Al Gore is the subject of a public complaint by an anonymous Oregon massage therapist who says he behaved inappropriately when she came to his hotel room to provide a massage.
I was hesitant to even get into it on this site because it's an anonymously made negative accusation. The woman hired a lawyer and the lawyer told the police it was going to be handled civilly, which sounds like they were looking for a payment from Vice President Gore. On the other hand, if you say that, it's getting into "blame the victim" mode, which is itself problematic.
With all those caveats, though, a few points are worth mentioning. From the transcript of the woman's statement to police, as obtained by The Smoking Gun: "I cannot begin to imagine that such a public figure who is married with a very public life with his spouse and had books published about family life and relationships with his spouse and he was on some book or film tour of some altruistic environmental nature would be anything less than a model of stellar integrity."
More: "He had a dramatic display of violent temper as well as extremely dictatorial commanding attitude besides his Mr. Smiley Global Warming Concern persona. I did not want to get hurt and I did not want to get raped."
Compare the statement to the op-ed piece by Mr. Gore in today's Wall Street Journal: "The rising inequality in our society is clearly unacceptable. It poses fundamental questions of fairness and whether these levels of income disparity are sustainable within the context of the long-term health and civility of our communities...long-term responsible business strategies that include environmental, social and governmental concerns, will be significant steps toward building sustainable capitalism."
If the anonymous woman's complaint is true, what is this guy doing pontificating about fairness and civility?
It all puts Mr. Gore's speech at my own Harvard graduation back in 1994 in an interesting light:
Democracy stands or falls on a mutual trust -- government's trust of the people and the people's trust of the governments they elect. And yet at the same time democratic culture and politics have always existed in a strange blend of credulity and skepticism. Indeed, a certain degree of enduring skepticism about human nature lies at the foundation of our representative democracy....
The last time public cynicism sank to its present depth may have been exactly 100 years ago, when Mark Twain said, "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."...
This fixation on character assassination rather than on defining issues feeds the voracious appetite of tabloid journalism for scandal. And now whets the growing appetite of other journalistic organizations for the same sort of fare...
I believe in finding fulfillment in family, for the family is the true center of a meaningful life. Cynics may say: All families are confining and ultimately dysfunctional. The very idea of family is outdated and unworkable. But the cynics are wrong: it is in our families that we learn to love.
I believe in serving God and trying to understand and obey God's will for our lives. Cynics may wave the idea away, saying God is a myth, useful in providing comfort to the ignorant and in keeping them obedient. I know in my heart -- beyond all arguing and beyond any doubt -- that the cynics are wrong.
Chalk it up, perhaps, as another example of moral balancing, a phenomenon about which we have written here, here, and here.