From “Gore the Bore” to Millionaire Whisperer: How Al Gore discovered Storytelling
„Al Gore is so boring. His secret service code name is Al Bore.“ Mark Katz began his speech at the White House in 1993 with these words. So was it clear from the beginning that he couldn’t win the election for the supposedly most important job in the world? President of the United States – a dream that seemed within Al Gore’s grasp in 2000. But then the vote count in Florida relegated him to second place and thus to his biggest defeat. The exhausting election campaign, which lasted for months, ended with headlines such as “bad loser”, “girlie man” and “bore”.
Far less prominent occasions have been enough to make people secretly disappear from the public eye, and so Gore’s future seemed pre-programmed. But hardly anyone has stirred the minds and opinions of recent years as much as this loser of the 2000 presidential election.
More than ten years, an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize later: the same man is now omnipresent on stages around the world, inspiring crowds with his speeches and books, organising concerts and panels. Who would have ever suspected that?
From “safe is safe” to your own Mission
Sometimes you first have to fall in order to recognise your own personal mission. 950 votes decided on Gore’s new path. What was not yet clearly apparent during the election campaign came back to haunt him all the more with the final result: Everyone, including himself, had thought they were certain of victory. But his brittle appearance, his unimaginative topics, which lacked authenticity, and his lack of profile took their toll in the voters’ favor. Gore certainly backed the wrong horses among his advisors. There is no other explanation for his election campaign:
Instead of going for real heart projects and sensitizing voters to future problems, he – like many others before him – moved along the well-trodden paths of politics, serious and smooth. Safe is safe. And the past has shown that the time was not yet ripe for environmental policy issues. The fall, and with it the public malice, was therefore the best thing that could have happened to him and ultimately to people around the world.
An inconvenient Offence
What do you want most from politicians? What Kevin Kühnert has just demonstrated in his nationwide NoGroko campaign: constructive discourse that is about more than just winning votes. What had been bubbling inside Gore for a long time slowly rose to the surface with the attacks of 11 September and Bush’s planned war in Iraq in 2002. His very own mission was waiting in the wings. The viewer can feel how much Gore is absorbed in this even from behind his TV set. He charismatically takes his listeners and readers on a journey that is hard to resist.
„The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever you go to the doctor, if the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say, ‘Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it’s not a problem.’ If the crib’s on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action.“
Razor-sharp Arguments without blah blah blah
With simple but powerful imagery, he makes the looming climate catastrophe tangible for everyone. Not without the obligatory moralizing finger, of course. But with ideas for solutions and concepts that have nothing to do with his vague appearance in the election campaign. In his talks, he uses scientific graphics and lots of statistical figures to signal the urgency of change. However, he “translates” these into understandable examples and comparisons that every listener can identify with in their everyday life. This was particularly tangible in his Ted Talk on the development of the ice sheet in Greenland. He impressively compared the ice to a pulsating heart, while the animation about the seasonal movement of the glaciers is reminiscent of a human heart and blood vessels. In this way, he reduces the emotional distance to the audience.
However, his open approach to the dissenting voices that he encounters from the lobbies also emphasizes his authenticity and shows how much he engages with his mission without appearing polemical.
His success proves him right, and you realize that Gore has finally arrived in his role and is guiding his audience unerringly.
His Recipe: smart, positive and with a (political) Loophole
The sheltered Baptist son from Tennessee, once a scholarly model pupil and Harvard graduate, has become someone who is on first-name terms with rappers and rockers and stands up to other politicians around the world. He wants to reach not just millions of Americans, but billions of people around the world. And what motivates the most? Good news that has already been achieved despite the many global construction sites. It is precisely these milestones that encourage us to move forward and take on the challenge in the face of such a huge task.
That is why he is now considered a prophet. However, Gore is still serious, because it is not only about inspiring the masses but also about setting a good example, such as driving a hybrid or traveling as ecologically as possible (which is actually a challenge with Gore’s schedule). “Politics is behind me,” says Gore, but he still can’t quite say goodbye. Because there are still a few milestones to reach on his mission in the world’s decision-making arenas.
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