Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mixed Reaction Over Van Jones' Resignation

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 11:30 AM

I really admire Van Jones, Obama's former "green jobs" appointee. Some would say it's maybe even a crush.

He wrote "The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems." He also co-founded both the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Green for All.

I met him at a Green For All conference held in Memphis several years ago and I was impressed by his vision, his leadership skills, and the way people flock to him.

So I was disappointed to see that, after being the victim of a weeks-long smear campaign by Fox News' Glenn Beck, Jones resigned from his position with the White House Council on Environmental Quality over the weekend.

Other reaction has been mixed.

Alternet's Don Hazen says that progressives are better off with Jones out of the White House.

"He's Been Rescued From Obscurity: Special adviser to the Council for Environmental Quality. Hmm. That doesn't quite have the ring of power and influence. Jones took one for the team by taking an obscure position in the first place. And he took another one for the team by realizing quickly that the right-wing smear campaign against him was going to be a distraction.

Now Jones is free to climb to a much higher level of visibility and influence millions of people in ways he couldn't at that White House job."

The New Republic's John McWhorter says the administration should have dismissed criticism against Jones as nonsense:

"With the Obama Administration letting Green Jobs czar Van Jones resign, questions as to whether these people have any spine are becoming sadly legitimate."

And, from a Green For All statement on Jones' resignation:

"Like the great social justice movements of the 20th century, our movement for an inclusive green economy is based in the most fundamental American values: equality, justice, and opportunity for all.

That's why our opponents reduced the debate to fear, hatred, and division. They cannot win a debate about values. They cannot win a debate about solutions.

Our allies and friends may be redirected by these attacks, and focus on the rants of those who fear our vision. For Green For All, our struggle must be defined by the issues our opponents refuse to debate: ending global warming; lifting people out of poverty; restoring the economy; and bringing health to our communities. These are the challenges that matter the most."

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