Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Reflection: Alterman on Gore; Gore on the Cult of Dominance

We're going to hand over our Friday section to Al Gore today, but first some perspective from a consistently lucid source of political insight (and my nominee for the next White House Press Secretary), Eric Alterman:

The very idea that a candidate like George W. Bush--extremist, incompetent, unprepared for office, addicted to cronyism and incapable of admitting even the simplest human error--could have been held by so many reporters to be a better choice for President than the two-time Vice President, Senator, Representative and environment and nuclear weapons expert, to say nothing of his central role in the Clinton Administration's successful two-term presidency, would be laughable were its consequences less tragic. And yet in that election, the media made Al Gore out to be a liar because so many reporters chose to misreport his remarks or take them out of context. To top it off, they made a joke of their maliciousness, mocking Gore for alleged mendacities that were largely the results of their carelessness and deliberate misrepresentation.

Now, with that as background, what follows is from Gore's The Assault on Reason.

It is deeply disturbing that the [Bush] administration so frequently uses the work dominance to describe its strategic goals. It is disturbing because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly pictures of those helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners [at Abu Ghraib] being so "dominated" has been to the people of our country.

Dominance is as dominance does. Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. Rather, it is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for still more power by striking a bargain with their consciences. And as always happens sooner or later to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.

Next week, we'll be offering more brief excerpts from Al Gore's book. If it's not on your summer reading list yet, I'd strongly suggest you make it so.

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