Monday, October 22, 2007

whats all the fuss about?

Something interesting happened last week, after Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. The right wing went apoplectic. We even had a letter in Friday's paper condemning Gore from some guy in Mission, BC. Mission to Prince Rupert - am I missing something here?

Sometimes, its the reaction to an event that shows just how close to home it's hit. Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist calls it the “Gore Derangement Syndrome”. “What is it about Mr Gore that drives the right wing insane?”, he asks. Two main things: “partly it's a reaction to what happened when the American people chose Mr Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House.” and”..He's taken everything that they could throw at him and emerged more respectable and more credible than ever.”

Thomas Friedman, another nyt columnist writes: “It is impossible not to note the contrast in his leadership and that of George W. Bush.” Al Gore stuck with his campaign against climate change, starting small and eventually building it into the center of a global consensus. President Bush took the unity that was given to him after 9/11 and squandered it by starting an ill-conceived war against Iraq.

Bush has done more than any other person I can think of to bolster Arab support for Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda. Right now he has approval ratings under thirty percent in his own country, about the same as Nixon had after the Watergate scandal.

Al Gore won an oscar for his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”. Now he has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in publicizing human-induced climate change. The reason he got the Peace Prize is because the Nobel committee understood that climate change has the potential to be the greatest threat to world peace in history.

It's only in the last month (is that a coincidence or what?) that the majority of Republican contenders in the presidential race have admitted that human caused climate change is a major problem. For years Republicans have been denying the existence of global warming because their supporters in big oil and big coal wanted it that way. And besides – Gore was trying to raise awareness about it, so it must be a hoax.

Meanwhile George W. and his cronies are laying the groundwork for a war with Iran that is rumoured to involve nuclear weapons. “Iraq didn't give us all the goodies we expected, so let's nuke the next axis of evil country before they can build their own. They've got a “bad”leader just like Iraq's bad leader. It is conceivable that Iran will be able to build nuclear weapons in five years so let's nuke them before that happens. Too bad we didn't do that with the third axis of evil country, North Korea. Iran, Armeggedon, World War III here we come.”

Here in Canada we have a Prime Minister who wants to follow as close as possible in W's footsteps and, like his mentor, he's running as far away from doing anything about global warming as he can. Imagine, we have someone in charge of Canada who sees George W. Bush as a model.

A poor leader ducks from the big challenges and leaves his country with a bigger mess than he inherited from his predeccesor. Bush may have started the Iraq war, and made it even more of a quagmire through sheer incompetence, but he'd rather see someone else deal with the messy consequences. And the same thing goes for global warming.

A true leader, like Al Gore, will meet the big challenges and galvinize public support for decisively dealing with them. When his time is up he leaves his country better able to deal with the most important problems facing them.

Harper wants to keep us in a futile war in Afghanistan that's doomed to failure because the Americans bailed out when they invaded Iraq. Like Bush, he'd rather delay decisive action on global warming until he is out of office. Like Bush he got to be a leader without a majority of votes. Unfortunately for the people of Canada, Harper took the wrong U.S. leader as his model.


  1. I am working on a name list for my children. I want them to know the name of people who truly care about them by taking care of the environment. I also want them to know the name of the people who are destroying their future by ruin the environment.

  2. Interesting project. It reminds me of the book of Kings in the Bible. Of course, the authors of Kings weren't concerned with the environment but with whether or not a particular Hebrew king was faithful to Yaweh.

  3. what a pile of hooie!al gore is nothing more than a oppertunist!!no one disputs climate change,it has been going on forever,who did they blame then?a british court has shot holes in mr.gores film big enough to drive a 747 through.are they also right wing loonies?we are all good at polluting but causing climate change...give your head a spin.

  4. climate change has ocurred since the Earth first got its oceans but it's almost always been very gradual taking thousands if not millions of years. the global warming that is happening today is at a largely unprecedented pace. It's certainly never happened like this since humans first came on the scene a million years ago. The repercussions of this change to our civilization, our economies, and to our ability to grow sufficient food is going to be catastrophic.
    Al Gore is doing everyone a big favour by increasing public awareness of this vital issue