The original title for this piece was ‘Fuck Al Gore,’ but some of us were worried about the Secret Service. subter’s own Shawn Wozniak has a few issues with Al Gore’s recent testimony before Congress, last year’s electric bill, and Gore’s refusal to practice what he preaches.
Dear Al Gore,
In the words of the great Mandy Patinkin, you really fucked the duck this time, peanut. Today you testified before Congress with regard to global warming. In your testimony, you repeated your new mantra, that global warming isn’t a political issue but a moral issue. And yet, when you had a singular opportunity to model and live up to your message that we need to make a moral choice to reduce our energy use, create and implement existing energy-efficient technologies and use alternative sources of energy, you declined.
I’m told by my set of morals that I’m not supposed to judge. I know that I’m a bit browbeating at times in urging people to do what I and many others consider the right thing in various circumstances. Finding the balance between humility and spreading the message is a precarious task, and one I continually struggle with and am, in my opinion, rather unsuccessful with. But I try, and I have room to grow in that. But sir, I cannot help but be incredibly disappointed in you for two reasons: 1) that you use so much energy in relation to the rest of the American population. You could stand to bike around a bit more, sir, in hopes that you aren’t someday diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, and 2) that, when called out on your shit, you didn’t take the challenge on behalf of those of us who’ve been taking global warming seriously (for however long we’ve been doing it).
For those of us who’re vegetarians because of the climatic impacts of livestock agriculture, or who’ve biked to work to avoid emitting carbon into the atmosphere via our tailpipes, you’ve betrayed the cause. I don’t ask you to become a vegetarian, or to bike from Tennessee to Capitol Hill or Beijing, but I do ask: What the Hell do you do at your home to use so much energy?
I realize Senator Inhofe is probably one of the most vocal critics of global warming, and a disbeliever. I realize that he was trying to display just how hard it would be for so many corporations to cut their emissions by 90% so quickly. While I do believe it’s possible for them to do, however difficult, I really wish you would have recognized that he was making an example of you. Had you agreed to the incredibly easy pledge, you would probably have surprised him. Yes, he may have had a follow-up question to put you back against the wall, but you’re a politician – you should have seen it.
There are dozens, scores, hundreds, maybe thousands of us activists who envy your capital, both political and monetary, because we know just how much good we can do with it. Indeed, you’ve put it to good use, flying around the world to give your lectures. Hell, I want to congratulate for cutting down on the need for the lectures by producing a documentary, especially as, I imagine, the lectures are becoming more and more popular and are probably filled before most people have the opportunity to find a ticket. But to be able to stand before Congress, fighting for a noble cause on behalf of the fucking planet for cripes’ sake, and to make your appearance a moot point…that takes real skill. I mean, it’s got to take, what, a gallon of Tennessee bourbon the night before to gut your own movement like that.
Rest assured, you’re no messiah. If you were trying for that, or if people had put you on that pedestal and were counting on you to save the world, in their minds, you’ve cleverly kicked that pedestal out from under you and are now hanging with a noose around your neck. Indeed, you’ve left us out to dry, too, as we try to persuade friends, family, and strangers to get involved. You see, we are daily called on our shit. Gandhi’s oft-quoted “Be the change you wish to see in the world” is not so much inspirational for some of us, but a dire warning that we’re not going to be successful in our activist campaigns, whatever they may be, if we don’t practice what we’re preaching. You had the opportunity to respond to just such a challenge, and outright refused it. What would have been slightly better would have been you accepting the challenge, but failing. But the time frame wasn’t unreasonable, and Inhofe wasn’t asking you to follow Thoreau into Walden Wood with Tipper in a Ted Kaczynski-sized shack on a lake. He was asking you to join the masses in your daily practices, where we wake up, use our toothbrushes, make our coffee, go to work, go home, cook dinner, watch a TV show or read a book, and then go to sleep. But you…you’re what, exactly? I can’t fathom what absorbs so much energy. My uncle owns and runs a dairy farm, and he doesn’t use that much electricity in a year. Are you moonshining? Is it organic? May I have some?
I think there’s a reason you’re not running for president again in 2008 – you can’t do it. You can’t follow up on your word. You demonstrated that today, and have shown us that you’re all talk and no thought. Offsetting your emissions by investing in alternative energy sources while spewing out as much carbon as your home does doesn’t make logical sense to most of us. Indeed, if you were buying tracts of tropical rainforest, or investing in the Green Belt Movement to replenish said rainforests would make more sense. Cutting down on your energy usage makes sense. But to continually point the finger at corporations while not taking personal responsibility for your seemingly wasteful homelife is, to me, completely misguided. I thought it was up to all of us do something to cut down on our carbon emissions? Are you exempted? Or have you assuaged your guilt by offsetting your emissions while not taking your moral call to arms to heart?
Whatever, man. Seriously. The rest of us are going to get back to work now on trying to stop this shit, however slowly it may take. We’re going to make you look horrible by actually doing our part. Shout from your ivory tower all you want, but I’m not listening anymore until your ivory tower doesn’t use so much damn energy.
The disappointed ‘hippie’ in Greensboro,
PS. If you have a change of heart, you know the NSA’s number. I’m sure they’ve got a file started on me already.