Saturday, August 11, 2007
Book Report: The Assault on Reason by Al Gore
Image from DraftGore.com
I've finally finished The Assault on Reason by Al Gore, so here is my finished book report, as promised.
This book, as previously stated, will make you wonder why you didn't know that Al Gore is a genius. Like me, you probably thought he was an OK guy, but stiff, and whiny--certainly not Mr. Personality. In fact, my perceptions of the former Vice President were probably formed more by Darrell Hammond's impersonations of him on Saturday Night Live than by the man himself. It did not help matters that when Mr. Gore ran for President, his campaign didn't let the real man shine through (or fight back against the considerable--if evil--Karl Rove).
What a difference it would have made, if we'd seen the Al Gore who wrote The Assault on Reason. If this guy had run, no amount of hanging chads, caged votes, or rigged voting machines could have defeated him.
The book starts out by explaining how far we've fallen in this country, in regard to using reasoned, rational, logical thought. The ascendancy of Television as our primary source of information has badly deadened our reasoning ability, Gore asserts, and who could argue? Television's importance has furthered the need for ever more money in politics, to afford the expensive 30-second campaign commercials. In turn, this has lead to those with the deepest pockets--corporations and the very rich--to control what the public thinks, who gets elected and what sort of legislation passes. And we as a populace, are so easily lead.
The real meat of the book is a detailed dissection of the Bush Administration's many failings. That may seem to be straying from the main topic, but really, it was unavoidable. The progression in the previous paragraph naturally leads to corporations' larger stake in shaping our democracy. And no administration has been more beholden to corporations. Nor has any administration done so much to allow consolidations and mergers--for even bigger corporations.
Over 90% of legislation over Bush's term has been written (at least in its initial form) by corporate interests. Bush's appointees are usually from the corporate world. These appointees are running governmental agencies that would ordinarily regulate the very industries the appointees came from. They have a vested interest to not allow their own agency to operate as it should. All of this is explained--far better than I could hope to explain it--in The Assault on Reason.
Melissa Etheridge said, in the recent LogoTV/HRC Presidential forum, that Al Gore would not run for President again, because he said the process was too "soul sucking." Maybe it was, the way he did it in 2000. But what if the campaign was run using reason? What if the actual, real Al Gore was allowed to be himself? What if all the political machinations of the opposition were fought with facts, immediately and forcefully? What if every campaign could be? In a better world. . .
My Review: Required Reading (highest rating)