Al Gore’s excellent adventure

Al GoreLove him or hate him — and apparently it’s one of the two — it’s hard to think of a more remarkable personal story this decade than the saga of Al Gore. After “losing” the 2000 election, he was distraught, shunned by the Democrats he’d led and the public that had given him a majority of the popular vote. After a short, bearded, self-imposed exile, he made a simple decision: if climate change is the greatest danger to humanity, something he’d been discouraged from saying for most of his electoral career, then he would say so. He set about spreading the word in characteristic nerdy, earnest fashion, with a slide show, a patient explanation, and four gazillion frequent flier miles. And he kept going until he ran across people who could help him spread the message further, and further, and lo and behold: people heard. An Emmy, an Oscar, a Nobel Prize. Incredible, really. Gore does not have Obama’s comfort in his own skin or Bill Clinton’s disarming charm. His is the story of a man who knows his own limitations — has had them crammed in his face repeatedly — but never stops seeking to overcome them. His success is a tribute to moral concern and sheer, cussed dedication.