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Carl Pope Statement on Van Jones

Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, writes at the Sierra Club blog:

If you watch the infamous "assholes" video carefully, it’s clear that what Jones was saying was that Republicans play hardball better than Democrats, and that we need to start playing by their rules. He said it, though, in the language of his own community — and that, at the end of the day, was his crime. He spoke to and was of a part of an America that Fox and the reactionary right would like to put back on the plantation or pretend is not part of our nation.

Anyone who has been an effective advocate for these communities has said things that will sound shocking to people in some other parts of America — just as anyone who genuinely represents certain evangelical communities will have beliefs about morality that more-secular Americans might have a hard time with.

So lynch mobs can form up from all perspectives. This one, though, was clearly not spontaneous. It was organized by the Republicans as part of a conscious strategy, and it is only the first. We should be critical of ourselves for having blown this one. But we shouldn’t forgive either ourselves or the Administration if the next time we sense this happening we don’t fight back harder, faster, and in a way that calls a mob a mob, racism racism, and an attack on the president an attack on America.

Sometimes I feel like the lessons of the Swift Boaters were lost on a lot of people, but Carl stepped up.  I wish he’d gone further and asked the Administration to reinstate Jones, but I hope that others follow suit.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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