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 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: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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An interview with President Al Gore, Part II (read previous one first)
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   02/03/2006)

In a galaxy far, far away, and yet…

INTERVIEWER. Mr. President, thanks for letting me talk to you again, so soon after your State of the Union Address, in which you proposed bold new initiatives for the remainder of your presidency. Real tax cuts for the middle class. A Project Apollo style energy program. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine. Shutting down offshore tax havens. Banning lobbyists from the Capitol Building, but let's start with global warming—long a passionate concern of yours.

PRES. GORE: First, allow me to extend greetings to Tennessee, it's great talking to you, I really mean that, but, to get on point, we have to face the fact that our planet is in peril. We no longer have the luxury of fighting wars of choice that waste human potential and increase the terror and disunity of this earth. Our environment is failing. Coral bleaching is damaging the world's fisheries at an alarming rate. Sea levels are rising, destroying coastal cities and crucial wetlands. A shutdown of ocean currents that moderate the climate in northern Europe could lead to a new ice age. We're experiencing unbelievable hurricanes, tornados, droughts, famines, fires, and witnessing the destruction of many species, which could unravel the fabric of life. All life forms on this planet are related by their very DNA, so we're all in this together. Now, I believe we can head off some of the problems if all modern countries and others come together and USE this challenge as a unifying force, something I proposed in my book, “Earth in the Balance.”

INT. Is there a chance of that?

PRES. GORE: It helps that many Republicans are admitting what I said two decades ago—that we're addicted to oil, and that the oil is going to run out one day, but some of the energies they would rely on are extremely dirty.

INT. Such as?

PRES. GORE: Oil from tar sands, a greatly increased reliance on coal. Nuclear power is especially fraught with peril. We came awfully close to invading Iraq three years ago based on phony documents showing that country bought yellow cake uranium from Niger. Even as I speak, some propose bombing Iran for asserting the right to build nuclear plants. This may or may not be necessary, but we've had an incoherent policy in this regard, and it confuses our opponents and allies alike.

INT. So what should be done?

PRES. GORE: Some in Congress and certain right-wing think tanks have asserted the need to build more nuclear reactors, which they promote as the salvation of the world, but in practice they've led us to the brink of war and environmental destruction time and again. No, solar, wind and hydrogen are better alternatives. That's why I recommended a Project Apollo for energy. As I said in my speech, it's time for a bold new initiative to explore dramatic solutions in careful, yet dynamic ways. For instance, we'll look into the possibility of establishing solar collecting stations in low earth orbit that could transform our sun's radiation—which never stops streaming out there—into power. We could then beam that energy down as x-rays, possibly, or even feed the power through cables to the surface of the Earth, where we could use it to produce hydrogen energy from seawater. Now, don't go reporting that I said I invented space energy. Let's be clear. The great British writer, Arthur C. Clarke—who first proposed modern communications satellites—suggested this solution many years ago. It sounds like science fiction, but then what doesn't in the realm of energy and communications? That's just one idea we'll explore.

INT. But do we have materials adequate to do the job, for instance, cables with sufficient tensile strength to reach all the way to satellites orbiting in space?

PRES. GORE: We're looking into that. The potential for nano-technology in this regard is amazing. Also, one of the beauties of zero-gravity is that it allows for creating all sorts of alloys. The point is, if this approach works, we'll solve our energy problems for all time.

INT. And if it doesn't?

PRES. In that case, we will have spent $60 billion to mark a dead-end approach off our list, an amount we might've spent in one year, say, by invading some oil-rich country in the Middle East, a gamble in itself. We'll also explore other ideas—maybe tapping thermal energy inside the earth. And we'll open the power grid—and thereby the energy market--to lots of small entrepreneurs who might have ideas we've never even considered for generating earth friendly power. I have faith that, by empowering our citizens of all races and persuasions with hope and opportunity we can build a future based on intelligence, science, faith and a pro-active approach that will result in a better world for all who share this planet.