Detroit has never recovered from the riots of 1967. What does it say about a nation that, after 39 years, it can not, or will not, heal such a wound? What does it say about the future of New Orleans?

As for Baltimore, I highly recommend a few hours watching HBO’s The Wire. Although it is “fiction”, it tells more truth than any “reality” TV show and is more relevant than the vast oceans of escapism that so define American television fare.

The question is this: If our house is not in order, as the evidence from too many of our cities suggests, why should we expect any other peoples to welcome the forced imposition of our imperfect model on them?

Secondly, if our model is imperfect, if not broken, why should we support politicians who can do no better than offer us more of the same old same old? Today, it seems that the leadership of the two largest political parties in America brag too loudly about how effectively they suck on the sugar teat of the corporate lobbyists. Do we really want politicians who are little more than the bitches of the lobbyists?

If we want an America that can do better by her people, an America that will lead the world in preserving a biosphere that we will be proud to pass on to our grandchildren, then we need to demand better of ourselves and our politicians.

Will we? Will we stand up to the Carbon Barons before their sequestered carbon has driven the biosphere into a seriously damaged state that bears little resemblance to the living conditions we have enjoyed in the past? Will we do it in the next 10 years?

Perhaps Al Gore’s speech today at NYU Law School will help us get on a better path. It is an excellent speech I highly recommend to one and all.