New School University's "Fear: Its Political Uses and Abuses", + + + +
By Al Berrios (contact Al Berrios)
Organized by the Graduate Faculty as a "Social Research" Conference on Feb. 5th, the event featured former VP Al Gore as its keynote. It was a mini-democratic, Bush-bashing fest, as hoards packed the same Tishman Auditorium I visited for the Latino Media conference just a week before ("4th Latin Media, IT and Communications Conference") to hear Mr. Gore's less-than-objective views on the current administration.
I only attended this presentation of the 2-day event due to time restrictions, but academically, I could tell it was top-notch. Because of the poor networking opportunities I encountered, though, I can't give this event a full 5 pluses. (Some CNN reporter was not only snobbish when asked where she worked and her news beat, but incredibly rude, burping audibly several times during the speech.)
I've got to hand it to Gore, the guy is a natural politician. An-always effective tool for great leaders is choosing sides, which Gore clearly did by zeroing in on the Iraq situation, (don't forget, Gore lost the presidency by what many still consider an unfair advantage by President Bush, so he wasn't exactly being delicate in his intense disgust for the president's "violation" of America's trust in his leadership.)
As Gore pointed out, not only did a leading weapon's expert (David Kay) publicly proclaim how wrong we were in our assumption of Iraq's WMDs, but Bush decides he wants to start an investigation into the intelligence that lead us astray - with him picking the investigators. Following a Nixon-esque mantra, Bush realized that "people react to fear, not love" and proceeded to make us fear Iraq. The rest is history.
Gore was witty and depreciative of his own political stumbles, which the audience just ate up. But it made me realize the power of the mob (not just fear.) The energy from the crowd anticipating, then during, Gore's speech was very palpable, and if you weren't part of it, just as scary as Bush's foreign policies.
So what did Gore say? Basically that Bush took advantage of the American public and that's the way he wants it. He compares Bush to a dictator that doesn't base his actions or policy on facts, but emotions and dissent will not be tolerated. (Editorial: DUH! But seriously, tell us what you really think, Al? It's no secret these things have occurred - Bush is Republican, Iraq messed with his Dad, he and his dad (and Cheney) all have ties to defense contractors and Big Oil I mean, you'd have to be the most naïve person on Earth to believe Bush was really working for the best interests of Iraqis.)
Overall, it very much sounded
like some sort of political rally to oust Bush, but entertaining, informative,
and enlightening overall. I give it four pluses, + + +
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