Sunday, April 8, 2007

An Evening with Al Gore

Once upon a time on a cold November night not long before election time, everything in the McGlaun household was humming along like a well oiled machine and then...

Ethan stuck out his hand just as Todd shut the door. His little fingers throbbed and he wailed out in pain.

"Oh crap! Is he okay?" I yelled as Todd cuddled Ethan.

"Fine, I think.." Todd handed him to me for inspection.

In the midst of the confusion, the phone rang. Todd reached for it. "Hello."

I could tell from the expression on his face that he was listening to a recording. Elections are coming up on Tuesday, so we've been innudated with recordings from candidates stumping for our vote. I waited for his eyes to glaze over but instead he grabbed a pen.

Ethan, not sufficiently soothed, let out another series of loud cries and I tried to comfort him once more so his daddy could hear.

"Who was that?" I asked when he hung up the phone.

"I think we just got invited to see Al Gore." Confused and smiling, he scratched his head.

"What? What did the message say?"

"It said be at this address at 6:45," he held up the scrap of paper he'd scribbled on, "to hear Al Gore speak."

"It's already after 4." Now I was the one confused. "Who was it? How'd they get our number?"

"I think it was the Democratic Party but I don't know. It was hard to hear. Wanna go?" His eyes lit up.

It was a no-brainer. I thought back to the spring, sitting in the theater watching the credits roll after "An Inconvenient Truth". Once we'd collected our thoughts we couldn't stop talking about how to change the world...and every answer went back to meeting Al Gore, working with him to devert the destructive path we are now on.

"Yes I want to go!" Then everyday life creeped back in. "But that's in the middle of Hunter's football practice."

The children heard us talking. "This is once in a lifetime kind of thing! We have to go!" That was Natasha. After seeing "An Inconvenient Truth", she'd been inspired to draft a letter to our Nevada Sentors.

"You're right!"

So we loaded the kids in the car, headed toward Chandler Street, and started making phonce calls to rearrange our schedule.

The meeting was actually being held in the American Federation of State and County Employees office. They'd offered up their meeting space for Tessa Haffen's campaign to bring in Al Gore and Senator Harry Reid to help push Tessa over the edge in polls.

We were the first ones there at shortly after five. They welcomed us and we staked out seats directly under the podium. When Mr. Gore stood to speak, we'd be right under his nose.

"I'm going to tell him I want to work for him," Todd declared.

"I know you are." I smiled.

The entourage was not due to arrive for over an hour so we passed the time by talking to the other early birds that filtered in and exchanged stories about how lucky we all were to be home for the call. Todd ran out to McDonalds and the children ate chicken nuggets, did homework, and generally tried hard to be patient as the minutes ticked away with agonizing slowness.

By 7pm it was standing room only. TV cameras perched behind the last row of chairs and the media lined the back wall. Finally, the drone of conversation turned to rythmic clapping. We turned to see Haffen, Nevada Senator Reid, and Vice President Gore, sandwiched between secret service, enter from a side side door.

My first thought, "He's shorter than I imagined." I watched him intently as the other two dignitaries spoke first. He leaned back in the chair, apparently at home admist the political excitment. He smoothed the lapels of his blue suit and whispered something to Tessa while Senator Reid was singing her praises.

She smiled. He smiled and tapped the toe of his black cowboy boot gently on the floor. He displayed an easy peaceful demeanor. I instantly liked him. I knew I would.

The room gave him a standing olvation when he stepped behind the podium. He spoke about our rights as American citizens and how our founding fathers would view us and the state of our beloved country. He talked about checks and balances, the responsibility of the legislative branch to the public they represent, and most profoundly...about how our current administration has forgotten a ban on torture that began with an order from General George Washington.

He ended with, "I'm honored to be here to tell you to vote for Tessa Haffen," and stepped toward the crowd. My children greeted him and shook his hand. I think I said, "It's an honor to meet you."

Todd, seizing the moment, saying, "How do I give your speech, Sir?"

Gore took his hand. "This speech?"

"No Sir, your global warming speech. How do I learn to give that speech?"

He smiled. "Oh. Write to me in Nashville. We'll talk."

And he was gone, herded through the outstreached hands, flashing cameras and calls of, "Mr. Vice President! Mr. Vice President!"

Todd seemed in shock. "Nashville? Where in Nashville?"

"It's okay. We'll look on 'The Google' when we get home." and I laughed. What a day!

Fast forward to a few months later...Mr. Gore and his movie "An Inconvenient Truth" won accolades at the Oscars. Senator Harry Reid is now the Senate Majority Leader and Tessa Haffen almost won a seat in state government. And I've been inspired to write about events and people who shape the quality of our world.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good Job!!

Tina Hutto

Nadia said...

So, did Todd write to him in Nashville or not?!

Lisa McGlaun said...

Nadia,

No never did but we were inspired beyond belief after meeting Mr. Gore and seeing his movie. We bought a Prius, changed our lighbulbs, and lots of other little alterations in our lives to help out this wonderous planet we share.