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Al Gore's Bright New Morning After

by Jeff Stevens Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 2:22 AM
jps@u.washington.edu

You know, sometimes all this cops'n'protesters business just strikes me kinda funny.

Some of you may have recently read a small bit in the papers about some

hoopla that went down outside the well groomed convention the Democratic

Party is holding in L.A. this week. Something about some protesters,

whining and grinding about something or the other. No big deal, just the

usual know-nothing WTO leftovers, all in all a mere distraction from

otherwise happy pages full of happy yippity-yap about how Gush'n'Bore

promises a Bright New Fresh Start for America. Seems some people can't get

down with that, so they held a protest to Rage Against the Hype or

whatever, and trashed the place. So the cops rounded them up for Failure

to Violate the First Amendment, or Obstructing an Officer's Right to

Indiscriminately Arrest, or some such charge. Troublemakers? In this

glorious economic boom? Serves 'em right, I say!

But wait a minute, I swear I saw something interesting down near the end

of yesterday's Seattle P-I story about the protests. Something about the

protesters being "upset by...Al Gore's family's ownership of stock in

Occidental Petroleum Corp." Very intriguing stuff. Too bad the P-I

couldn't be bothered to explain what's so upsetting about an honest guy

just trying to make a buck to feed his family.

Hold on. Back up. Time for a tactical digression. (Now stay with me on

this!)

People, let me tell you a story 'bout a man named Al. Seems a few years

back, perhaps after a row with his lovely wife Tipper, Al decided to get

tippled. And boy did he ever. Got himself drunk. I mean just blazin',

rip-roarin', sleepin' in the doghouse drunk. But instead of sleeping it

off, you know what he does? He stays up all night writing this book,

y'see? Stays up all night and finishes the whole thing. Calls it "Earth in

the Balance". All about how we've all gotta save the environment before

it's too late. Socially conscious, y'see. Ol' Al gets so excited he sends

the book off to the publisher right then and there. Then he stumbles off

to bed. Wakes up the next day, hungover as a hellhound, and whaddya know

-- he forgets about the whole damn thing! Five years down the road and he

still hasn't read his own book, apparently. Funny story.

Which brings us back to this whole Occidental Petroleum thing with the

silly protesters. I had to do a bit of digging around to make up for the

P-I's own journalistic lost weekend, but here's what I eventually found

out: Occidental Petroleum currently has grand plans to tear up a good

portion of the rain forest in Columbia (you know, the one in South

America) to do massive oil drilling, over a billion barrels worth in

fact. While being no tree-hugging sissy myself, I gotta admit, that sure

sounds like some pretty hefty environmental destruction to me. And the

funny thing is, Al Gore and family own half a million dollars worth of

stock in this very same Oxy Petroleum. And protesters, it seems, have been

protesting ol' Al to divest from Oxy for quite some time now. But he keeps

ignoring 'em, y'see. Too busy rhetoricizing about the danger George

W. poses to The Environment to listen to some silly protesters who

probably don't know what they're talking about anyway.

Hey, wait a minute! Al Gore claims to defend the environment, but his

family makes the big bucks from destruction of the rainforest? And all

these here protesters who I thought was misinformed and didn't know what

the hell they we're talkin' about -- why, turns out they know about stuff

even the big time newspapers don't know about!

Now I am thoroughly confused! All of a sudden, I can't tell left from

right or right from wrong! Seems like there's nothing left for me to do

but, well... go dunk my darn head in a bathtub full o' vodka. And, hell,

while I'm drinkin' vodka, I just might read me a little Trotsky while I'm

at it. Maybe even a little Bakunin for a chaser. Oh, heavens to

Murgatroyd, I just don't know what it means to be an American anymore!

Oh, well, guess it's time for me to go get tippled and raise a ruckus. See

y'all in the paddy wagon!

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