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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gore's perspective on the American governmental system and hopes for his son's career

Though Gore recognizes problems in the American democratic system—mainly related to private money and the power business holds over the government—he believes that overall America has given its citizens greater freedom, equality and opportunity than are available elsewhere.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Well, it's certainly been illuminating to Mr. Gardner and me. I wonder if we could ask you just one or two broad questions about your impressions of the way the system works. You have had a long and distinguished career in the state and the national government. We hear a lot of criticism of the flaws and inadequacies in our system. What is your thinking now about the way our national government works?
Well, I believe it was Winston Churchill who said something to the effect that democracy was the worst form of government, except any other kind that anybody'd ever thought of. Ours is not a perfect system. There are many miscarriages of justice. It has many faults, the worst of which in my view is the dependence of our electoral system upon private money. But overall I find a greater measure of freedom, opportunity, equality, justice in this country than in any other. Well, there may be some minor exceptions like Sweden and Switzerland; I don't know the details of those systems. There's a great deal of freedom, equality, and justice in Great Britain, in some respects I'd dare say more than here but in other respects less (less social equality there than here, despite our racial problems). So overall--and I've been to many parts of the world, most parts of the world; I'm constantly now visiting and doing business in many parts of the world--I find this country of ours superior to all others. This system doesn't work quickly or always effectively or justly, but it's the best; it's the best. I would work some changes; I would reform the system. I was a liberal advocate of change in many respects for several years, and brought about some changes which I'm proud of. But I wouldn't change our system in its entirety for any other system in the world in its entirety. There are some characteristic features of other societies that I would like to graft into our system, to plant in our system. I think our system can be improved; I know it can. It must be. I say must be because freedom and democracy were planted into it. Our system was the shot that was heard round the world. It started one revolution after another, one democratic achievement after another around the world. It's still the harbinger and the beacon of hope for most of mankind. But with the spread of weapons and the use of power and explosives (much of which we've furnished, I'm sorry to say) democracy has been snuffed out in one country after another. And I'm not sure that it's the wave of the future anymore. It's the system that most people aspire to, but when met with brute force dictatorship has won in one country after another. So I think we must constantly try to improve ours. We have the greatest system in the world, but in order for it to endure, at least to be assured of enduring, we must constantly seek improvement, modification, and broader-based freedom, equality, and justice. There is too much disparity between the affluent, the privileged in our society, and the mass of our people. But I'm happy to note my son's election to Congress at an age one year younger than when I first went. Since he starts one year earlier, maybe he'll go one step higher.