January 26, 2006
Earth in the Balance (Paperback)
Al Gore would have made a fine president were he allowed to assume the presidency he won in 2000 (by more than 540,000 votes). He would have made an even better president in 2004 after he had his epiphany that turned him from a skilled career politician into an impassioned advocate for democracy. He would, we might add, make an even greater president in 2008, just in case you asked.
"Earth in the Balance" is an unusual book in that it was actually written by Al Gore. Most political figures have people "co-write" or ghost write their books, but not Gore.
Now that Al Gore is being lauded for his environmental work, which was profiled in a documentary that has received rave reviews ("...activist cinema at its very best") at the Sundance Film Festival, we thought it time to offer his book "Earth in the Balance," which was republished (with a new foreward) just before his presidential run in 2000.
In the documentary, Gore warns that we are facing "a true planetary emergency."
"The former U.S. vice-president came to town for the premiere of 'An Inconvenient Truth,' a documentary chronicling what has become his crusade since losing the 2000 presidential election: educating the masses that global warming is about to toast our ecology and our way of life," the article notes.
Another article in the New York Times ended with this quotation: "The film's first showings received standing ovations. 'Our primary objective is for as many people to see the movie as possible,' Gore said. 'I'll sell the movie door-to-door if that is what it takes.'"
Widely ridiculed by the right wing and the Busheviks when it was published, "Earth in the Balance" has proven itself even more prophetic with the passing of time. Gore didn't write this based on policy advisors. He wrote "Earth in the Balance" from a passionate conviction that the future of our environment is in grave danger. The Busheviks have only accelerated the peril that we face as inhabitants of this planet.
In retrospect, "Earth in the Balance" foreshadowed Gore's transformation into a seer about our modern political, economic and environmental crisis. In the book, he did an unusual thing for a then sitting vice president, he took the risk of telling the truth.
Now, because Gore, in speech after speech, is holding up the mirror to the horrors of the Bush Administration, he continues to be marginalized by the mainstream press, the right wing echo chamber, and even leaders of his own Democratic Party. Someone who dares to declare that the emperor wears no clothes endangers the status quo, and many of the Democratic Senators in Washington don't like to become involved in battles that require them to summon courage. They also like their cushy jobs and have forgotten that they serve the people, the nation, and the Constitution -- not just themselves.
What Gore said about the Sundance-premiered film equally applies to "Earth in the Balance": "The average person is ahead of politicians on this issue. People who care about it get disappointed by the lack of interest from the political system. We are beginning to see the critical formation of a mass movement in the public, which will make it impolitic for politicians to keep doing nothing.''
"Earth in the Balance" would have been a blueprint for beginning to salvage our environment were Gore to have been installed in the White House, as he was elected to do. But now, it summons us to understand how much further we have unfortunately traveled down the road to destroying it.
It's time to take a fresh look at Al Gore's "Earth in the Balance." We ignore his warnings at our peril. The past five years have only come to prove how much we owe him, and how little we have listened as a nation.
This book should be in every house and classroom in the country. But now that telling the truth is a crime while lying is risk free, it is destined to be read only by those who seek it out. That's horribly unfortunate, but a sad sign of the Bushevik "Through the Looking Glass" times that endangers us all.