What Have We Done?

Painting by Robert Shetterly, from his Americans Who Tell The Truth series

Painting by Robert Shetterly, from his Americans Who Tell The Truth series

I went to bed last night and did that thing you’re never supposed to do in order to get a good night’s sleep: opened my laptop, went to the New York Times, and started poking around.

About half way down the page was the news of Van Jones’ resignation from the Obama Administration as the Special Adviser for Green Jobs. Within seconds of reading the article, the sad truth about the limits of this presidency became very, very real.  I met Van briefly when I first moved to Oakland in 2000 and our paths crossed numerous times as my great friend Zachary Norris deferred NYU law school because he was so inspired by the work of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the leadership Van offered.  Van is a true intellectual, an amazing orator, and the most down to earth human being you will ever meet.

Over the course of the last months, I’ve been a giggling skeptic of the power that Glenn Beck has over the state of American politics.  I imagined it to be peripheral, on the margins of American society, and at the end of the day powerless.  Today, I can’t help but think: What have we done?  As progressives, we have let one of our great leaders, activists, and thinkers fall and still the streets of Oakland, DC, and  New York are quiet.  As progressives, we continue to let the administration fall under the relentless scrutiny of Republicans and, worst yet, right-wing talking heads and assume that it will have little to no effect on the movement we worked so hard for.  What have we done?  And more importantly, what can we do to make sure this never happens again?

Can’t stop won’t stop: http://cantstopwontstop.com/blog/time-to-knuckle-up-on-van-jones-resignation/
Sierra Club: http://sierraclub.typepad.com/carlpope/2009/09/we-all-blew-it.htm