Home > Political Ranting > Gore Wins at Oscars

Gore Wins at Oscars

February 26th, 2007

…But I have heard that Bush is demanding a recount.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. But indeed Gore did win; An Inconvenient Truth won not only Best Documentary, but it also scored Best Original Song, “I Need to Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge.

CNN has a predictable take on it; their headline: “Gore uses Oscar speech to plug environmental cause.” As if it were inappropriate. Well, duh he used the speech to plug the message. Gore wins an Oscar for making a documentary on the environment, you think he’s gonna talk about Britney Spears? The Oscar is a strong kind of public validation for his documentary and its message, the award stage is completely appropriate for that message.

The right wingers will, naturally, blow this all off as Doofus Al Gore getting kudos from ultra-liberal Hollywood, as if that’s enough reason to further entrench themselves in the belief that Gore is wrong, and that a Gore presidency would have been a disaster.

However, let’s look at two key pieces of evidence in plain sight. First, Al Gore did not just jump on the global climate change bandwagon yesterday. He was way ahead of the curve, trying to spread the word for the past three decades. As he makes clear in the documentary, he was turned on initially by evidence that greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures were both rising at the same time; he studied the subject seriously, saw much farther than a lot of others on the subject, and has been vindicated by ever-growing scientific consensus that global climate change is real and is man-made.

This just a few weeks ago from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a highly-regarded scientific organization made up of top scientists studying climate change:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal
  • Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (greater than 90% likely) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations
  • The probability that this is caused by natural climatic processes alone is less than 5%

It is becoming more and more clear that Gore was right on this all along. Early action to stem the crisis could potentially save the U.S. trillions of dollars down the road. The right wing’s reaction: let’s distort what he’s saying and ridicule him.

Second point: Al Gore saw the Internet coming, understood its value long before most others, and made its present form possible.

Gore saw the value of a high-speed national computer network as far back as the 1970’s (when the Internet was still in its infancy); in the 1980’s, when civilian use of the Internet was being defunded by the Pentagon, Gore pushed for it to be used beyond strict scientific research, and eventually got the “Gore Bill” passed–officially, the “High Performance Computing and Communications Act” of 1991, which was at the time aimed at creating “a high-tech ‘data superhighway'” that would “link computers in the nation’s research, education and military establishments” and “eventually will evolve into a universally available National Public Telecomputing Network that may be the successor to the telephone system, marrying the entertainment, communications and computer industries.” This act led to billion-dollar funding for the development of the Internet.

It is the contention of the creators of the Internet that Al Gore was instrumental to building the foundation of the Internet as we know it today; without the legislation authored and pushed by Al Gore, the Internet boom of the 90’s, with its value of trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy, would have been far less than it was.

The right wing’s reaction: twist Gore’s words taking credit for his actions, and ridicule him mercilessly.

So when the right wing derides Gore for winning an Oscar tonight, they’ll be right on the same track they’ve always been on.

The thing is, on two major subjects of great importance to our society, Al Gore was prescient, seeing the value of both issues decades before they gained popular acceptance.

Isn’t that a quality you would want in a leader? Take a look at George W. Bush. His major prediction about what is important was the invasion of Iraq, and on just about every single aspect of the operation including its overall necessity, he was dead wrong. The result: The United States has lost significant power as a world leader, the region is erupting into chaos, our military has been weakened to the point of breaking, terrorist organizations are thriving, and our country is paying in thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

And the right wing lauds this man as a visionary and a hero.

Some dare to speak of Al Gore running for president. A tough sell in a Democratic field already choked with strong contenders, and more set to enter soon. Despite Gore’s clear vision and achievements, the public image of a man ridiculed is still strong, and Gore himself has said he would not run. The “Draft Gore” movement might have the right man and a strong will, and personally I would have a tough time finding anyone more capable than Gore to be president.

Unfortunately for us, that will probably not happen. Fortunately, however, Gore is still going to be around and very visible in pushing for a better world.

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  1. sy
    February 27th, 2007 at 07:58 | #1

    (I’m with Gore all the way on the environmental issues. So I feel bad bringing this up, which is why I’m writing this in parenthesis, but An Inconvenient Truth is really not a very good movie. Iraq in Fragments is a far more accomplished film.

    But the Academy doesn’t usually get this category right, often picking popular over quality. That’s why the silly penguin movie won over Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room and the outstanding Murderball.)

  2. Luis
    February 27th, 2007 at 09:41 | #2

    Haven’t seen the other documentaries nominated, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right; the Oscar nod could very well be more for the strength of the issue than the artistry of the filmmaking. Which might call into question the relevance of the award to filmmaking–but it doesn’t change my suggestion that it is a validation of one sort of the issue–in fact, it strengthens it, I think.

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