Between his service as a two-term Vice President and his later and current work as a statesman and respected politician, Al Gore has shown that his style of leadership has the ability to greatly impact America.
This essay will examine three areas in which Gore has made his mark on American society. First, Gore established himself as a leader as a United States Representative and Senator. Next, Gore further developed his leadership style through his service as Bill Clinton’s Vice President. Finally, Gore continues to show his lasting impact on America through his continued service as a promoter of the environment and global warming.
Al Gore was first elected as a United States Representative from Tennessee in 1976, at the young age of twenty-eight. With a Harvard degree and military service in his background, plus a father who had also served the state of Tennessee as both a Representative and Senator, it seemed a natural move for Gore to go into his first political role at the time he did, even though it meant leaving behind his legal studies. Gore was re-elected as a Representative for three additional terms in 1978, 1980 and 1982. (Wikipedia, 2007)
During his term, Gore served on the House Intelligence Committee. While on that Committee, he published a paper in the Congressional Quarterly that proposed an intelligent missile solution to slow the nuclear arms race. (Rowen, 2000) Notably, Gore was the first politician whose speech before the House was carried live on C-Span in 1979. (Wikipedia) Even early in his political career, Gore had found a way to impact the American people.
In 1984, Gore was elected to the United States Senate. While in the Senate, he sponsored the bill for which his career would be most well known: the Gore Bill, which became the High Performance Computing and Communications Act of 1991. This noteworthy piece of legislation lead to the widespread use of the Internet in the early 1990s, as more Americans then were able to access the so-called Information Superhighway. (Wikipedia, 2007)
After an unsuccessful primary bid for the Presidency during the 1988 campaign cycle, Al Gore was chosen by Democratic Presidential Nominee in 1992 to become his running mate. Gore would become the longest serving Democratic Vice President since the Presidency of Woodrow Wilson. As Vice President, Al Gore was able to use his leadership skills to impact both the American people and people around the world on nearly a daily basis. As a staunch advocate against sending aid to Iraq and Saddam Hussein during the 1980s, Gores views became instrumental in early 1990s foreign policy towards the Middle East.
One of the first projects Gore worked within after ascending to the Vice Presidency was the creation of the National Performance Review. The National Performance Review was instrumental in identifying and eliminating governmental waste.
The program was also able to identify other instances of governmental misuse of money, and was used as a key tool in the downsizing of the federal government that occurred during the Clinton administration. (NOAA, 2002) During his eight years as Vice President, Al Gore also embraced a number of other key issues that continue to impact the American people today. Among those issues are the environment, NAFTA and free trade, and launching a satellite to provide constant imaging of the earth. (Wikipedia)
During the 2000 election cycle, Al Gore was the frontrunning Democratic candidate from the start of the primary election season. In a move that was billed by the news media as decidedly strange, Gore chose to distance himself from the ups and downs of the Clinton administration and instead run a campaign entirely on his own merits as a long-serving politician and strong leader.
The public’s overall approval of Al Gore was apparent in the 2000 Presidential election, which Gore lost by a narrow margin in a defeat that was not confirmed until weeks later. Clearly, after more than twenty years in public office, the American people were able to recognize Al Gore as a strong leader. Although he did not win, the American people continue to look to Al Gore as a leader and purveyor of strong ideas.
After the 2000 campaign, Al Gore continues to be a public figure and respected leader. He has shown that leadership ability in a number of initiatives over the past decade. Gore has spoken out vocally against President George Bush’s policies in Iraq, and warned, quite perceptively, of the enormous cost that would become a burden to the American people while achieving little overseas. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Gore personally chartered several airplanes to airlift nearly three hundred storm victims from Louisiana. (Wikipedia) He later publicly criticized the government for its disorganized response to the disaster.
Perhaps Gore’s lasting legacy as a leader has been his continuing passion for issues related to the environment. In a recently produced movie titled The Inconvenient Truth, Gore reveals the work of researchers and the bleak outlook on the affects of Global Warming. This award-winning documentary is arguably Gore’s most direct impact on the American people, bringing concerns to them in a media accessible to all.
From the accomplishments that can be traced during the course of Al Gore’s political career that began in the mid-1970s, it is clear to see that he has exhibited the skills of a strong leader for many decades. It will be that abiding leadership that will become his legacy and ensure his lasting impact on the American people.
Al Gore. Wikipedia. Retrieved Sept. 27, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore.
National Performance Review. NOAA Satellite and Information Service. Retrieved Sept. 27,
2007 from http://ipo.noaa.gov/About/npr.html.
Rowen, B. (2000). Vice President Al Gore. Infoplease Campaign 2000. Retrieved Sept. 27,
2007 from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/algore1.html.
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