I am a big fan of green jobs czar clean energy jobs handyman Van Jones (see “Van Jones argues we can “” and must “” fight poverty and pollution at the same time” and “Must Read: Van Jones and the English Language“). The right wing hates the clean energy jobs message (see “Department of Energy eviscerates right-wing Spanish ‘green jobs’ study“) so it’s not surprising they are going after Van Jones. This repost from Brad Johnson of Wonk Room helps sets the record straight. It ends with a zinger tweet from ABC’s Jake Tapper that I reply to. I pose the question — should journalists twitter? — and would be interested in your comments.
White House green jobs advisor Van Jones is under attack from Fox News as an “avowed radical revolutionary communist” and from ABC News as a “truther” with a “history of incendiary and provocative remarks.” In an attempt to assassinate the character of Van Jones, the right-wing media are distorting his past political activism and cherry-picking Jones’s critiques of the pollution and injustice that still haunt this nation. However, Jones’s true record is one of turning away from anger and finding hope, abandoning division and seeking consensus.
Speaking at the National Clean Energy Summit 2.0 in Las Vegas this August, Van Jones argued that “for all of the battleground politics that’s going on,” energy policy should be “the one place that should be a safe harbor for all of us.” Van Jones praised the “bipartisanship” of Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who as a representative from Los Angeles succeeded in getting “the first president ever to sign into law a green jobs act, President George W. Bush.” He recognized that the summit participants came to find a “healing for our politics” in a “common ground agenda”:
Many of you have taken chances to start companies, you’ve written books, you’ve been grassroots champions for the change that we need. And I think you’re seeking not just a healing for our economy or a healing for our planet, but a healing for our politics. And I want to acknowledge that many of us are here because we are seeking something deeper. This is the common ground agenda. It should be the common ground agenda. We should be able to come together as a country on this one. Finally.
Jones then explained that “the values that underlie this clean energy conversation” are “the common ground values of America.” Underlying the call for clean energy is the value that “clean air is better than dirty air for the health of our children.” Underlying the call for energy efficiency is that value that treating our country’s resources “with wisdom and respect is more important than wasting them.” And “if we have the opportunity to fight both poverty and pollution by putting people to work in these new industries, we would be wise as a country to do that.”