Monday, January 16, 2006

Gore Grows Spine (Five Years Too Late)

Al Gore gave a rousing speech today. The transcript is a very interesting read as well. This is the kind of speech that if Gore would have made in 2000, we probably wouldn't be in as bad shape as we are.

But who knows. I think that was the big problem with the 2000 election, no one was really sure who was worse candidate. I was 100% sure both candidates sucked. That's why I voted for Nader.

Some good highlights of the speech:

In the words of George Orwell: "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."

Whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes. Dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded.

Moreover, too many Members of the House and Senate now feel compelled to spend a majority of their time not in thoughtful debate of the issues, but raising money to purchase 30 second TV commercials.

There have now been two or three generations of congressmen who don't really know what an oversight hearing is. In the 70's and 80's, the oversight hearings in which my colleagues and I participated held the feet of the Executive Branch to the fire - no matter which party was in power. Yet oversight is almost unknown in the Congress today.

I call upon Democratic and Republican members of Congress today to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution. Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be.

One of the other ways the Administration has tried to control the flow of information is by consistently resorting to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit the debate and drive its agenda forward without regard to the evidence or the public interest. As President Eisenhower said, "Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America."

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women."

Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing -- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

It was a very, very well written speech. I really wish Gore could have made as impassioned and intelligent speeches back in 2000. It's a little late now. It seems as though losing their respective elections was the best thing in the world for Gore and Kerry, although it was the worst thing in the world for countless others pressed under the thumb of this administration, be it the poor here at home or those under the barrel of a gun abroad.

I hate to say this, but Gore is right. Seriously, read the whole transcript or watch some of it if you can. It was a very competent speech, the kind we need to be hearing.

Maybe Gore is poising himself for an '08 Presidential bid. If he keeps giving speeches like this, he might have a shot.

1 comment:

spinaltap said...

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