The letter I handed Al Gore today
by Jim in Chicago, Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 06:54:53 PM EDT
[Also posted at DailyKos]
Al Gore was in Chicago to sign copies of "The Assault on Reason" today. After thanking him for all he is doing and mentioning a member of my family he knows, I gave him a letter which I hope he will read. In any case, I thought I should make it public in the hopes that others who would like to see him run might find my arguments helpful in formulating their own (I encourage EVERYONE who supports Gore for President to write to him).
Dear Vice President Gore,
Thank you for everything you are doing to try to restore our democracy and save the planet.
I know you feel the current state of political discourse in this country is one in which you might not be the ideal candidate. However, I think the best way to change that discourse would be for you to run exactly the kind of campaign you have been running - to fix our broken political system and solve the climate crisis - with yourself as the candidate for President who could accomplish these goals.
I know you agree that you could do far more to affect change in these and other areas as President than as an (extra)ordinary citizen. You also know how little time we have left before the climate crisis reaches a point of no return and how fragile our democracy is right now. Other candidates who just want to get along or who have shown little inclination to oppose the most dangerous aspects of the power-hungry Bush administration will not do what is necessary to undo the damage of the last seven years and restore our country.
To paraphrase Paul Krugman, others are running as the next Eisenhower when our country desperately needs another FDR. It will take someone of FDR's stature to make the country realize (and accept) the extent to which things must change (far beyond just getting out of Iraq) and to get the rest of the world on board. You alone have attained that stature - through your courageous work since you were denied the Presidency in 2001.
The very act of your running will immediately change the political discourse and give ordinary Americans a voice. Other candidates pay lip service to valuing the "grassroots" but are really running old-style top-down campaigns. I know you admired the campaign Howard Dean ran in 2004 when he told his supporters "You have the power" to change this country. (It is because of Dean that I am now heavily involved in politics.) Because Dean was little known before he ran for President it was easy for those who opposed his ideas about giving our democracy back to the people (including some very powerful people in our Party - you know who they are) to marginalize and defeat him.
With your long political career, your brave speeches opposing Bush on the war, your Oscar-winning documentary, your #1 bestselling book, and your upcoming series of Global Warming concerts (and possibly a Nobel Prize this fall), your candidacy will not be easily derailed. Also, Dean based his candidacy on the internet when it was still in its infancy as a political tool. Anyone who doubts how much more powerful it has become in the last few years should talk to ex-Senator George Allen!
And if (please make that "when"!) you run, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans will "have your back" and be ready to help swat down the attacks which will come from those who have an interest in things not changing for the better. A recent poll on DailyKos asked readers what they would do if you entered the presidential race. Over 21,000 responded: half said they would abandon their current favorite for you or have been waiting for you all along. The support for you was 2/3 of respondents when self-described "leaners" are included. That's how much you are favored in the progressive community.
Howard Dean was right: We do have the power. But it takes a leader to focus that power and allow us to use it productively. You, sir, are that leader. Just the act of your running will do great things for our democracy. Your winning will do great things for our world at a time when true leadership from the United States is desperately needed. For these reasons, I hope you will listen to all those who are beseeching you to run for President. As I said, we will have your back.
[Jim in Chicago]
(I taped a copy of the DKos poll mentioned above -- http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/6 /1/125229/5447 -- to the back of the letter.)