[FOUNTAIN]The past and future Al GoreIt is hard to find someone running for president who was as well prepared as Al Gore. His full name is Albert Arnold Gore Jr., and his father was a Democrat who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for 32 years.
Albert Gore Sr. had always been proud of his son, saying until his death in 1998 that Al Jr. was the perfect man to be president of the United States.
Al Gore was trained rigorously to get to the White House, disciiplined and instructed by his father.
In 1976, when Mr. Gore was 28, and had studied at Vanderbilt Law School after graduating from Harvard University, he was elected a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee. He served residents of that state until 1984, securing an image as an honest and sincere politician. Supported and schooled by his father, Al Jr. acquired the nickname "Royal Prince of Tennessee."
In 1984, Mr. Gore was elected a U.S. senator, representing his home state, and served for the next eight years. In 1993, Mr. Gore became the vice president for Bill Clinton, and served through 2000.
Mr. Gore was known as a pacifist, especially during the Vietnam War, but he went to Vietnam as a soldier-journalist in1969, in preparation for his future career as a politician. He also went so as not to hurt his father's political reputation.
The last political step he took was to run for the U.S presidency in 2000 against George W. Bush, who had also been well schooled to be president. Mr. Gore received 540,000 more votes than Mr. Bush but lost the election.
After the most tightly contested presidential race in history, Mr. Gore finally conceded, saying patriotism should take preference over the interests of the Democratic Party.
"We Wuz Robbed" is the title of a film by the famous African-American director Spike Lee, who is known as one of Mr. Gore's supporters. It's an appropriate phrase for how devastated Mr. Gore could have been.
Many people expected Mr. Gore to again run for the presidency in 2004, but he called it quits last week. "The presidency should be focused on the future," he said. His words were as impressive as the ones he made in 2000, when he admitted defeat. For the time being, Mr. Gore has chosen to keep an eye on the future －－?or his country's sake.
The writer is popular culture news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Oh Byung-sang