Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

July 27, 2007

The Assault on Reason: Background and A Short Review

Filed under: books, impeachment, politics — codesmithy @ 9:23 am

I just finished Al Gore’s book “The Assault on Reason.” In 2000, I was particularly disheartened by the choice of candidates running for president. The choices were Al Gore, vice-president to a generally good but flawed President Clinton, and Bush, son of Clinton’s predecessor. It was a new millennium, but the choices were relatively dull.   It was generally unexciting campaign.

Gore came off as wooden, which would have been OK except for his campaign’s insistence for him to loosen up, which was typified by his face munching kiss to his wife during the Democratic National Convention. And with the help of some fabricated stories that painted him as an exaggerator, it was tough to shake the image of a say anything, do anything politician wanting to get into the White House to implement his real agenda.

One of the strategic brilliances of the Bush image is despite his inability to properly pronounce words like nuclear, people assume that sunny disposition, plus demonstrably average intellect equals honest person. Certainly, Bush couldn’t have any grand machinations. You can’t have evil master plans without evil geniuses.

The election was close, and came down to Florida. I am positive if you actually asked people who they wanted to vote for that day, and wrote it down and tallied it up, Gore would have won. But, with the flawed systems that were in place in 2000, Bush ended up the winner. Although, the documented behind the scenes chicanery of Katherine Harris should not be forgotten.

In addition, by Harris’ decree, ChoicePoint — a private firm — was hired prior to the election to identify and remove thousands of names from the state voters list on the condition that these people were convicted felons. Many of these would-be voters were turned away at the polls or even prior to reaching the polling places. It would later be discovered that approximately 97% of the people removed from the list — and thus denied the right to vote in the election — were not felons at all. The majority of these voters were African-American, and as African-Americans predominantly vote Democratic, the situation suggested foul play. In any case, the thousands of votes affected by Choicepoint’s error were far in excess of the number of votes (537) by which George W. Bush won the state. Whether or not there was deliberate action to prevent likely Gore supporters from voting is subject to intense debate, as is Harris’ role in the process. – Wikipedia

Invariably, many of the predictions Al Gore made about some of George Bush’s policies turned out to be true (especially when it came to the tax-cut and budget deficit) and Bush in large part failed to follow his espoused policies, even in spirit, from the 2000 election (like not using U.S. troops to nation build).

“The Assault on Reason” is Al Gore’s scathing indictment of the way public policy has been twisted during this dark phase of American democracy.  Al Gore connects the systemic flawed thinking that has been persistent through the disasters of the the last 6 years,  such as 9/11, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq War.  Gore then shows how our government is setting up for future disasters both economically (by not reducing our dependence on foreign oil, lack of innovation) and environmentally.

He presents historical and social factors in the founding the nation and shows their appreciable loss in the modern era.  He also points to the hope that the Internet can once again establish an “informed citizenry.”

I can’t begin to imagine how much the world might be different today if Al Gore had been elected president in 2000.  But, such fantasies are not productive uses of time.  We have to deal with the present to change the future.  A start is to rebuke this president and this administration via impeachment.  As Feingold pointed out, you can’t say this is the worst president in history, then do nothing.  Although, his point is seemingly, that senators should watch what they say, not that they should start impeachment proceedings.  I say they are right, Bush is the worst president in American history, and the congress should have the moral courage to do, what they swore an oath to do: defend the constitution.  Their only recourse is to impeach.

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