I'd only just begun to focus any of my attention on Van Jones, and then suddenly he was at the center of an effort by Glenn Beck and his lot to achieve his ouster. Clearly, that effort won out, and Jones resigned his position as the "Green Jobs Czar" this weekend.
Now, let's put aside the fact that Jones was a co-founder of the group Color of Change, which has successfully persuaded more than 50 advertisers to end their associations with Beck's show (for calling Obama a "racist" and a person with a "deep hatred for white culture"), because that couldn't have been Beck's motivation to save the nation from Jones. Perhaps, it was Jones association with Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM) that really peaked Beck's interest (and maybe the fact that Jones called the GOP "assholes" in explaining how the party achieves its ends).
After reading about the ideas of STORM, I have to admit that it's not my cup of tea. But, if I recall properly, Jones left those politics behind. What I am missing is what this has to do directly with the job that Jones left, the development of green jobs. Have we returned to the mid-20th century, when the very idea of "Communist sympathies" was enough to ruin a career, whether real or imagined? Is that a Beck-ian goal, an effort to return to the "traditional" values of the last century?
I am also missing how the activities of those who flirted with, or even joined the Communist Party, are being held to standards that are reserved for say white supremacist groups or radical Islamic groups. I'll even go so far to say that the actions of Bill Ayers and Senator Robert Byrd (a repentant Klan member, but a former Klan member nonetheless) were by far more egregious and wrong than what I've read about the activities of Van Jones.
I am beginning to wonder if people who have participated in truly left wing organizations are going to be "banned" from participating in government in the very near future, wondering if that is the actual goal of some on the right. David Sirota suggests that we seem to be heading in that direction in this post that he did on the Jones situation on "Huffington Post."
If we elect to use similar standards across the political spectrum, then there might be a fair few on the right who should be worried about their past associations. At this point, if one thing in Washington is clear, tit for tat is the rule of the game. If we are lucky, then maybe Beck will be submitting a resignation soon too.
UPDATE: I was just reminded of something from the first comment (thanks Scott). What I did not add in this post is the fact that I think that the notion that the U.S. government had anything to do with orchestration of the events of 9/11 is STUPID from the off. It is the one area where I think that Jones' political past was in fact a problem. With that said, I still think that a larger question remains with regard to how political activity on the left will be viewed with regard to public service vis a vis political activity on the right. There seems to remain a presumption that all things left are inherently bad for the nation, and all things right are patriotism personified. That is a problem.