In a revealing interview published on Sunday, Al Gore told The Tennessean newspaper that he considers himself to be like Jackie Robinson, the famous baseball player that received a torrent of abuse for playing on an all-white baseball team in the 1940s.
When asked if there were any similarities between Robinson’s efforts to integrate big-league baseball and his crusade to bring a climate change message to the masses, Gore said there were definite parallels. America’s largest civil rights movement, he believes, was analogous to climate change when there was still a long way to go.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson was the first black man to play in Major League Baseball (MLB), and at a time when African-Americans were consigned to playing in the lower-tiered “Negro leagues.” The Brooklyn Dodgers hired the gifted Robinson and placed him on first base, assigned him the number ’42,’ and essentially ended 60 years of segregation in professional baseball. During his honorific baseball career, Robinson earned MLB’s Rookie of the Year Award, made the All-Star team for six consecutive years, and was awarded the prestigious MLB’s Most Valuable Player Award.
The Tennessean reporter who interviewed Gore asked about the politics of the climate change debate, and why Gore has subjected himself to such harsh political abuse—the same treatment that Robinson received in baseball. But Gore, who could have simply said that comparing himself to a civil rights champion would be a disservice to the African-American community, was unable to pass up the chance to get an extra heaping of hubris with a side order of self-importance. And hold the humility, please.
Gore said it was traditional for people who didn’t like the message to take it out on the messenger, as baseball fans did with Robinson. Gore noted “opponents of [baseball] integration had a personal animus for Jackie Robinson,” just as he believes skeptics of catastrophic climate change have an open hostility toward him. Gore then compared global warming to the civil rights movement, rather than a scientific debate, and said that his enemies attack him because he is the most effective spokesperson for the planet.