Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Al Gore Rocks in D.C. Speech

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

-- John Greenleaf Whittier
When you see former Vice President Al Gore give a speech like he did yesterday before the American Constitution Society in Washington, D.C., you can't help but think of Whittier's famous verse and shake your head. Were it not for a right-wing faction of the Supreme Court, the man who actually won the 2000 presidential election and who gave a tremendous speech Monday on the Bush administration and domestic surveillance, would have been our president instead of George W. Bush.

And how different the last five years might have been.

But there's a growing feeling in our philosophical half of the country that Gore's final race might not yet have been run and, if he keeps sounding like he did yesterday, he may end up being the odds-on favorite for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Gore spoke at length about the damage being done to both our Constitution and civil liberties by the Bush administration and, at one point, just came right out and said it: "... the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently. A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. "

Here's more:
As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress precisely to prevent such abuses. It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored in our country.

And that is why many of us have come here to Constitution Hall to sound an alarm and call upon our fellow citizens to put aside partisan differences insofar as it is possible to do so and join with us in demanding that our Constitution be defended and preserved.
And this:
The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the full Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of nuclear missiles ready to be launched on a moment’s notice to completely annihilate the country? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when the last generation had to fight and win two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they did. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it’s up to us to do the very same thing!
Raw Story has the full text of Gore's speech here. Better yet, whether it's tonight, tomorrow or over the weekend, grab a chair in front of your computer and watch the whole thing here.

If you don't have time to watch the entire speech, the invaluable Crooks and Liars has a six-minute clip of speech highlights here.

Check it out in one form or another... You'll be glad you did.