runners as a serious contender.
Having said all this, it is clear he has by no means left the problems of this country, alone in the hands of the politicians chosen in his stead.
In his new book, "The Assault on Reason", it becomes clear why he has not re-entered the political arena through his party affiliation. This book could not have been written by a political candidate swayed by the wants and whims of partisan politics. It remains, through Gore's lack of commitment to campaigning, above all of that.
Although the villain in this book is unquestionably President Bush and the policies which have held this country in the grip of ignorance for nearly seven years. Al Gore himself has not taken the role of the Democrat hero posturing for a run to the white house. Rather, he is simply and eloquently commenting on the problem and offering up his solutions which his years of experience offers. This is a book, which will one day take its place on the philosophy section of your local library, and Mr. Gore appears to have wanted to keep it that way.
This tone of the writing makes one think of the political theorists who hammered out the first ideals of our newborn nation in their various publications of their own. One is reminded of Thomas Paine or even Thomas Jefferson as one reads the pages of Gore's latest work. Where one might have felt that his last book, "An Inconvenient Truth", might have perhaps been a bit too focused on a popular audience and therefore lost its academic strength, this book remains a strong intellectual work.
One passage which perhaps best sums up some of the language and the focus of the book comes early on in Chapter 2 titled "Blinding the Faithful"; When you boil down precisely what went wrong with the Bush Iraq policy, it's fairly simple. He waged the politics of blind faith. He used a counterfeit combination of misdirected vengeance and misguided dogma to dominate the national discussion, bypass reason, silence dissent, and intimidate those who questioned his logic both inside and outside the administration.
Some of the Chapter highlights include: "The Assault on the Individual" in which the description of the freedoms that have been taken from us in the last six years lists like a laundry of abuses which rivals Jefferson's rather famous declaration in its thoroughness; "National Insecurity" where it is shown how Iraq was "marketed" to us as linked to terror during the peak season of our fear and anger following the crisis of 9/11; "Democracy in the Balance" which indicates that our civic union might never have faced a crisis of this magnitude as yet; and finally the "The Rebirth of Democracy" which functions as the obligatory prescriptive conclusion.
Now before this article turns into the type of in-depth analysis of the political philosophy of this text usually reserved for the likes of college professors, let's just say that Al Gore has written a book very worthy of reading. Both for students of politics as well as anyone else scratching there collective heads and looking around wondering where their country has gone in the last seven-odd years and why everyone seems to be sitting quietly in a basket.
This was most certainly the intention of Al Gore and two hundred years from now, though he may not necessarily be remembered as a president, perhaps that might be for the best. This book may end up being by then that proverbial last laugh, and describe to history, as well as the present day, what has happened to America in the first decade of the 21st century.