16 October 2007

A Nobel Undertaking – and the Road Not Taken

As you’ve probably heard by now, former Vice President Al Gore is the co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. In awarding the Prize, the Nobel Committee said,

Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians. He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing. His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.

By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man’s control.

Now that pretty much everyone in the world, with the exception of the Bush Administration, has lauded Gore, speculation is rampant that he will ride this tide of positive publicity right on into a campaign for the White House.

Unfortunately, I’m here to say “not so fast my friend”.

Think about this for a minute. Gore was one of the most qualified candidates ever to run for the Presidency, and was coming off of eight years of relative peace and prosperity. He defeated an inexperienced, inarticulate Texas governor by half a million votes, yet lost the election 5 to 4. Since that time, Gore kicked around for a while searching for some meaning or purpose to his life, and found it with his crusade to raise awareness and turn the tide of global climate change. Since taking this new path, he has been hailed by nearly all the world, and has received accolade upon accolade, culminating with what some consider the most revered honor in the civilized world.

When everything is going so well for him, why on earth would Gore want to return to the stage of his most bitter disappointment, his singular failure? Why would he, having found his crusade, his mission in life, want to constrain himself by taking on the office of the President, wherein he would have to deal with so many issues that are less compelling for him than climate change? Why subject himself to the rigors of the campaign trail and the humiliation of intensive fundraising efforts?

As much as I would like to see Al Gore as our next President, I just don’t see it happening. If I had just received a Nobel Prize for what I had been doing the past few years, I think I’d be pretty well inclined to keep doing it. Wouldn’t you?

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