Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

January 10, 2013

In the House of Wood

The Culture of Washington

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville —  

You may or may not have heard that former Vice President Al Gore sold his failing television network, Current TV, to Qatar-owned al-Jazeera. Gore made himself a profit of $100 million on the transaction and it has been said that he wanted to close the deal with the state-owned media, once known as a terrorist network, before the end of 2012 so he would not have to subject himself to the wealth-punishing taxes he, and many other elected officials, have supported that hit Jan. 1. 

My issue with this is his hypocrisy, which I will try to spell out for you in this column, not the fact that he tried to make even more money to add to his enormous wealth. Gore represents the culture of Washington and why we MUST find true statesmen from outside Washington, to fill every seat in the Senate, House of Representatives, every cabinet post and the Presidency if we want to turn things around. 

The hypocrisy and shame of it all begins with Gore's choice of buyer. Al-Jazeera was all too eager to broadcast messages from Osama bin Laden and the horrific beheadings of American soldiers, just a few years ago. I believe those things, in and of themselves, should discourage any respectable American business or businessman from accepting its money and allowing it to spread its hate to more homes in this country. 

I browsed through the website for al-Jazeera English only briefly. I did not read any of the articles, just glanced at the headlines and photos on the main page. It looks like any other national news outlet's site and, given the state of today's national media, probably closely mirrors the selective coverage an American outlet provides. 

But the roots are still in al-Jazeera. 

Given that it's owned by Qatar, chances are, much of its funding has come from oil. Oil money, probably from American companies, which again, I don't agree with. I would much rather see domestic oil production employing Americans and keeping our money here. 

Al Gore won an Oscar for a documentary that perpetuated the myth of manmade global warming. Global warming is allegedly caused by American factories and American vehicles (not the pollutants from any of these things in other countries) which use petroleum for many purposes. Use of the fossil fuel, petroleum (oil) is killing our planet, according to Gore.

If so, then why did you accept money that came from the ravishing of Mother Earth, Mr. Gore? 

I can answer my own question. He feels he's entitled. He's better than the rest of us, because he's rich and has been a fixture in Washington all of his life. 

Gore grew up a Senator's son. He went to Harvard, served during the Vietnam War (I do thank him for his service in this regard.) and must have spent about five minutes as an investigative reporter in Tennessee before his own House of Representatives run in 1976. Once he got back to Washington in an elected office, he stayed there, all the way through the end of his term as Vice President in 2001.

He would have only left Washington, as an elected official, in 2009, if he had his way, due to Presidential term limits. That would have given him 32 years as an elected official in Washington, D.C. 

That's a lifetime. It is far too long for anyone to be away from his/her district or state to be able to consider himself a representative of the people who still live there. 

I know some of you are asking me about Chuck Grassley right now. I like Chuck Grassley. He's responsive, but no, I don't think his time in the Senate alone should total 36 years. No one's should. I think we are fortunate that Grassley at least visits every county every year and that his ego is not as inflated as Gore's. 

But even Grassley, like Gore and any other longtime politician, can lose touch. They are surrounded by other Washington insiders so much that their way of thinking changes, and things that make absolutely no sense to you or me become simple or brilliant in their eyes. 

This loss of touch can leave some politicians with the idea that they are superior, that they are intended to be rulers with the right to tell us how to live and that it's okay for them to exempt themselves from the nonsense they shove off on the rest of us. Thus, we have Gore and far too many of today's politicians. 

They don't see what we see, which is a country that may crumble under the weight of its own debt and spending habits, acceptance and tolerance of too many bad policies and the lack of accountability between we the people and Washington. Either that, or they see it, and they're trying to enrich or otherwise insulate themselves from any collapse before it happens. They can't all be this stupid. That's why we need to send new people, true statesmen, to Washington. 

I don't know what al-Jazeera America will be like. My initial instinct says that it will not be good, but then again, CBS, NBC and other lousy national “news” outlets have not been helpful, either. I just hope that people are smart enough to not allow the influence from any media – including myself – from making their own choices and decisions.

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.