Who Will It Be????

Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again.  No no … not the ‘holiday season’ … well, yeah, it is that too, but I was referring to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year!  Tomorrow, Time will announce this year’s person.  I looked at the list this afternoon and the first name stunned me … China’s Xi Jinping … the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.  Okay, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering they nominated the former guy as recently as 2020.  But still … shouldn’t Person of the Year be an honour held for people who have done and/or are doing something good in the world?  Yes, I do realize that they don’t necessarily award it to ‘good’ people, but rather those who were the biggest newsmakers of the year, but still …

And it gets even better …

The U.S. Supreme Court in all their “glory” is also on the list because, according to Time, it is “incredibly influential this year due to its conservative supermajority.”  Time seems to applaud their decisions that have set women’s rights back to the last century and taken authority to try to save the planet from disaster away from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis both made the list, as well.  Elon because he “has garnered controversy surrounding his takeover of Twitter” and Ron because a) he won his election, and b) his little stunt of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard that gained him lots of attention.

Others on the list include MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos ex-wife), Liz Cheney, and Janet Yellen … all decent sorts who have done some good, but not Person-of-the-Year sort of good.  I suppose we should just be thankful that Kanye West, Stuart Rhodes or Nick Fuentes aren’t in the running!

There is really only one person on the list who I consider worthy of the honour of being named “Person of the Year” and that is Volodymyr Zelenskyy (and Time didn’t even spell his name right!)  He is fighting the Russian bear on behalf of the people of Ukraine and has never once wavered, never considered backing down.  He is truly a man of courage and convictions, and if I had a vote on the Time Person of the Year, my vote would be for President Zelenskyy!

Too little hype, several climate change initiatives passed in last week’s elections

There is no single issue that is more important to the survival of life on earth than the environment and climate change. None. Yet, I think most of us were unaware of the environment-related issues that were on the ballot on November 8th, most of which passed muster with the voters. Our friend Keith summarizes …

musingsofanoldfart

In an article by Frida Garza of The Guardian called “Voters pass historic climate initiatives in ‘silent surprise’ of US midterms,” some very good news occurred while we weren’t paying too much attention.

The full article can be linked to below, but here are a few paragraphs that summarize the story:

“While the economy and abortion rights drove momentum behind the midterm election this year, voters in cities and states across the US also turned out to pass a number of climate ballot initiatives .

Among the measures passed were ahistoric multibillion-dollar investmentinto environmental improvement projects in New York state, including up to $1.5bn in funding for climate change mitigation. This election also saw a $50m green bond act pass in Rhode Island, and in Colorado, the city of Boulder approved a climate tax as well as a ballot measure that will allow the city to borrow against…

View original post 321 more words

This, That, and ‘TOONS!

Until the past week, I was generally able to focus on a single issue or topic for an entire post, but my mind seems to be made of rubber these days and just bounces all over the place, hence I have done a number of posts with a variety of ‘mini-thoughts’.  This afternoon’s post is yet another such …


Apparently, some people wish to live in a nation where all people are controlled by a single religious belief set.  To those people I say, “Then please, feel free to relocate to Iran.  I would caution you, though, if you are a woman, you will be controlled, manipulated, and killed if you break the religious laws. If you are a gay person, you will be killed if it is discovered, no questions asked.”  Meanwhile, here in the United States, women are, at least in theory, given equal rights, although only for the past 100 years or so.  We now have the right to divorce our spouse, to own property in {gasp} our own name, receive equal pay for equal work, and even to … VOTE!  Okay, so we’re still working on that ‘bodily autonomy’ thing, but we’ll get there, because it’s important enough for us to fight tooth and nail for.  That’s not quite how it works over in Iran, but hey … if people want religious laws to dominate the people, they’ll just have to … get over the level of bigotry that is the foundation of such a society.  Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the majority of us fully support women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and realize it is nobody’s business whether a woman chooses to have children or who a person chooses to love.

I respect every person’s right to believe as they wish, to adhere to the religion of their choice or no religion, if that is their choice.  But what I cannot tolerate is people trying to force everyone into their own narrow-minded box.  One of the things that the United States is noted for is freedom of religion, freedom to believe as you choose.  You have the right to attend the church, mosque or synagogue of your choice and participate in the various rites & rituals of your religion. BUT … when politicians pander to a religious group that wants to impose their will on the entirety of the nation, they are attempting to rob us of one of our most fundamental constitutional freedoms.  Be a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew or a Jain, but don’t tell me that I have to believe as you do.  Freedom OF religion must also include freedom FROM religion as an option.  The United States is not and should not become a ‘Christian nation’ but is founded on the basis of welcoming people of ALL beliefs.


A reader recently commented the following in regard to my concern for the environment:

“Time for the USA to get the message. As far as destruction of the enviro, humans cause somewhere i between 0.00020% and o.00034% of global warming. We’ve seen far bigger periods of gobal warming and ice ages throughout recorded history. Guess why the ice desert Greenland is called Greenland. It was fuxn green when the first settlers arrived there. In late Roman times they made wine in England! And we had periods of unusual warm weather but also mini ice ages and freak storms not too far in the past. Vineta (Atlantis) happened in medieval times, Tenerife will probably split in two during our lifetimes. With or without our ‘help’.”

How does one even converse with someone who is so convinced their ignorant views are correct and who looks down their nose at those of us who believe the science that tells us human activities, particularly continually increasing emissions of CO2 are creating an environment that will no longer be able to sustain human … or most other … life within a relatively few short years?  I have come to the point that I no longer bother to respond to such, for there is no give-and-take, no meaningful dialog, just arrogance and an unwillingness to consider facts.


Lindsey Graham said that if Catherine Cortez Masto beats Adam Laxalt in the race for the senate seat from Nevada, then it was fraud.  So, let me get this straight:  If the candidate Lindsey likes loses, it was fraud, but if his candidate wins, it was a fair and honest election.  Sounds to me like a rather juvenile viewpoint, rather like the ten-year-old child turning over the checkerboard and running in tears to her room and slamming the door because her dad won the game.  “No fair!  You cheated!”  But then, I guess the ten-year-old mentality is in keeping with the Republican modus operandi of late, ever since they decided to make a ‘man’ with a funny creature atop his head, a pocky complexion, a contorted mouth, and lies flowing from his mouth their “Supreme Leader”.  As of 8:49 p.m. last night, Cortez Masto is the projected winner of the race for the senate seat from Nevada, giving the Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate.  I wonder what ol’ Lindsey will have to say this morning?  Will he have the decency to keep his mouth shut, or will he whine and demand that the election be overturned?


My jaw dropped last night when I logged onto Twitter and found that an off-the-cuff remark I had left on someone’s tweet had gained 1,281 likes, 92 retweets, and 51 comments!!!  I’M A TWITTER CELEBRITY!!!  (just kidding)  I have never had more than 30 or so likes on any tweet or tweet comment I’ve made.  Never!  This is the tweet and my response that gained so much notoriety …


And I conclude with a few political ‘toons I’ve run across over the past few days …

Public Citizen: Tax Big Oil!

In Diane Ravitch’s blog today, she offers an EXCELLENT assessment for why we should implement a Windfall Profits Tax on the oil industry. For the record, I am 100% in agreement … oil companies are making record profits off of people around the globe and should be paying back. You know the Republican’s are against such a tax, for they are owned, lock/stock/barrel by the fossil fuel industries. Thank you, Diane, for this timely post!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Robert Weisman president of Public Citizen, explains why the price of gasoline is so high and what todo about it.

Being a multinational oil company looks like good work if you can get it:

  • Oil giant Chevron raked in $11.2 billion in profits from July through September.
  • Exxon did even better, making $19.7 billion in profits over just those three months — its most profitable quarter EVER.
  • In fact, the three top oil companies — Chevron, Exxon, and Shell — have more than tripled their profits compared to this time last year.

Again, we’re talking about profits. Not overall revenue. Sheer, unadulterated profits.

And it’s not like these companies, you know, pay Mother Nature for each barrel of oil they suck out of the ground. Or that they gave their rank-and-file workers mega-bonuses this year (unlike the excessive pay and stock options they lavish upon their executives.)

This is just…

View original post 416 more words

Do Democrats think climate change is a worthy cause to spend our children and their children’s money on?

Last night I came across a post by fellow blogger Arthyr, or kingarthyr as it were, that is absolutely the best, simplest, easy-to-understand explanation of climate change that I have ever heard or read. A 12-year-old child could understand this, and it is a perfect response to those climate deniers who are wearing their rose-coloured glasses and claiming that the changes in Earth’s atmosphere are natural, not caused by human excesses. Thank you, Arthyr, for this clarifying piece!

Arthyr's Home on the web

Well, Dean, I’m not a Democrat but I’m going to ask you 3 very simple questions:

Have you ever heard that an ounce of prevention is cheaper than a pound of cure?

Have you realized it entered your head, at all, if the planet cannot sustain life there will be no descendants?

Is it better WE clean up our mess or leave it to THEM to clean up our mess?

I get it, you don’t understand what climate change is, or how it will affect the planet, or the future, so I’m going to explain it in layman’s terms for you, and even use some pictures.

This is what happened to places all around the world that locked down just during the early stages of the pandemic in a set of before/after pictures, taken at the exact same places:

The above and below shot are after and before, not before…

View original post 1,204 more words

Reinforcement of why a person left the GOP

Today our friend Keith shares an article that clearly defines the major difference today between the two major parties in the U.S. This is a ‘must-read’ for those who would claim there is no difference between the two parties or for those who still believe the GOP is a viable, functional political party. Thanks, Keith

musingsofanoldfart

The following is an interesting article that furthers the message of my previous and earlier posts over my concerns for the Republican party called “I left the GOP because it seemed to be losing it way. Last week convinced me I was right” by Kurt Bardella of NBC News.

Here are few excerpts from the piece. The full article can be linked to below.

“I don’t think I’ve recently experienced a span of days that quite so neatly captures the difference betweenbeing a Democrat and being a Republicanin today’s America.

Last week began with the GOP’s wannabe standard-bearer,Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, using human beingsas political props for acraven publicity stuntdesigned to stoke right-wing outrage toward migrants.

Then, the current Republican Party standard-bearer found himself in even more legal hot water after theNew York attorney general’s lawsuitalleging Trump and his eldest children committed…

View original post 425 more words

Twenty-five seconds showers

I don’t know about you guys, but I know my family wastes a LOT of water. We let it run long enough to get the chemical taste out if we’re going to drink it, take luxuriously long, hot showers, run the dishwasher when it’s only half full, and more. Our friend Keith reminds us of the impending water crises around the globe and how we can do our own small part to help avoid disaster. Thank you, Keith, for this important reminder!

To our friends in both Florida and Canada … keep safe as best you can with the hurricanes that are coming your way. You are in our hearts today.

musingsofanoldfart

Regardless of whether elected officials want to talk about this, we have a global water crisis that has been building for some time. Here in the states, it manifests itself in three ways: more severe droughts in drier areas, evaporating and depleting water sources, and too many lead pipes still being used to provide water to cities.

And, this is before climate change has made the situation worse. I have cited before a statistic from a Duke Energy report that said climate change will cause evaporation from their water sources by 11% more than before. The folks out in the western part of the US are seeing major river sources at risk with so many competing users and states. The same is true in other parts of the world such as Cape Town, South Africa and in Chile, eg.

So, there are many things we must do combat these problems…

View original post 574 more words

Good People Doing Good Things — Tulsi Gowind Gowda

Today’s good people is a bit different than my usual fare of people rescuing someone from a burning car or providing food to those in need.  Today’s good people is a single person … her name is Tulsi Gowind Gowda.  What Ms. Gowda has done isn’t something that directly helps someone right this minute, but what she has done for most of her 80+ years, and what she continues to do, will help every person on this planet, every wolf, every bear, lion, tiger, and more.  I think you’ll like and applaud Ms. Gowda … I certainly do!

What follows is a story about Ms. Gowda written by Sameer Yasir and published in the New York Times last week.


‘Magic in Her Hands.’ The Woman Bringing India’s Forests Back to Life

Tulsi Gowind Gowda has spent most of her more than 80 years planting and nurturing trees in southern India. “I like them more than anything else in my life,” she said.

Tulsi Gowda has devoted her life to transforming barren land into dense forests in Karnataka, a state in southern India.Credit…Priyadarshini Ravichandran for The New York Times

She has walked for miles, deep into tropical rainforests, carefully cutting healthy branches from hundreds of trees and replanting and grafting them. Her eyes light up when she talks about rare seeds or a sapling. And when she dies, she would like to be reborn, she says, as a big tree.

Tulsi Gowind Gowda — who doesn’t know the year of her birth but believes she is more than 80 — has devoted her life to transforming vast swaths of barren land in her native state of Karnataka, in southern India, into dense forests.

Over the years, she has received around a dozen prizes for her pioneering conservation work. But the most prestigious came last year, when the government recognized her efforts and her vast knowledge of forest ecosystems with the Padma Shri award, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.

On a recent morning, Ms. Gowda sat in a plastic chair welcoming visitors to her three-room home in Honnali, a village of about 150 houses at the edge of a forest. She wore a backless sari, designed to make physical labor easier, and six layers of beads around her neck made of stones and natural fiber. Behind her a wall-mounted showcase was filled with pictures and plastic sculptures of Hindu deities and photographs of her award ceremonies.

When India was under British rule, the colonizers led a huge deforestation drive in the country.Credit…Priyadarshini Ravichandran for The New York Times

Winning the Padma Shri award, India’s fourth highest civilian honor, brought Ms. Gowda unaccustomed attention, with its extensive coverage in the Indian press. When villagers see her these days, they bow down, and children stop to take selfies with her. Busloads of students arrive at her home, where she lives with 10 members of her family, including her great-grandchildren.

“When I see them, I feel happy,” she said, referring to the students, in an interview. They need to be taught how important it is to plant trees, she said.

When India was under British rule, the colonizers led a huge deforestation drive in the mountains to strip wood to make ships and lay railway tracks, wiping out much of the forest cover of the Uttara Kannada district, where Ms. Gowda lives.

After India’s independence in 1947, the country’s leaders continued to exploit forest areas for large-scale industrialization and urbanization. Between 1951 and 1980, around 4.2 million hectares of land, or about 10.4 million acres, was devoted to developmental projects, according to government figures.

Even as a child, Ms. Gowda, who never learned to read, worked to reverse the stripping of local forests by replanting trees. During daylong trips to forests to collect firewood for the family, her mother taught her how regeneration is best done with seeds from big, healthy trees. When she was a teenager she turned a gutted landscape behind her family house into a dense forest, local residents and Indian officials say.

“Since her childhood, she spoke to trees like a mother would speak to her infant children,” said Rukmani, a local woman who uses only one name, and has worked with Ms. Gowda for decades.

Ms. Gowda still works at the nursery, after officially retiring in 1998.Credit…Priyadarshini Ravichandran for The New York Times

By 1983, government conservation policies had changed. That year, a top Indian forest officer, Adugodi Nanjappa Yellappa Reddy, arrived at a government nursery in Karnataka with a daunting task: to reforest large portions of land in the area.

On his first day of work, under a sweltering sun, he met Ms. Gowda, who worked at the nursery. She was separating small stones from soil and meticulously planting seeds and saplings.

“There was some magic in her hands,” said Mr. Reddy, 86, and now retired. “Her knowledge to identify indigenous species and collect them carefully and nurture trees can be found in no book.”

Ms. Gowda became his valuable adviser, Mr. Reddy said. And working with him brought her new attention locally, with residents beginning to call her “the goddess of trees.”

Ms. Gowda walked barefoot to receive her medal for the Padma Shri award in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the president in New Delhi. Throughout her life, Ms. Gowda said in the interview, she has walked barefoot and never worn shoes, not uncommon for members of her tribal community.

India’s 700 or so tribal groups have a population of 104 million, according to the last completed census, in 2011. Out of those groups, more than 600 communities are scheduled tribes, which means they get certain government benefits, including preference in educational institutions and government jobs.

But Ms. Gowda’s tribe, the Halakki-Vokkaligas — population about 180,000 — was never given scheduled status. Members of her tribe, who have occupied the vast tropical forests of the western mountains in the state for centuries, have been agitating for such recognition since 2006.

The poverty rate among the Halakki-Vokkaligas is about 95 percent, with only 15 percent completing any level of education, said Shridhar Gouda, a teacher at Karnataka University who has studied the community for decades.

The state itself is minimally developed. In the district where Ms. Gowda lives, roads are unpaved, schools are often nonfunctional and there are no emergency hospitals, even though it is one of the state’s largest districts.

“Many people die on the roads while trying to reach hospitals,” Mr. Gouda said.

Women taking a break while working at the nursery. Part of Ms. Gowda’s work there now is to share her knowledge of the area’s trees with younger workers.Credit…Priyadarshini Ravichandran for The New York Times

Ms. Gowda worked for 65 years in the government nursery, retiring officially in 1998, though she continues to do some work there in an advisory role, sharing her immense knowledge of local trees.

While she said she often feels tired after long conversations with visitors, a walk by rice fields, past a billboard with her life-size picture on it and through a dense forest filled with acacia trees seemed to invigorate her.

During the walk, she stopped frequently to recite the names of trees and plants in her native Kannada language: Garcinia indica (in the mangosteen family), Ficus benghaliens (or banyan) and tamarind, among dozens of others she could find.

In recent months, the number of people arriving at her house to see her has increased, she said. Often, they ask her about climate change. She said she doesn’t understand what it means. All she knows, she said, is that the space of trees and animals has been encroached upon, with large-scale destruction of forest land and its ecosystem.

And she has noticed that monsoons in her part of the world are more erratic and dangerous, killing people because of flooding and land sliding.

Ms. Gowda at home, where she lives with 10 members of her family, including her great-grandchildren.Credit…Priyadarshini Ravichandran for The New York Times

“The reversal will take a lot of time,” she said, referring to the re-greening of stripped land, but she also expressed some optimism for the future. “When I see these filled forests here, I feel it is possible for humans to prosper without cutting trees.”

Despite the hubbub of visitors, not much seems to have changed for Ms. Gowda personally since she became a national celebrity, except that the local village council built a wooden bridge outside her house for her to use to cross a small stream. She said she never uses it and instead wades through the stream.

Her son and grandsons work on a small piece of land they own and also in others’ fields. They depend on the forests around them for firewood and medicines. Her tribe is known for its knowledge of medicinal plants, which members use to cure disease.

Ms. Gowda said that as she has turned frail recently, she often thinks about death and dying.

“The best death would be under the shade of a big tree with huge branches,” she said. “I like them more than anything else in my life.”

Couple of news items from the 49th and 50th states

Every now and then, a ray of sunshine finds its way through the dark clouds and our friend Keith was there to point out not just one, but two such rays of brightness amid the gloom! Thanks, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Alaska and Hawaii each caught my eye in the news feed this morning. First from the largest state in the United States, Alaska held a special election to replace US Congressman Don Young, who had suddenly died earlier this year. The news is there was an upset win on two counts. Here is a brief snippet from a news article whose link is below.

“Democrat Mary Peltola has won a special election for the U.S. House in Alaska, defeating Republican Sarah Palin and becoming the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress as well as the first woman to clinch the state’s at-large district. Peltola’s win flips a seat that had long been in Republican hands. She will serve the remainder of a term left open by the sudden death of Rep. Don Young (R) in March. Young represented Alaska in Congress for 49 years.

Peltola, who’s Yup’ik…

View original post 386 more words

Al Gore Was So Much More …

Dan Rather’s newsletter on Tuesday strikes a chord in many, many ways.  First, what he says about the physical environment is spot on, but then he turns his thoughts to the political/social environment where he is again spot on.  But the highlight of his piece is Al Gore’s acceptance speech at the end of a long and contentious presidential election in 2000.  If you do nothing else, please listen to this speech and consider it in context to today’s politics.  Quite honestly, I never paid a lot of attention to Al Gore back in the day, but this man had it all:  intelligence, charisma, and class of a sort we do not see today.  We need more politicians like Al Gore today!


Remember Al Gore?

2000 vs. 2020 (and 2022)

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

30 August 2022

A few trendlines have collided recently that got me thinking of a former vice president, Al Gore. Remember him?

For one, there is the existential threat of our climate crisis. It’s been 16 years since Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” debuted. During that time, the truth he warned about — our planet’s spiral toward a new climate reality, fueled by human activity and significantly less hospitable to human existence — has become only more inconvenient, urgent, and dire.

Drought in the western U.S. Severe heat waves across Europe. Unusually heavy flooding in Kentucky and elsewhere. Scientists say these kinds of dramatic weather patterns will become more frequent as climate change progresses. We hear about 100-year storms or even 1,000-year floods, terms that are meant to indicate rarity. But it is increasingly clear such events are no longer anomalous. A horrific tragedy is currently playing out in Pakistan, where immense flooding is causing widespread destruction and mass death.

The warming climate, as Gore warned us, will result in greater hardship and instability. It is a cruel injustice that the countries that contributed the least to greenhouse gas proliferation tend to be the poorest and will suffer the most.

On a more optimistic note, the recent climate bill passed by Congress represents exactly the kind of concrete action for which Gore has long advocated. Start somewhere. In the case of this legislation, that “somewhere” is quite significant, according to climate experts. Once you’ve started, keep going. Change the direction. Chart a new path forward toward carbon neutrality.

The climate is a grave and unending concern. It should dictate our policy choices and define our national security. Gore saw this clearly. His warnings will cry out from the history books to future generations. “Why were they not heeded?” they will ask in disbelief.

But it wasn’t only the climate that has had me thinking of Gore. There is also the matter of the clear and present dangers our institutions and democratic order are facing.

Donald Trump is still at it about the 2020 election (here in August 2022). He just issued a statement saying he was the “rightful winner” and at a minimum, someone (not exactly sure who) should “declare the 2020 Election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately!”

Of course the former president is now under a serious investigation into his retention of highly classified documents (and what he might have done with them). One would have hoped that this grave matter would have Republican elected officials waiting at least to hear about findings before escalating divisive partisanship. But there was Trump’s one-time critic and current sycophant Senator Lindsay Graham, alluding to violence. “If there is a prosecution of Donald Trump for mishandling classified information after the Clinton debacle, there will be riots in the streets,” he said. This is completely irresponsible and dangerous.

Against this backdrop, let us remember Al Gore and the 2000 presidential election. Gore won the popular vote, but of course that’s not how we choose our presidents. As for the Electoral College, it all came down to Florida, as anyone of memory age at the time certainly recalls. There was a lot of weirdness in that state — “butterfly ballots” and “hanging chads.” To make a long and sordid story short, ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. A majority of justices, all appointed by Republicans, stopped the vote count and effectively handed the election to George W. Bush.

It is hard to overstate how big an inflection point that was in American history. Unlike in 2020, when Trump lost decisively, Gore had legitimate claims. And also unlike 2020 (through today) when Trump is eager to blow up American democracy and even spark violence with his lies and refusal to act responsibly, Gore chose a path of reconciliation. His concession speech is one that should be studied for its graciousness and straightforward eloquence.

I have pulled some excerpts to provide examples of Gore’s words. Recognize how difficult they must have been for a man who had long harbored dreams of the presidency — and knew he might very well have earned it.

Gore addressed the finality of the rule of law:

    “Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity of the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

He called for common ground:

    “This has been an extraordinary election. But in one of God’s unforeseen paths, this belatedly broken impasse can point us all to a new common ground, for its very closeness can serve to remind us that we are one people with a shared history and a shared destiny.”

He argued for country over party:

    “I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am, too. But our disappointment must be overcome by our love of country…While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty than the one we owe to political party. This is America, and we put country before party. We will stand together behind our new president.”

He ended with a recognition that our country must be bigger than our politics and any single individual:

    “Now the political struggle is over and we turn again to the unending struggle for the common good of all Americans and for those multitudes around the world who look to us for leadership in the cause of freedom.

    In the words of our great hymn, ‘America, America’: ‘Let us crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.’

    And now, my friends, in a phrase I once addressed to others, it’s time for me to go.”

Contrast this humility with the last president, who will never relinquish the spotlight. Contrast the passionate pleas for unity with January 6. Contrast Gore’s appeal to the sanctity of our institutions with the election lies sweeping Republican politics. Contrast how he led in a moment of potential crisis with the enablers and toadies who appease Trump’s destructive behavior. Contrast the appeal to reason with Sen. Graham’s wink at violence. Contrast how he tried to tamp down passion with those who use their perches in right-wing media to spew divisive hatred.

The Republicans rail against their political rivals for being out of control, violent, subverters of democracy. It is, in poker terms, the ultimate tell. What they complain the loudest about is often what they themselves are pushing. I have said it before: There are so many projectionists among the GOP that they might as well open a chain of movie theaters.

Looking back at what lawyers call the “fact pattern” of the 2000 election, we can see one that had all the hallmarks of bringing American democracy to its brink. But at that moment, Al Gore made the determination that to wreck our constitutional order by undermining the results of a very flawed process was not what leadership demanded.

He stood there, surely believing in his mind that he should have been president. He knew that a majority of American voters had agreed. Imagining “what could have been” must have been intensely difficult. Looking back at what happened in the presidency of George W. Bush, we can see how fateful that election was. But Al Gore knew that to preserve our constitutional system, there really was no other option. He accepted his fate, and so did his party.

As Trump still rages after an election that was not nearly as close, after he lost in the courts, after he spurred a violent insurrection, Gore’s example is all the more striking. The Republican officials who are playing along with this attack on American democracy are old enough to remember 2000. And they’re old enough to know better.