The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events
August 8, 2002
Al Gore's Stupid Op-Ed
When I read the first sentence from Al
Gore's stupid op-ed in Sunday's New York Times, I had no clue what
he was saying. Here's the sentence, for those who missed it: "There
has always been a debate over the destiny of this nation between those who
believed they were entitled to govern because of their station in life,
and those who believed that the people were sovereign."
Who is he talking about? Maybe I'm not as
smart as the man who flunked out of law school and divinity school, didn't
recognize busts of the founding fathers in 1992, and once referred to
"extra-chromosome" Republicans, but I'm aware of no such debate.
The framers created a Constitution that made it clear who was sovereign -
the people. Does this imaginary debate go that far back?
Maybe he's referring to that Democrat god
Franklin D. Roosevelt, who apparently felt he didn't deserve to be
president because of his wealth and power by running for president four
times. But FDR could do no wrong, so that's not it.
I then thought that he was referring to
himself. After all, Gore's daddy was an influential and powerful U.S.
Senator who groomed little Al for the presidency since the boy popped from
his mother's womb. Little Al grew up in the posh Watergate hotel, attended
all the posh schools, ran for president twice (in 1988 and 2000).
This sounds implausible, but think about
it. Gore's reinvented himself so many times, maybe he's confused himself.
Maybe he's developed a split personality, an alter-Gore who is bad and
must be contained. Maybe Gore was subconsciously referring to his
alter-Gore. There is evidence for this. Remember a month or so ago, Al
Gore complained that during the 2000 campaign he let his advisers
influence him too much, he was too scripted and didn't speak from the
heart? He said that now he was going to "let 'er rip," pull no
punches, hold nothing back, blah blah blah. He said the exact same
thing in 2000, when he opened his campaign headquarters in Nashville.
He obviously didn't remember that because his alter-Gore said it.
But that theory fell apart when I read James
Bowman's take on Gore's stupid op-ed. According to Bowman, Gore was
referring to President Dubya as one who believes he deserves to be
president because of his "station in life." It's Gore himself
who believes "the people are sovereign." As Bowman points out,
Gore won the popular vote, the pure expression of the sovereign people,
and Dubya won the Electoral College, that evil and archaic tool
established by those aristocratic dead white men who wrote the
Constitution. But Gore can't come out and say that, because it would like
"sour grapes." So instead he invents (and we all know Gore is
very good at inventing) a supposed debate to make his point in an obscure,
I think Bowman is right. Gore can't get
over 2000. He can't get over that he lost Florida. He can't believe that
though more people voted for him, it's Dubya, son of the elder Bush, and
not him parking it in the Oval Office. That's why Gore is going to run
again in 2004, and it's also why he defended his stupid "people
versus the powerful" campaign theme in his stupid op-ed. He can't let
go. He can't move on. And, lucky us, we're all going to hear about for the
next two years, because this won't be Gore's last stupid op-ed.
Valinda Jo Elliot's stupid
The woman who started the Chediski fire in
Arizona that destroyed dozens of homes wrote a stupid letter to the Arizona
Republic, which printed it Sunday (a lot of stupidity in the Sunday
The letter is badly written and barely
coherent. For example, "And I keep asking myself, what the hell did I
do wrong? I admit I lit that signal fire, but are you people blind? I
didn't light the 'Chediski' fire..." The reasoning is tortuous, but
I'll try to translate. You see, she set a signal fire to save her
lost self, but not the Chediski fire. She ignores the fact that her
signal fire became the Chediski fire.
But that wasn't her fault. I'll let her
explain. "The older gentleman [who?]kept saying it doesn't
look like it's going anywhere, and there is someone on the way to take
care of it, and also a DPS helicopter to help look for my boss [her boss
was also lost]. How about Channel 5, which called it in to six different
authorities? They left some of their equipment to make room in the
helicopter. So when they dropped me off at the hospital, they went back
for their equipment [that's real gratitude, isn't it? A TV chopper saves
her worthless hide, and she turns around and blames its crew for the
fire!]. When did someone finally show up out there? Did they call it in
again when they went back the second time? Or the two forest rangers whom
I gave a statement to at the hospital at about 8 a.m. - they also knew of
the smoke-signal fire. You know I have been beating myself up inside and
blaming myself - for what?"
In other words, it's everyone else's fault,
not Valinda Jo's. Poor Valinda Jo was just trying to save her life. Why
couldn't all these people have trampled out the fire? Her ignorance is
astonishing. It's like she expected an entire crew to transport right to
her little fire. Things don't happen like, Valinda Jo. It takes time to
find the location, estimate the fire's size, contact crews, organize
crews, organize transportation to the fire, and then more time to get the
crews to the fire. The fire's out of control before any of that happens.
I'm sorry, Valinda Jo, but you can't expect
others to make up for your own stupid action. I don't blame you for
setting a signal fire - starting a fire is legitimate when you're lost.
But there are ways to set up a signal fire that prevents thousands
of acres from getting torched. You dig a hole, you fill it with dead wood
and kindling, you clear the surrounding area of brush, you light the fire
and watch for any blowing embers. You don't light up any old shrub and sit
back and watch as the fire spreads to other shrubs and trees. That's just
stupid, and in my opinion, criminally negligent (unfortunately, the state
prosecutor declined to press charges, though the White Mountain Apache
tribe, much of whose land Valinda Jo destroyed, may sue for damages). I
realize you didn't intend to start a huge fire. But your negligent actions
caused a huge forest fire. That's the bottom line, and there is no one to
blame but yourself.
Valinda Jo closes her stupid letter with
this stupid paragraph: "If there is one of you who will stand in
front of me and God and say you would not have done the same thing - being
told someone was on their way to take care of it. As God is my witness (as
my sister said very well), may God have mercy on your lying souls."
Ignore the crappy writing (it's hard, I
know). She expects that we all would have done something as stupid as what
That's just stupid.