You Can Call Him, "Al"

“A man walks down the street

“He says why am I soft in the middle now

“Why am I soft in the middle

“The rest of my life is so hard”—Paul Simon, You Can Call Me Al

By Greg O'Brien, Codfish Press

Al Gore, no doubt, is soft in the middle, his political life has been hard, and like the man walking down the street in Simon’s pop song, he has sought a “shot a redemption.”

“Don’t want to end up a cartoon. In a cartoon graveyard,” the lyrics note.

Gore is no cartoon today, and you can still call him “Al” on the lip of his 2007 Nobel Peace Prize that he shares with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change, a United Nations amalgam of scientists.

Look who’s smiling now!

On a national stage of elected leaders, presidential contenders of all stripes, and also rans, Gore is in a global weight class of his own. There are no hanging chads on the guy who couldn’t deliver the Sunshine State.

“The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all humanity,” he said in winning the prize. “It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global conscientiousness to a higher level.”

Perhaps the most enlightening facet of Gore’s statement is that he truly believes it—unlike his nemesis, George Bush, whose polite White House response sounded like he had just returned from a bad blind date. “Of course we’re happy for Vice President Gore and the I.P.C.C. for receiving this recognition,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto was quoted in the New York Times as saying. Hold the Rose Garden balloons—not that there’s not ample hot air rising from the Bush Administration on the global warming crisis.

The dictionary defines crisis as, “A situation or period in which things are very uncertain, difficult, or painful, especially a time when action must be taken to avoid complete disaster or breakdown.”

What’s there not to get, Mr. President? Stop playing face book with the American people on this issue.

To quote Clark Griswold in Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation after pre-holiday celebrations went south, “We’re on the threshold of hell!”

The air is warming and the polar ice caps are melting quicker than your favorability ratings, and the consequences of this will create a tidal wave of grief across the planet. The earth needs a champion.

So you can call him “Al,” and to paraphrase Simon, if you will be “our bodyguard,” we will be “your long lost pal.”

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