#77 – Dick Bernard: The political execution of Van Jones (and a possibility or two)
Van Jones is now history, at least insofar as an office in the White House is concerned.
I heard Van Jones speak in person twice. The last time, in March, 2009, was apparently his last public speech before joining the Obama administration. I bought his book, “The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems” (HarperOne 2008). It comes with an all-star list of endorsers. It’s well worth reading. He is a phenomenal person.
Of course, Mr. Jones has now been publicly executed, resigning from his post within the Obama administration for what appears to have been two ‘sins’: signing a petition, and using colorful language about Republicans. I’m quite certain I signed the same petition some time (questioning the truth of 9-11*); and as for colorful language, my guess is that Jones ‘executioners’ were at least equally colorful in their description of him in their private meetings. But that is now simply history. Jones would be a distraction if he remained on the White House staff. Life goes on.
Jones ‘demise’ is just the latest example of a contemporary political reality: anyone aspiring politically is fair game for anything, whether true or not. There is no such thing as a truly personal life for a political figure. We are all quite literally surrounded by our past, remembered or not. This is a matter of consequence for our version of democracy. We need gifted people in government; many gifted people say “no thanks” to public life, and not only because they can make more money elsewhere. The ‘costs’ of the job are simply too high.
Van Jones is a gifted speaker and visionary. That was obvious the first time we heard him in June, 2008, at the National Media Reform Conference, and the second in March, 2009. At the conclusion of the 2009 speech (at the University of Minnesota) we were told that he would likely not be doing more public speaking. There was another assignment in the offing, we were told. It was not hard to put two and two together. Not long after we saw him, he appeared on the White House roster.
Now, presumably, Van Jones can again speak as an individual.
But I really hope that persons interested in nurturing and development of a “Green Economy” don’t sit back and expect Van Jones to do the heavy lifting. There is a real danger that could happen; perhaps it already had. After all, one can reason, he’s in the White House, we don’t have to do anything more. Not true. In fact, the opposite is true. With the opportunity comes the work.
What better a development than have a million or more advocates for the change that Van Jones sought doubling their personal efforts to make his dream not only stay alive, but grow more quickly?
Personally, I don’t need to hear him speak again, and I doubt many others do either.
What is needed are “boots on the ground” doing what needs to be done; putting in place the multitude of ideas he so well articulated for the future of this nation.
Perhaps the Republicans have done the movement a favor – if we make it so.
* – This reminded me of a 9-11 project I need to do: check the July 23 posting at this blog for details. You may wish to participate as well.
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