NASHVILLE: A sign in the bookstore window caught my eye as I walked into the mall: "Assault on Reason, Gore Booking Signing, June 1, Noon."
Uh-oh, I thought, that would be today. It was, as they say in the military, a "target of opportunity."
I stopped. Stared. Glanced at my watch. It was 11:14 am. I reached into my purse. Did I have my camera? My pen? My attitude? I knew I had the back of a blank check to take notes on, if need be.
My brain was morphing from consumer/shopper intent on bagging $39 beach towel at Restoration Hardware into "Citizen Blogger" -- one who had just happened upon an unscheduled but oh-so-bloggable event.
Al "The Prophet" Gore -- once but our semi-retired local prophet, now Pope of Global Warming, Prophet to the World -- was coming to our local bookstore, his local bookstore just a few miles from his Belle Meade mansion (Now featuring carbon offsets as well as a pool.). And he was to prophesy again in about 45 minutes when his church would begin its mid-day service, AKA "a talk, followed by a book signing."
For a few seconds, the shopper in me tried to wrest control from my inner blogger. A brief struggle ensued. Even though I had left my camera at home, it was to no avail. The blogger won out and I leapt into my '99 Ford Explorer. I gave it the gas leaving a shameful trail of high-speed carbon footprints as I sped home to get my camera. Then I whipped back to the mall.
At exactly 12:06, I ran back into the bookstore with camera in hand, and ran straight into a tsunami of campaigners, TV and media crews, young and old believers, and other assorted Gore disciples -- all buying books. Everyone was talking about Al's new book of revelations, An Assault on Reason - no irony intended or perceived. The second topic of the moment was whether he would run for president in 2008. They--we--milled about, and then gathered down in the lower level to await his imminent arrival.
And await. And await. Five, ten, twenty, and then forty minutes elapsed, and still no Al.
While three hundred people, packed like sardines on the lower level, waited and waited, a funny thing started to happen: it got very warm down there.
"Wow, it sure is warming up down here," you could hear from all over the room.
Bookstore warming. Serious bookstore warming. And the cause was clear. It was human caused. Proof positive of the Prophecy!
While we waited and sweated, a loud speaker again instructed us, over and over, to show our faith and buy Al's book on the first floor upstairs; to get a number for the book signing line, and then proceed back down to the lower level to await his arrival.
Yes, we were assured, Gore was scheduled to say a few words. Tensions rose as the room got warmer and the need for showers more evident.
At 12:40, Prophet Al arrived. Suddenly he was just there, shining and beaming before us. The crowd went wild. He was here at last and not just in the spirit but in the flesh. Our long bookstore nightmare was over.
Unlike some of those wild and crazy Bible prophets, ours was very presentable as one would expect a prophet of great wealth to be. Al looked formal in a dark navy suit and light blue George Bush tie. He appeared well-fed, scrubbed up and slicked down, kind of like a Victor Chavez with Brylcreem. "A little dab'll do you."
Then Al began to speak. There is only one way to describe the tone: pontification:
He was "truly sorry for being so late." Yes, he was. But, he was eager to share, he did have "a pretty good excuse." He paused. He smiled that little smile he does to let you know something big is coming... something like... inventing the Internet? Nothing so mundane. It was, well, global.
"The new president of France," Gore intoned, "just called me this morning and wanted to talk about global warming."
The crowd of faithful--- many of whom had on Gore 2008 stickers on their hats, lapels and t-shirts--- broke out in wild applause. For Gore. For warming. For Sarkozy. Vive la France!
"And that's why I couldn't make it here on time to see all of you all," he said. "I'm sure you'll agree that I needed to take his call. But I am sorry and do appreciate your patience. Thank you all for being here."
We knew there was a good reason, but this was a humdinger. And here I thought he was delayed trying to find his way out of his cluttered home office.
Then, wasting no more time, Al blasted himself off the launching pad. Away the prophet went shooting out his patented bullet points that have become all too familiar; giving the anointed and the faithful what they most wanted to hear:
- Everything Bush does is smoke and mirrors...
- Saddam did not cause 9-11...
- The world awaits our moral leadership which had been sorely missing since Bush took office...
- The money of special interests has more influence on us and our politics than reason...
- Bush has left 150,000 soldiers stranded in Iraq, bless their hearts...
- Current American democracy isn't working like the founders intended...
- Political will is a renewable resource...
- There are people in this world and this administration who deny the facts, that have clearly proven to be right and are indisputable...
- I know the way and I sure hope you will follow...
Thus spoke the Prophet of the Church of the Warming. It ended to rousing applause, muttered 'Amens' and yells for Al to run in 2008. Then the crowd, satisfied and satiated, broke up, many to seek cool, fresh, and clean air in the 90-degree Nashville temperatures outside the bookstore.
Yes, I did buy a book to give to one of my children. I had no intention of waiting in line behind 300 people to get it signed. Motherly love has its limits. Instead I milled around a few minutes taking pictures of Al's devotees who were fired up after getting close to or actually touching the hem of their savior.
"Did you know Jimmy Carter called Al once a week for over a year to beg him to run for president. Al finally stopped taking his calls he was so sick of hearing it," one fan said.
"But to have Jimmy Carter call you every week and encourage you! How great is that? Who wouldn't take calls from a wonderful man like Jimmy Carter?"
I looked at the couple who held their hastily signed copies of An Assault on Reason as close to their hearts as they did their hopes for their prophet and his mentor, Jimmy Carter. They'd just, with their purchases, sent about eight dollars straight into the pockets of a man who'd burn their tithe up in about three seconds of flight in his private jet. They were in a state of bliss just about the same as a couple that has a 'come-to-Jesus moment,' picks up the phone and gives money to a television evangelist.
I wisely decided to say nothing about either Al or the man I considered to be the worst American president in history. It's not polite to criticize another's religion in America.
I smiled and wished them well. I walked up the stairs and back out into the parking lot. I wished them no harm. I even understood their devotion. I had once been a liberal and feasted in the Church of Relative Reality and Global Warming caused by man. But now I have seen the light of another reality. That's one of the great things about America so far. No establishment of a state religion. None, of course, unless the Church of the Warming becomes the Church Triumphant with the national slogan, "Gore said it. I believe it. That settles it." Humm, that had a familiar ring. http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/overheads/pages/oh20030621_179.asp
I stuffed my camera back into my pocketbook and walked to my car. I had satisfied my inner blogger, and even had time to run by the grocery and the bank. I passed on the $39 beach towel at Restoration Hardware. After buying An Assault on Reason I was feeling just a bit impoverished.
Webutante is a "conservative woman living in the Southeastern US and the Rockies, depending on the season." Her blog can be read HERE.She previously supplied exclusive photos of her neighbor's house, Al Gore's Nashville mansion, for Pajamas Media HERE.