On May 7, 2013 Toronto Globe and Mail editor-in-chief interviewed former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore. Mr. Gore has just published his most recent “The Future – Six Drivers of Global Change“. Although I haven’t had time to read the book, the interview was fascinating. Most of the discussion focused on climate change – he made a believer of me.
The most interesting parts came at the end and in the Q and A that followed. Mr. Gore made one very interesting comment and one very interesting point.
When asked about “American Exceptionalism” Mr. Gore referred to it as a kind of (are you ready for this) “National Narcissism”. Reminds me of an earlier post on the topic of “Nationalistic Narcissism“. He did go on to say that he did not think that any country would replace the United States for some time.
Interesting Point – On Democracy In America
This is of interest to those of us attempting to get the law of citizenship-based taxation changed. Mr. Gore referred to “US democracy” as completely dysfunctional. He used the word “pathetic” to describe it on at least two occasions. His basic theme was that Congressmen were completely captive to and responsive to the “special interests” that donate money to their campaigns. His argument was that elections should be completely “publicly financed” with no private money allowed.
– Congressmen spend about five hours a day attempting to raise money and are not doing the jobs they were elected to do;
– Obama is operating in an environment of unprecedented hostility;
– the only people who have representation in the U.S. are those who make “big money” contributions to campaigns;
– the average “wage earner” has NO political representation (they may not be much better off than U.S. citizens abroad);
– the United States is a country full of “good people” who are locked in a “bad system”;
– at present it takes “big money” to get your message heard, but he is hopeful that the internet will change that;
– he spoke favorably of Thomas Paine (the author of Common Sense). Perhaps US citizens abroad can be at the forefront of the next American Revolution;
– the internet can help move the United States back to what a “representative democracy” is, which is a country where the government gets its powers from the consent of the governed.
All in all, the message is that (as we know) we are going to continue to have to work very hard to get our message heard in Washington. Once again, U.S. citizens abroad need their own lobbyists to protect themselves from Congress and to get the attention of Congress.
I have always been an “Al Gore fan”. I left the interview feeling a little better about the American people in general and a lot worse about the U.S. government. Those interested in a bit of “political nostalgia” might remember (the then) Senator Gore’s “It’s Time For Them To Go” speech at the 1992 Democratic convention. It’s one of my “all time” favorites.
That said, as I finish this post, I have received a bulletin from that great lobbyist James Jatras (one of those Americans who qualifies as “good people”) , to the effect that Senator Rand Paul has introduced a bill to Repeal FATCA. Yes, there are good people in the U.S. government too!
Things are getting more and more interesting!
Don’t forget to remind everybody to: