During last year’s presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s supporters succeeded in downplaying his associations with such radical figures as William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, both of whom have now effectively been airbrushed from the president’s biography. But how will the administration explain the choice of Van Jones as its new “green jobs” czar? Jones’s official title is “Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation” at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and he brings a personal history that will be unsurprising to those who were troubled by then-senator Obama’s roster of friends.
Jones was a co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a San Francisco–area organization that once focused exclusively on so-called social-justice issues but now sees the pot of gold at the end of the green-jobs rainbow. In a 2007 entry on the Huffington Post, Jones marked the 15th anniversary of the riots that followed the acquittal of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. Attached to the post is an essay he wrote in those heady days of 1992, which includes this account of the genesis of his revolutionary ardor:
Our rallying cry was for justice; our demand was that the System be changed!
Yes, the Great Revolutionary Moment had at long last come. And the time, clearly, was ours!
So we stole stuff.
Y’know, stole stuff. Radios, tennis shoes. Well, not everybody, of course.
The vast majority (me included) just marched around and chanted slogans. But some set trash cans on fire. And smashed in car windows. And some kids stoned a few passing cars pretty good.
And stole stuff, like I said.
Revolutionaries need radios and tennis shoes just like anyone else, of course, they just don’t feel obliged to pay for them. But it wasn’t Jones who “stole stuff,” you see, it was all those other people.
But now, who needs to steal when you’ve been appointed to a post where your hand is on the spigot from which all those federal green-job dollars flow? Green is indeed the new red, and you’re paying for it.
– Jack Dunphy is an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. “Jack Dunphy” is the author’s nom de cyber. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.