By Donovan Baldwin
In December of 2000, Al Gore conceded the election for President of the United States to George W. Bush.
I won't go into all that led up to that event or all that followed. That's not what I want to talk about. However, as bad as the results must have seemed to Al Gore at the time, if ever one man's loss might have become a world's gain, that might have been the moment.
Al Gore, of course, went on from that defeat to produce (and star in, I guess you could say) a telling, and Oscar winning, movie documentary about the perils of global warming, or climate change, depending on what camp you're in. It was a subject that he has fervently followed, studied, and whose importance he has believed in for years.
I guess with all that time on his hands, he needed something to do.
It's interesting to note that until he "lost" that election, Al Gore was on a track to success but was it his chosen track? After all, he followed his father into the family business of politics, eventually becoming Bill Clinton's Vice President, and from there it seemed natural that he would occupy the Oval Office. I wonder, had he really chosen these pathways, or simply followed the signs that had been blazed for him by his father and events of circumstance, history, and birth? Would he, like many of us, have chosen another path if given the opportunity to go back to earlier interests and enthusiasms?
Yes, it seemed that the life of Al Gore was pretty neatly laid out.
That was B.C. - Before Chad.
After the debacle in Florida (my home state, sadly), he was then forced to endure what must have been one of the greatest disappointments imaginable.
What was of interest to me was his refusal to carry the fight further lest it divide the nation more. This willingness to step aside for what seemed the good of the rest of us, despite a possibly good claim to the presidency gave me my first insight into the reality of the man.
Perhaps this was the opportunity for the emergence of the real Al Gore.
In college, a professor, I believe, had introduced him to information about events that could be damaging the environment, perhaps permanently. His interest in this, while it never wavered, had to take a back seat to the requirements of the career pathway he was on...politics. However, he did attempt to use his position to focus attention on the problem and to combat what he considered environmentally destructive actions and legislation. So, after the events of November and December of 2000, he must have looked around for something to occupy his time, efforts, and talents. I don't think he started out to be a movie star, he simply decided that the planet was still in danger and his next project would be to save it.
I think that's great!
However, I feel good about something else as well.
Remember the Al Gore who was kidded, mocked, teased, and mimicked by comedians, reporters, and the public? He was accused of being wooden...of being stiff...of being impersonal, cold, and standoffish.
If you had seen him in the movie (definitely NOT leading man material there) or at the Academy Awards, where his little movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar, and a song from the movie also won an Oscar, you would have seen an animated, engaged, interesting man who seemed full of life and vitality and passionate about his subject. Well, as passionate as Al Gore gets....but still!
Not bad for an out-of-work ex-"next President of the United States" as he introduced himself in the movie.
I am happy to see this sort of transformation in anyone. I am glad for the planet that Al Gore had the opportunity to turn from the path of politics . While he is not a Messiah, I think the world will be a better place and Al Gore a better, or at least happier man for having found a new path to walk...one chosen by himself.
Many experts in psychology, motivation, and self improvement have proposed that the way to be truly happy is to find something you love doing and make that your life's work. Seems that something like that may have happened here.
I don't know what kind of president Al Gore would make, or would have made, but I think that he could possibly accomplish more good for mankind and create more happiness for himself by doing that little hobby he's picked up...saving the world just because he wants to and believes it's the right thing to do.
Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer and a University of West Florida alumnus. He is a member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions. However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, .and fitness. In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as health, fitness,yoga, writing, the environment, happiness, self improvement, and weight loss.
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