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Environmental Pioneer Van Jones: Let’s Rebuild the Dream

Environmental Pioneer Van Jones: Let’s Rebuild the Dream
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In his newest book, Rebuild the Dream, green economy pioneer Van Jones reflects on his journey from grassroots outsider to White House insider, shares intimate details of his time in government, and provides a blueprint to reinvent the American Dream. Along the way, he contrasts the structure and rhetoric of the 2008 Obama campaign, the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street. Below are his thoughts on cheap patriots versus deep patriots, and the way forward to reclaim, reinvent, and renew the American Dream.


The time has come to turn things right side up again and declare that America’s honest, hard-working middle class is too big to fail. The aspirations of our low-income, struggling, and marginalized communities are too big and important to fail. The hopes of our children are too big to fail. The American Dream itself is too big to fail.

And we are not going to let these things fail.

Of course, it will not be easy to stop the dream killers. Tax policy that burdens working families and gives the biggest breaks to the super-rich has helped to keep more and more of our national wealth locked in the private safes of the top 1 percent. This alarming economic polarization, combined with the constant flow of good-paying jobs overseas, threatens to end our status as a middleclass nation. Too many of our big banks and largest corporations are behaving in a manner that is both irresponsible and unpatriotic. Their conduct makes it that much worse for the many patriotic and responsible businesses—especially small businesses—that follow the rules and provide good jobs to their employees.

Additionally, many well-intentioned people have been recruited into a powerful crusade—the Tea Party movement—that promises the American people economic relief by slashing taxes and taking a wrecking ball to America’s government. The impact of the Tea Party’s reckless policies would be to financially decimate our government, further dismantle America’s middle class, and strengthen the chokehold that the top 1 percent has on the economy. Nonetheless, the Tea Partiers effectively seized the public narrative in 2009 and congressional power in 2010, quelling the wave of hope generated by the 2008 election. They have succeeded at painting their agenda “red, white, and blue.” If we are to have an economy that works for the remaining 99 percent, this kind of “cheap patriotism” must be sidelined in favor of a “deep patriotism”—one that honors the accomplishments of our parents and grandparents. After all, they used the tools of both free enterprise and democratic government to build a society that sets the global standard.

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Photo: Center for American Progress

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3:00PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Ever since I was introduced to who Van Jones is, I have been highly impressed with him, his motivation, sincerity, dedication and progressivism. He has character, and was not backed up by the administration when he was railroaded out of government by Fox. The Obama administration needed more like Jones, but instead staffed with the old school such as Geithner. Can such a man effect change? He needs a lot of help. When he speaks of "cheap patriotism" vs "deep patriotism," I know exactly what he means. The repub party touts patriotism, but it is cheap words, not real patriotism of trying to help Americans under a Democratic presidency. They would rather see America and Americans fail UNTIL they have a repub president, and by that time, we will be a failed America. Repubs don't understand real patriotism, caring about real people, middle class people who built America, and making sure they have jobs and industry to work in, here in our country. A pox on their house.

9:06PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

John K thinks that everyone who wears a tie instead of a tire, dresses like a billionaire.

9:04PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Typical eco, race, poverty pimp who dresses like a billionaire. What a hypocrite phony. If he's so green, why did he not just publish his uninformed book in an e-book format. The reason; he's a leftist punk who thinks he is above being principled. Can't wait to see that fire starting trash on the remainder shelves for 99 cents within a month.

5:21AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Maybe some day the Willimantic Public Library will acquire a copy of Van Jones' Rebuilding the American Dream, and I can get to read it.

7:48AM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Van Jones is quite an inspiration!

8:04AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

I have never heard of Van Jones before, but I certainly like what he has to say! The man is quite an orator!

5:56AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

A fair system for all. One for all, and all for one. Where the rich pay their way and the poor aren't ripped off. Where the sick receive the help that they need without going broke, or those who can't afford it, still receive help without the cost. There is the poverty of the poor and then there is the poverty of one who is so in love with money that he is poor in his spirit. Money is a tool to be used for good and not a source to be loved beyond all else. A fair system for all.

8:12AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

And the brainwashed will follow them, not realizing that they're giving up their rights as they do so...
"The impact of the Tea Party’s reckless policies would be to financially decimate our government, further dismantle America’s middle class, and strengthen the chokehold that the top 1 percent has on the economy."

8:10AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

The conservatives HATE this guy, they do letter writing and call campaigns to state agencies saying he's a communist. The Tea Party and right wingers that don't like him say that nothing he says should be taught in school, what does this make them? SOCIALISTS!!! Everything they say they're against.

6:35AM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

john h

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No,, we won't be... Not with the population growing the way it is, with more mouths to feed,, and…

I've read some of these but I'd like to read them all:)

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