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High school all over again

We finally sat down and watched An Inconvenient Truth last night. With a couple minor exceptions, there was nothing in it that I hadn't heard before, but it was nice to see all the evidence and facts presented in such a concise and easy-to-follow format.

What did surprise me, however, was Al Gore's skills as an orator. The dude is well-spoken, engaging, and clever. When the pressure of politics is (mostly) off, and he's just talking about things he feels passionately about, he is an absolutely captivating public speaker. I wish now I could have seen this lecture in person.

And then, about halfway through, when he made a dig at the current administration, I started thinking: What would things be like, if this intelligent, science-literate, rational diplomat had been sworn in to the office he deserved? Where would we, as a nation, be?

It's almost too depressing to think about. No Iraq war, better economy, real progress in environmental research, the world's steward instead of the world's bully. 9/11 would still have happened, of course; it had been planned, it seems, for years. But instead of our so-called leader's cowboy antics, we could have had the support of the rest of the world at finding and punishing a dangerous sociopath in charge of a fearsome fighting force.

Now, the dangerous sociopath sits in the oval office. And the fearsome fighting force has attacked and occupied a sovereign nation on his orders. And our original enemy? Vanished. Gathering strength. Gloating over the panic he has thrown us into.

And why? Because Al Gore is a nerd.

We were supposed to grow out of this shit. The smart kids, who got picked on, were supposed to come into their own and assume leadership roles. And the overpriviledged dumb jocks, who snapped towels and shouted monosyllabic taunts at every turn, were supposed to be cooking our french fries for us.

But when the dumb jock has a corrupt family behind him, and the nerd isn't quite as charismatic as his cool-guy but still whip-smart predecessor, the dumb jock somehow gets the job. And fails miserably at it. And still gets support, by smiling and shouting "We rule!". The nerd, meanwhile, accepts his defeat gracefully, commits himself to greater tasks, and gains the accolades and admiration of the rest of the world.

But that world is in chaos and disarray at the hands of the dumb jock and his toadies. The nerd, and his supporters, are shouted down by the ignorant masses who think that they do, indeed, rule. Every time the nerd makes a statement, it is picked apart and ridiculed by the dumb jock's lackeys, because they didn't understand what he said. Every time the nerd, or another like him, points out that the dumb jock is ruining things for everyone, he gets attacked.

The nerds, by all rights, should be able to stay in power. It's painfully clear that when our leaders are intelligent, science-literate, and diplomatic, things get better. And when our leaders are jingoistic, superstitious, and closed-minded, things get worse.

But the masses still love their dumb jocks. But national and world leadership is too important. We can't keep voting for the prom king. Nerds make life better. Maybe we should turn off the game for a minute and listen to them.