Van Jones, founder of Green For All and former special advisor for green jobs, enterprise and innovation at Council on Environmental Quality, was done wrong by a right-wing conspiracy and a slow-to-react White House. Glenn Beck, among others, tried to paint Jones as some sort of evil mastermind, conspiring to make the U.S. the new U.S.S.R. by championing green jobs. Now, after Jones was forced out of his job, the NAACP's CEO and President Benjamin Todd Jealous is coming to his defense. Writes Jealous in a CNN essay:
He penned the national bestseller, "The Green Collar Economy," which provided the definitive blueprint for retooling American industry to create pathways out of poverty and generate a national economic recovery. He was a driving force behind passage of the 2007 Green Jobs Act. In fact, Van's ideas have helped lead to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs across the industrial Midwest and throughout the nation's decaying urban and rural areas.
Van Jones also may be the most misunderstood man in America.
He resigned from the White House last year after some sought to discredit him for missteps, such as political statements made years ago. However, we can never afford to forget that a defining trait of our country is our collective capacity to practice forgiveness and celebrate redemption. This is a nation built on second chances.
Jealous rightly points to Jones' body of work--lawyer, activist, and champion for green jobs--instead of harping on the baggage--much of it undeserved--that Jones carries. Green for All, under Jones' care, pushed hard for funding in the Stimulus bill for infrastructure investment and green jobs training and they got it. Jones can share in some of the credit now that people are going back to work and there is increased awareness that the next great industry is green tech, which is capable of lifting many out of poverty by providing new green jobs.
Looking back on the time Jones was under fire, it's hard to believe now that he was done in by the likes of this guy: