06 September 2009

Van Jones, White House Environmental Adviser, 2009

It's so easy to look at politicians who lie to the public, accept bribes, hire call girls or cheat on their wives and children (because if you cheat on a wife, you are cheating your children at least as much) but what about people who have strong political convictions and do things about them that they later regret?

Van Jones, the Obama administration guru of green jobs has resigned his position after his past actions and statements with some controversial groups came under public scrutiny.
Mr. Jones has issued two apologies in recent days. One of those mea culpas was for joining a group called 911Truth.org that questioned whether Bush administration officials "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war" and the other for using a crude term to describe Republicans in a speech he gave before joining the administration.
Haven't we all called an opponent something regrettable at some point? I read a statement once that a man wasn't a man if he couldn't control his temper... or if he didn't have a temper.

It's a sad truth that youth is wasted on the young, but isn't it more regrettable when we are so naive that we go into public office thinking no one will ever question our abilities or intents? When you serve the public in this country, you have several hundred million bosses, each of whom is allowed to criticize and comment on your abilities at will.

I have to admit that for the first several years in television news, I was very thin skinned. These days, if you criticize me, unless you are the one signing my paycheck or my time sheet, I probably will laugh in your face. Literally. I've learned to handle the ups and downs of a very fickle public.

I'm sorry Van Jones has resigned from the position of White House Environmental Adviser. I don't know that he shouldn't have. I don't know that he should. I do know that I understand him to be uniquely qualified, except for this: he didn't have the backbone needed to stand up under public pressure. Which means in his case, he wasn't right for the job.

Politics. Sensitive souls need not apply.


Jen said...

This is why I am not in politics. I'm super hyper-sensitive to criticism.

Though, I do think it is unfortunate and ironic that someone seemingly interested in a political career would use such "POLITICALLY incorrect" language in a place where it would get recorded enough to necessitate apology.

Marti said...

It could also be viewed as outspoken words from a societal group who never expected to be in a position to move into the White House.

If the group (in this case race) that you are part of has always had a ceiling, then there is no planning for success, no reasonable knowledge of what that looks like, and no understanding of what has to be done to look "presentable" in that future.

Therefore, angry black men of the past are now overjoyed to find doors opened, but their past rages may come back to haunt them.

We may see more of this.