Roger L. Simon

Independence Day wakeup call for Al Gore

I am trying to suppress my schadenfreude at the tragedy of the Gore family today, but I have to admit it’s difficult. I have always found Al Gore to be one of the most fatuous individuals on the national and now international scene – a phony scientist, a phony filmmaker, a phony Internet inventor, I could go on and on – and the fact that his son was arrested today with a pharmacy’s worth of painkillers in his car (plus a little grass) is no surprise. If the Gores were my parents, I’d want to medicate myself too. And make no mistake about it, young Gore was trying to medicate himself – not seeking enlightenment through drugs as many of us did in our time (not that we found much). You don’t take Xanax and Valium for mind expansion.

In this case I have plenty of sympathy for the son and absolutely none for the father and mother. They both have been lecturing us for decades -first about nasty music lyrics and now about the environment. It’s all the same really, because it does not come from a place of truth. It comes from a place of pomposity. And that’s what makes a lousy parent. Someone who is holier than thou but a fake. The boy in the speeding Prius was calling for help. Will his father hear him – or is he too busy saving the world? If I were Al Gore, I’d retire from public life forthwith. But I’m not Al Gore.

I do, however, know what it is like to be a father and a son. I have failed often enough at both to have a sense of how much more difficult they almost always are than being a pontificating politician. My personal reaction to Gore has always been to run the other way from his opinions. I was far more concerned about global warming before he started his crusade. The more I heard his preachings, the more I doubted him. I wonder if his son, deep down, feels the same way. Poor guy.

MORE: Gore embraces the ultra-reactionary.