The University has been garnering a lot of attention over the possibility of giving Al Gore an honorary doctorate. The most recent contribution to the buzz came Monday when Katherine Kersten, a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, mocked the plan to bestow such an honor.
Surprisingly, she’s not the only one who disapproves of the idea. An informal poll conducted on the Star Tribune’s Web site found that 62 percent of those surveyed thought Al Gore doesn’t deserve an honorary doctorate for his work in climatology.
So what gives? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences certainly thinks his work has been valuable. Last Sunday they awarded Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” the Oscar for best documentary. But they might not be the best judge of whether he deserves an honorary degree.
Some people still believe that global warming is nothing more than a conspiracy hatched by factions of liberal America. It’s taking aim at the red states, their gas-guzzling pickup trucks and their beloved incandescent lights. Surely a concept that messes with the internal combustion engine will be met with trepidation.
Maybe people just don’t like Al Gore. The columnist Katherine Kersten evidently falls into that camp. In her column, she jests Gore and his work, and muses that if he accepts the honorary doctorate he’ll do it by making “a grand entrance from a windmill-powered crane.” But Kersten wouldn’t be eligible for an honorary doctorate in objectivity. Her column leads us to believe she’s nothing more than a partisan who wants us to believe Al Gore actually said he invented the Internet. Never mind the science of his work, or the fact that he never said he invented the Internet.
Giving an honorary doctorate to Al Gore will not “reflect poorly on the University,” as one letter to the editor suggested. Al Gore is one man using his popularity to spread the message about climate change. Gore should get an honorary doctorate for lulling our country out of its coma.