I’m sad to say the bullies have won a round. Van Jones resigned—shortly after I sent out my last post.
Calls and letters to Obama are still in order. Let him know that it’s time he stood up to the bullies and the hate mongers. Stop reaching across the aisle to a pack of vipers who refuse to budge an inch, let alone meet halfway, and remember who elected you and why. Start reaching out to your base!
This kind of attack is the new McCarthyism. If we let it continue to be effective, it will hamper any possibility of enacting true progressive changes that the majority of people want. It means that anyone with any hint of radical activity in their past (let alone their present) can first, be banned from public office. What will be next? Will we see media purges, like in the Fifties? Will Fox not only maintain its own bully pulpit but drive out any progressive or even mildly liberal voices?
Is questioning the truth of 911 going to become the new Red Scare test? Hmmn, if they are that sensitive about anyone questioning the Bush administrations’ potential role or simple ineptitude about 911, perhaps they have something to hide? Something like 35% of Democrats believe there is reason to suspect some administration involvement. Like many people, I have my own private suspicions but long ago lost patience with the hard-core conspiracy theorists and lack the time to delve into all the details and engineering reports and the stand-off orders etc. But there are plenty of people out there who have thoroughly gone into all the discrepencies. I encourage you to light up the blogosphere with questions like “What is Fox News Covering Up about 911”? I’m sure those 911 truth commission folks are already on it. Because if we can’t ask questions in this country about even the highest public officials (especially about the highest public officials) then we don’t have freedom of speech.
Most important, we can make sure the work Van Jones was doing continues, that needed resources and green jobs do make their way to our inner cities, and that the efforts to align the environmental and social justice movements grow in momentum.
For those of us in working on social justice issues, that means coming to understand the vital role that the environment plays in all issues of survival and justice. We can’t dismiss the issue of climate change nor trade off jobs for ecological destruction. We’ve got to know that the survival and regeneration of communities is rooted in the health of the soil, the water, the air, the great cycles of climate.
For those of us in environmental and ecological movements, it means asking some hard questions, like:
How does this issue impact the people with the least resources?
What are we doing to bring resources, skills, tools and awareness to those who most need them?
Where does racism and discrimination and privilege exist in our own movements and organizations? How do we challenge them?
The assumptions of privilege are often subtle. It’s not so much “I won’t hire that person because of the color of her skin”—that sort of discrimination is easy to identify. It’s more, “My view of the world is the view, my norms are the norms, and other perspectives are suspect or lesser.” It’s hard to know that we might be treated differently because of the color of our skin, because we’re so used to being treated that way that we don’t even notice it. Harder still to recognize that a lifetime of such treatment forms our assumptions about such things as, say, whether or not we perceive the police as our friends, or see America as a shining light of global benevolence, or feel comfortable hiking alone in the woods.
That work can be uncomfortable, but also illuminating. Every time we broaden our own perspective, we get a little bit smarter, and more effective.
Ah, as always I have a lot more to say but I also have things to do today, so I’ll end with a link to an article on AlterNet that slightly, very slightly, cheered me up:
Don Hazen’s “Five Reasons Why Van Jones and Progressives are Better Off With Jones Out of the White House.”
For those of you on Facebook, there is a Stand With Van Jones Facebook group and I can’t find the link at the moment. You might also post supportive comments on Van Jones’ own page. (My woes trying to get on Facebook are another story.)
Joining and supporting Color of Change is another good option. Give them some money, while you’re at it, to help their successful organizing of a boycott of Glenn Beck’s advertisers!
Here’s the links again:
White House Phone numbers:
Comments: 202-456-1111?Switchboard: 202-456-1414?FAX: 202-456-2461
Comments: 202-456-6213?Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
Color of Change: