Former Vice President Al Gore spoke about the nexus between global warming, politics, and money at the Chicago Theological Seminary on Monday at the invitation of the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics, The Chicago Maroon
If Thomas Paine
were alive today and asked to go on Philadelphia television to explain the ideas he wrote about in "Common Sense," he'd quickly discover that in our time very wealthy people pay the gatekeepers who control "access to the public discourse," Gore said.
Gore declared, "The American political system is an utter catastrophe. Our democracy has been hacked. The country is utterly and completely paralyzed. Hog-tied. And on a measure that will mean countless deaths in the future," if global warming led to "what scientists have warned us about," according to Politico.
He described how members of Congress need to devote parts of every day raising money from rich people. That money buys "the piper" influence, said Gore.
Before Gore became vice president, he served in both the Senate and House. He lost the 2000 presidential elections to George W. Bush in the Electoral College though he captured 543,895 more votes than Bush. He has since focused his energies on climate change, according to Politico.
Gore attributed what he saw as a failure to act on climate change to a dysfunctional political system. "The truth doesn't matter the way it should" because "large carbon polluters have a business plan that is threatened by anyone saying, 'You are using the atmosphere as an open sewer and, well, that has got to stop.'"
He said that some Republicans had once championed conservation and the environment but that these causes today ran against GOP "orthodoxy." Gore said, "It's not complicated why they have been cowed. They will face primary opponents financed by the Koch brothers and others even if they breathe the simplest truth about climate change," Politico reported.
Gore asked: "If … you were somehow magically able to consult with 10,000 leading heart specialists in the world, and 9,999 of them said, 'Oh my god, you've got to take this medicine, change your diet, get some exercise, and make these other changes,' but out of the 10,000 of them you found one that said, 'Well I don't know yet, the jury's still out' – what would you do?"
Gore concluded, "That is what some people are doing on climate now," the Maroon reported.
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