Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Do Not Throw Van Jones Under My Bus

"We're asking questions progressives like but we're giving answers that conservatives should like."

Anthony "Van" Jones is an environmental advocate, civil rights activist, attorney, and author who served from March 16 to September 5, 2009 as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in the United States.

Why was his term so brief?

Well, it turns out he has offended Republican sensibilities. The GOP alleges that
  • he is a self-admitted ex-communist
  • he is a truther
  • he called them out by using a common expletive which references posterior anatomy.
I'll take these up in turn.

In 1992, while still a 24 year-old law student at Yale, Jones participated as a volunteer legal monitor for a protest of the Rodney King verdict in San Francisco. He and many other participants in the protest were arrested. The district attorney later dropped the charges against Jones. It was during these tumultous post-Rodney King jail-time days that Jones said,
I met all these young radical people of color -- I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, 'This is what I need to be a part of.' .... I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary ... I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th, and then the verdicts came down on April 29th ... By August, I was a communist.
Well, big freaking deal. 24 years old, Jones was one year away from completing his law degree. I was a not-nearly-as-young white guy living and working in Los Angeles county during those same days of the Rodney King aftermath. Those were crazy days and I was crazy then, too. Bought and carried loaded guns wherever I went. Also, by the mid-1990's, Marxism-Leninism was as about as relevant as any other political cult. Try Ayn Rand?

Charge number two is that Jones' signature appeared on a 'truther' petition. Jones, a long with other signers attest that the statement they signed was different than the one which eventually was published.

I can see that. Not everyone understands that there's a big difference between arguing on the one hand that Bush and Cheney deliberately allowed the 9-11 attacks happen so that they could attack Iraq and Iran and - OTOH - arguing that the 9-11 attacks occurred out of the sheer incompetence/negligence of George Bush. The most plausible explanation for the first eight years of the 21st century is moronic and incompetent complicity on the part of the GOP.

Besides I have never put much credence in conspiracy theories spawned by the question of cui bono. That goes for the grassy knoll theorists as well as the truthers. Classify them all as fruitcakes and let God sort them out. As Bill Maher says,
Bottom line, Van Jones believes, as I do, that George Bush just wasn't bright enough to be a successful conspirator.

Finally, the is the GOP charge that Van Jones was impolitic:
I post not to praise Jones, nor to excuse him. I post this to exonerate him.

Van Jones is a fighting Progressive of varsity potential. I can't wait until he gets suited up and back in the arena.