Speaking today to COOL-IT (Communists for Only Onerous and Lofty Industrial Taxation) in Nome, Alaska, former Vice-President Al Gore criticized US failure to adequately address climate change. Mr. Gore warned of future consequences of inaction while emphasizing that we have already felt the effects of a lamentably low suicide rate. Gore mentioned the extinction of species, the melting of the polar ice caps, and his loss of Florida in the 2000 presidential election. Said Gore,
“Florida is a very hot state – even in November. And members of lower-income socio-economic groups – who are most likely to vote Democrat – often can’t afford air conditioning. Now, if you’re sitting around in a pool of your own sweat drinking Thunderbird, what are the chances you’ll be motivated to vote on election day?”
Mr. Gore then became especially passionate, asserting that this accords with Republicans’ general disregard for the environment. Pounding his fist on the finely-crafted mahogany and teak podium, he continued,
“The Republicans know well about vote suppression through climate manipulation. It is a fact that for every degree the temperature rises, voter turnout decreases by 3 percent.”
As evidence, Mr. Gore cited a volume of studies and research papers showing that the temperature in Democrat stronghold Miami-Dade County was higher than in the more Republican panhandle on election day. “This cannot be coincidence,” Mr. Gore insisted.
Sharpening his rhetoric, Mr. Gore invoked race. Alluding to his belief that most of the disenfranchised voters were minorities, he accused white Republicans of engaging in “. . . a systematic, apocalyptic climate war against blacks.”
He called this plan “Helter Swelter.”
While applause from COOL-IT was robust, attendees seemed to grow increasingly uncomfortable with each passing word, shifting in their seats, sweating profusely, intermittently fanning themselves, and undoing the buttons on their olive-green jackets.
Although the Nobel Prize winner is often accused of being aloof and scripted, Mr. Gore took note of the discomfort and used it as a teaching moment.
“This just tells us that no one, no matter how educated, rich or well-connected in the party, is immune from the effects of climate change,” said Mr. Gore. “It’s so bad that, honestly, it just seems like every time Tipper and I talk, she complains how the house is way too hot.”
Then, as if mimicking the temperature, the audience rose to their feet and gave Mr. Gore a standing ovation for his most effective line of the evening.
“I feel your heat,” said Mr. Gore.
Obviously energized by the crowd, Mr. Gore expanded on his election thesis, stating there was “no doubt” in his mind that he would be president today if only the world were a colder place. He further stated that if he had been living during the Cryogenian Period, he would have been king of the world.
Then, seemingly lost in thought, Mr. Gore stared blankly into space and plaintively opined, “Then they’d be dating time from my birth.”
This comment seemed confusing and disturbing to the audience and drew the most tepid response of the symposium.
But Mr. Gore quickly got back on track, and the audience once again warmed to him as he returned to the issue of environmental destruction perpetrated by the Republicans, big business and the John Birch Society.
Mr. Gore especially shone when he exhibited his vast knowledge of the science of climate change. Addressing the fact that icecaps on Mars are melting as well and temperatures on Pluto have also been rising, Mr. Gore said,
“This just underscores how the Bush administration is bent on destroying not just the ecosystem of the Earth, but of the whole Universe.”
The former vice-president did not take questions after his speech, but defended himself when he was approached by reporters and asked to respond to deniers who question his motivations and credentials. Mr. Gore emphasized his long history of combating rising temperatures.
“When I was a boy, I was always the first one to run to the Good Humor truck, and my favorite comic book character was Mr. Freeze. And, really, I was never a beach person,” said Mr. Gore. “Just ask anyone who knew me back then – anyone. They’ll all say that if Al could be described in one word, it would be “cold.”