Former vice president turned climate change campaigner Al Gore left the political stage more than a decade ago but he remains a vocal critic of how things are done in Washington. And he doesn’t like what he sees, with big money increasingly controlling big decisions.
In a one-on-one interview with the Miami Herald, the one-time Democratic presidential contender whose fate was sealed by hanging chads at a Palm Beach County courthouse aimed his harshest criticism at politicians — most of whom happen to be members of the opposing party — who ignore public will to carry out the wishes of powerful backers.
For instance, when asked about the fate of a constitutional amendment intended to buy and preserve land that Florida voters overwhelmingly supported last year, Gore chuckled.
“And the Legislature killed it,” he said.
Not exactly, but Florida lawmakers have strangled the intent of the amendment, raiding its funds to pay for a host of other things besides land purchases. Meanwhile, the threat of climate change hasn’t even been raised as a topic during two Republican presidential debates and most of the candidates are pushing for less regulation of industry, calling environmental constraints a brake on economic development. And the governor of Florida, a state that scientists agree is the most vulnerable to rising seas, expresses little interest in even discussing the threat.
Gore, during a break in a three-day climate science training session in Miami, didn’t go so far as to name names, but he described a political crisis in Florida and around the country.
“Our democracy has been hacked,” he said. “Large contributors call the shots and the politicians who are beholden to them respond to their instructions to jump by asking how high.”
Photo credit: C.M. Guerrero, el Nuevo Herald