What a difference 12 years make.
A dozen years ago Al Gore was the vice president of the United States and a frontrunner to win the presidency come November.
But Monday in Austin, Texas, a rosy-cheeked Gore wore a very un-presidential ensemble consisting of a black sport-coat and blue jeans as he took the stage at South by Southwest — the prominent music and technology festival — to pontificate about the Internet and the digital age.
CNET reported that Gore made vague and somewhat impractical statements like, "Our democracy has been hacked. It no longer works to serve the best interests of the people of this country. The Internet is the most fantastic tool ever brought into being to make things right and to fix our democracy."
The former veep shared the stage Monday with Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook and co-founder of Napster. Both men appeared to endorse the idea of an online movement to mirror Occupy Wall Street.
“I’d like to see a new movement called Occupy Democracy,” Gore proclaimed, according to the Washington Post. Meanwhile, "Parker nodded in agreement and a packed auditorium of technology attendees cheered and applauded."
Gore and Parker also discussed what they perceive to be the trampling of democracy by big business, and their hope the Internet can take power away from the political machine.
"The issue is whether Gore and Parker have a realistic solution (to the political system's problems)," a staff editorial in the Los Angeles Times stated. "And their comments suggest that they don't recognize the role the Internet is already playing in the electoral polarization of the country, which is a major factor in the political system's inability to solve problems."