Where's Al Gore When We Need Him?
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Anyone can champion the Earth when it's easy, yet too many remain silent when it's hard.
The forces behind oil are taking charge in the great energy debate -- and the issue of global warming has virtually disappeared from the political campaign, with barely a word from its strongest advocate.
I have supported Al Gore for a generation but am profoundly troubled by his silence and absence from the great debate during this election year.
Gore did not run for President; Gore did not endorse when it mattered; Gore did not push his issues during the primaries; Gore did not challenge the phony gas tax holiday idea; Gore does not challenge the Mother Earth of all flip-flops and sellouts from John McCain, who went from pretending to be a global warming leader to being the great shill for oil company profits.
John McCain is a second-tier Teddy Roosevelt impersonator with zero in common with TR's championing of the environment, trust-busting attacks on corporate abuses, regulation to prevent children from being poisoned by bad food, and the rights of American workers.
Why is Gore not challenging John McCain visibly, aggressively and clearly?
Why is Gore not challenging the American people to take the hard actions that are needed to conserve energy, to save the planet, and to change the world at such a critical moment?
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger has shown real guts in criticizing McCain and praising Obama. If a Republican like Arnold can be so forceful, where's Al Gore?
Why is a right-wing Republican oilman who financed the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry doing much more this election year than the Nobel Laureate?
The occasional emergence for the big speech is not enough. The occasional crowd-pleaser for bloggers means nothing in the real fight.
The awards, the prizes, the movies, the books, the concerts, the standing ovations and venture capital funds (all of which I have supported for Gore) mean nothing, zero, nada, in the real fight at the critical moment.
Oil is defeating the Earth; oil money is now dominating the debate; oil lobbyists are now controlling the agenda. The debate is now about who supports how much drilling.
The defense of the planet has receded when the politics has become hard.
The debate is largely surrendered when the battle matters the most and the leader of the free world is being chosen.
Whatever one believes about drilling, those who try to persuade a hurting public that it matters anytime soon are committing a fraud, a hoax, a sham, a lie to the public.
Now is that time for all good men and women to come to aid of the country, the people, the planet, and the truth.
Hard truths need to be told and a great battle needs to be waged. For me that means a challenge to my friends, such as Gore, as much as a challenge to the frauds, such as McCain.
Oil is defeating the Earth, and Al Gore should roll up his sleeves and wage the fight that this crucial moment demands.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Rep. Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House. A contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service, he can be read on The Hill newspaper where this essay first appeared.