Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at Opednews.com and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: http://www.mach2.com/williams/. Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email DonWilliams7@charter.net.


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Don Williams comments

Global-thinking Al Gore is the best choice for the new millennium
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   11/03/2000)

Al Gore thinks globally. He looks at the big picture. Simply put, that's why I support him. He may not be likable in the way that George W. Bush is, but to me there's no comparison when it comes to two or three issues that are unimaginably important.

I believe the following is demonstrably true: For more than 20 years Gore has fought--at times tepidly, still yet--for a world in which it would be safe for your children and mine to go outside and play beneath the sun and breathe in the air.

I remember newspaper accounts of Gore's visits to the polar ice caps in the 1980s. He was there to see first-hand the work of scientists measuring the rate at which the ice was melting. I recall Gore's congressional investigations of the pollution at Love Canal. I read "Earth in the Balance," the book Gore wrote a decade ago, and found his arguments and vision compelling.

Nothing against Bush. As I say, he's a likable guy, but while he was living the high life and playing real-life Monopoly with inherited wealth and influence, Gore was attempting with college-boy fervor to do nothing less than save the planet.

Now, it could be you don't believe the planet needs saving. Could be you think it's fine and dandy that thousands of species will go extinct within your lifetime. Maybe you think it's only part of a natural cycle when more than 75 percent of the world's coral reefs--many of them millions of years old--are dying even now. Maybe it's O.K. by you that thousands of square miles of wetlands and rainforests are being drained, clear cut and bulldozed annually. Hey, it could be only coincidence that the hole in the ozone has tripled in size and the rates of skin cancer in Australia have sky-rocketed.

If that's how you believe, then George W. Bush is your man.

He said on national TV he doesn't know what causes global warming and even raised doubts that there is such a thing. Every year evidence mounts against that position. Several recent years and decades have gone into the record books as the hottest yet recorded. Data stretching back more than a century show that lakes are freezing later in the winter and melting earlier in the spring than ever before. Come to think of it, it's an unseasonably warm November we're having, wouldn't you say?

If you prefer a leader who's in denial when it comes to the environment, then Bush is your man. If you prefer someone who'll try to usher in new forms of energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, then vote for Gore.

A war to keep foreign oil flowing, now that's a war Bush understands. Especially Bush. He said as much in the recent debates. Again and again Bush said he is against military operations aimed at "nation-building." Over and over again he used this phrase. Later the pundits--you know those liberal-leaning, biased news people--were all aflutter about how wonderfully Bush debated foreign policy.

I thought Bush's position was manifestly blind to history. Nation-building, in fact, has worked out quite well, history shows. Our nation-building mission to Kosovo resulted in ridding the world of the Slobodan Milosevic regime, which was guilty of starting four genocidal wars in Europe in the last 12 years.

As Gore pointed out in the last debate, the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe, probably saved us from a third world war. Our efforts to help Japan rebuild following WWII created one of our staunchest allies in the Far East and brought stability there. On the other hand, it was isolationism and negligence of our responsibilities in Europe that helped bring about the rise of Hitler and World War II in the first place. Look it up.

On a whole range of technical and global issues, the candidates' postures and levels of knowledge stand in stark contrast. Gore spent years working for SALT treaties and studying ICBMs. It's unclear whether Bush would know an ICBM if he saw one. Gore has fascinating notions about space travel, the Strategic Defense Initiative and much more. No, he didn't invent the Internet, but he helped make it what it is today by sponsoring legislation to expand and regulate phone lines, probably before Bush ever logged on.

This is not to say I agree with every particular of Gore's agenda. I'm conflicted when it comes to abortion, socialized medicine, education and taxes. Still, the environment and global stability are of such overriding importance to our future, the future of our children, the future of the human race, if you'll pardon such grandiosity, that, for me, all the rest are relative details to be haggled out in Congress.

Gore has spent most of his adult life working to make the world better. His mindset is global, and I believe he's inclined to learn from history, as well as from technologies that outstrip history's ability to teach. Do we really want to give up the vision and experience Gore brings to the table in exchange for George W. Bush, likable guy?