Saturday, May 10, 2008

My open letter to Al Gore

Dear Mr. Vice President,

Let me start off by saying that you are beyond a doubt one of my few heroes in politics. You have been nothing short of a dedicated public servant despite the terrible hand that you have been dealt throughout your career. I cannot imagine that anyone else, after actually winning the presidency only to have it stolen from them in broad daylight, would handle the situation with more dignity and sophistication than you did. Not only that, you have worked since then to make the world a better place through your tireless work on so many fronts, most noticed of course being your work with global warming. I love An Inconvenient Truth, and I have been thoroughly amazed at the amount of time and energy that you have personally put into your attempts to find viable and significant solutions to the serious crisis we face in global warming.

On a personal note, I heard that you recently hired a friend of mine, Brad Hall, to work with you on research for upcoming work. You could not have made a better decision. He is a brilliant and hard working guy, and I know that whatever you have in mind will only be enhanced with him at your side.

A couple days ago, I came across a brief article that stuck out in my mind. In it, you are quoted as saying that, no matter who becomes president, you will not accept a cabinet level position if the next president were to offer it to you. I am writing to you, sir, to ask that you reconsider that position.

I can understand your decision not to run for president in 2008. I mean, you got stung once by the dirtiest tricks that the Republicans could conjure up (openly stealing an election), and I think I could see why you would not want to put yourself through the rigor and pain of another long presidential campaign, particularly since, as you are quoted in the article, you are "looking for a way to bring about change in other ways." A campaign would mean a diversion of a lot of resources and time that you have focused on fighting global warming. I can also understand why you would not want to be someone's running mate. You did that job for 8 years, and it would not make sense for you to be asked to do it again.

I am, however, a little perplexed that less than 6 months away from the Presidential election in November and 8 months away from the Inauguration of a new President you would already close the door on another opportunity for public service. First, a lot could happen between now and then, and I feel like someone of your experience and high competence would be a Godsend for our government as we turn the corner away from the disaster called "The Bush Administration." Second, I am not sure I see a high-level position in the government as mutually exclusive with the other ways you are looking to bring about change. I'll admit that I don't know all of what you are doing to fight global warming, but I feel like a lot of it could overlap with at least some of the projects you have at the time. Third, working in the government means that you have a direct influence on policy, meaning that you can take bigger steps than most people can in the private sector. You wouldn't have to be Secretary of State or Attorney General. How about being head of the EPA? You would get cabinet rank even though the EPA technically isn't a cabinet agency. I think this would be a wonderful place for you not only because you could set government policy with regard to our environment (which would make the most sense because you're immanently qualified for the job!) but because placing someone of your stature at the top of the EPA would also bring respect to an agency that doesn't really get much respect in the eyes of the country. It would signal to the country and to the world that the US is committed to taking substantial action on global climate change now. Placing you as head of the EPA would be one of the biggest symbolic and material steps forward that the next President could take in our fight to reverse the effects of global warming.

All I ask, sir, is that you think about it. If after reconsidering the idea you decided that your first inclination is correct, I would still respect you as much as I have and do. I just think that it's a bit premature to say "no" to the potential of working in the government again if the opportunity arose for you to have a direct effect on this country's habits and tendencies.

Either way, good luck in all you do. Keep fighting the good fight. Lord knows we need more people like you.


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