My first response is that Al Gore is possibly the only major political figure to have been right on every major issue of the past 15 years. He was right on Gulf War I. He was right on Gulf War II. He was right about Global Warming and hybrid cars way before it was popular. He was a national security wonk in the mid-nineties when it was on nobody's mind, and he was advocating increased airline security years before 9/11 happened. His policy instincts, time and time again, have been proven to be without parallel.
But more than that, I refuse to buy into this notion that I should elect a President based on the same criteria that I'd elect a frat brother. I honestly don't care if Al Gore makes for a better drinking partner than George W. Bush. Hunter summed up my feelings exactly:
Ah, what might have been. Gore was widely derided by the press for the audacity of the lengthy answer or the wonkish explanation, a man too versed in facts, or God forbid with a speaking style that paused, from time to time, to find the right phrase instead of the next phrase. Not a man you would want to have a beer with, was the conventional wisdom shoved down our gullets like we were geese being prepped for our final hours. Knowledge is wooden, education is wooden, intellectualism is wooden, because facts are like trees: there's too damn many of them, and they're hard to tell apart.
Election 2000 was the start of my disenchantment with the democratic system, and not because Gore lost. It was before that, listening to the media coverage, where being smart and concerned and intellectual and yes, a bit wonkish, was seen as a liability, something to be overcome, rather than a boon to our nation, Gore's greatest strength. Well gosh, what was I doing trying to keep my A- GPA if this made me less qualified to lead in the public eye? Seriously, what kind of message do you think that sent to students following the election? I'll tell you: intelligence is for chumps. Frankly, I think we hear that message enough.
Well I've had it. I'm sick of being forced to hide from my own mind, and I'm sick of being forced into the political shadows as part of the evil liberal academic cabal of intelligentsia. I'm sick of a polity where education is seen as a vice, and I'm sick of a community which would rather ban new ideas than address them.
Al Gore is this sort of citizen's worst nightmare. Informed, passionate, educated, and committed. I put myself under his banner, and I hope to God we can remove ourselves from the dark path we set ourselves down in 2000--not by electing Bush, but by electing whoever we thought was the best buddy candidate in the group.