The politics of hatred tallied another victory this morning when Obama advisor Van Jones finally threw in the towel and resigned, falling victim to the rabid attacks of Glenn Beck and frothing conservatives.
While Jones himself will land on his feet – the man has no end of talent and energy – the real loss belongs to you and me. The attacks on him were aimed squarely at the politics of hope.
With Jones’ departure, the Obama administration loses an inspirational leader who had found ways to bridge wedge issues, such as race, that divide our country. Jones was ahead of the curve in understanding the potential of green jobs to bring prosperity to families in marginalized communities while also defusing the growing risk of global warming, warming that threatens to undermine any possibility of prosperity for all of our children.
As a Black leader who brought a positive vision for the nation, Jones was the perfect target for conservatives who needed a proxy for their attack on Obama. But, the politics of fear and racism exact a dear cost on our whole nation. In a time when we need every degree of clarity we can secure, we cannot afford to be distracted from keeping our eyes on the prize.
The attack on Van was but one sally in a larger an attack on our future. While we shouldn’t respond in kind, our response must be just as vigorous, just a determined, just as sharp.
Calling out the hatred, naming it for what it is, is the first step. Calling out the resulting winners (right wing politicians, big oil, and the coal industry) and losers (you, me and our children) is just as important.
Above all we need to keep on keepin’ on, calling the rest of the country up onto the high road from where our shared fate and mutual prosperity can be seen. The debate on health care and climate protection offer opportunities to do just that, and the sooner we pivot to those debates the better.
Dan Savage does a good job in calling out the hatred politics of the Right in this interview with Keith Olberman:
For some background debunking the attack on Van see Dave Robert’s thoughts on Grist
And to stand with Van check out standwithvan.com