I’m reading the recent Al Gore speech called “Democracy Itself is in Grave Danger.” It’s a great speech, succinctly and clearly outlining the danger posed to America by the Bushites acquiring too high a concentration of power. One of the key passages:
The Bush administration’s objective of establishing U.S. domination over any potential adversary led to the hubristic, tragic miscalculation of the Iraq war, a painful adventure marked by one disaster after another based on one mistaken assumption after another. But the people who paid the price have been the U.S. soldiers trapped over there and the Iraqis in prison. The top-heavy focus on dominance as a goal for the U.S. role in the world is exactly paralleled in their aspiration for the role of the president to be completely dominant in the constitutional system. Our founders understood even better than Lord Acton the inner meaning of his aphorism that power corrupts and absolutely power corrupts absolutely. The goal of dominance necessitates a focus on power. Ironically, all of their didactic messages about how democracies don’t invade other nations fell on their own deaf ears. The pursuit of dominance in foreign and strategic policy led the Bush administration to ignore the United Nations, do serious damage to our most important alliances in the world, violate international law and risk the hatred of the rest of the world. The seductive exercise of unilateral power has led this president to interpret his powers under the constitution in a way that would have been the worst nightmare of our framers.
This principle of establishing domination over any potential adversary is key to understanding the actions of the US government over the past decade. Midnight Notes has written extensively about this issue. I was, frankly, surprised to see Gore mentioning this.
But it occurs to me that if Gore’s election to the presidency had been permitted to stand, he would never be saying such things. In other words, the office of president inherently seems to prevent its occupants from speaking their truth, espcially political truth. Anyone with half a brain, including Gore, can see the danger of Bush’s actions. And now that he’s not a governmental official, he’s in a position to express these truths.
While ultimately I’m glad Gore is speaking of these things, things that are glaringly obvious to many of us, it is sad that political office seems to entail obfuscation of the truth.