New Orleans I take all of these constant attacks personally, because they are meant to be personal, but I understand them as political, and increasingly believe that we are missing that critical difference in responding to the hater-ation of the right. The Van Jones push-out is a perfect example.
Jones has made a hard mark in the dangerously volatile world of activism that is always fraught with the dangers that come from pushing for change at the margins where it is harder to be heard. I’ve met him several times and liked him. I may have not agreed with everything he said about Katrina, where we were on the ground, or paid any attention about what he might have said about 9/11, but who cares? His job was to say something! He wasn’t doing heart surgery for god sakes! His job was to push the envelope, fast and furious, and get people up on the dance floor, and he has been as good at that as anyone I’ve seen in years. And, anytime a southern man makes in on the big stage, I’m all about that, but I’m also crystal clear that it’s about the change, not the changer.
In the twitterverse and facebook-world, it has been both gratifying and disturbing to see the reaction to the Jones resignation. Some folks totally understand it, but way too many are inadvertently feeding the fires of the right-wing, Repubs hater brigade with their “yes, buts…” They confuse all of this as being about Van. They feel bad for him. They say he’ll bounce back. They quibble about what he said or didn’t say over the years.
Friends, this is all simple McCarthyism. The Jones resignation has now filled the seas with blood for the sharks and their hunger will not be abated by this wishy-washy bull corn. This is all totally political, not personal.
There is a cowards’ crowd of foundations, liberals, political schemers, and me-firsters, who believe that change can come without conflict and courage, who believe that we should not protect our institutions, but pretend they are more perfect than possible or practicable, than we are not people but machines. Who cares? This is McCarthyism and until we are willing to all stand together, it will continue to be easy for the McCarthyites to pick us off one by one.
The line has to be drawn. How many more leaders, organizers, and organizations will we let be attacked and damaged before we finally learn that this is political and all stand together?