Monday, September 7, 2009

Ineptitude 101: Color of Change & the Van Jones Fallout

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building.

Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
There was a lot of chatter yesterday about the resignation of Van Jones. He didn't even last six months in his position as Special Advisor for Green Jobs for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Now I admit when the post was announced I immediately questioned why Majora Carter had not been appointed instead. As the founder of Sustainable South Bronx and now the Majora Carter Group it was she who had pioneered the "green jobs" movement amongst a certain population during a specific time and had "inspired" Jones. Now I'm just relieved she stayed far away from the fray.

This is a lesson on how you win a battle but lose the war.

Supposedly his departure was related to statements he'd made regarding potential gov't involvement with the September 11th attacks and for "calling the Republicans names". Was there a racial component to this? Yup. Could he have chosen his words better? Perhaps. We know politics is a dirty business where something one says years ago can be used against you in a public massacre. It's not as if the Obama White House wasn't aware of this when they hired Jones - they have an extremely thorough screening process. This was retaliation Machiavelli-style for affecting News Corporation's bottom line.

I've had my concern with Color Of Change being yet another offshoot of the Civil Rights Industrial Complex - but with computer saavy. They did initially begin their advocacy by addressing those left behind to perish in New Orleans. Soon they adopted the same agenda of protecting black males (usually criminals) against white aggression (law enforcement). You know a typical day at the NAACP. So when they went rogue by going after Fox talk show host Glen Beck I went into high alert.

They took issue with Beck referring to the President as a racist. Personally I would've let it go not because it wasn't offensive but because we know Beck is going to say outrageous things to get ratings. We know what the Fox News agenda is all about but they're only two steps ahead down the steps of hell as far as I'm concerned. MSNBC still has Pat Buchanan in their employ last time I checked. He was just praising Hitler in an Op-Ed. I also think the White House has fallen down on the job of properly defending it's own agenda so I figure if some two-bit host on Fake News of all networks is going to harp on Obama it's par for the course. Had Obama wished to silence Beck, Dobbs, Hannity, Limbaugh or any of these angry, lying white men he has the FCC and the Justice Department at his disposal.

So when Executive Director of Color Of Change, James Rucker called for a boycott of advertisers I thought it was a brilliant first step but I wondered publicly about what long-term agenda they had in place to deal with the repercussions. I recall thinking they had certainly used a strategy deployed by blog host of What About Our Daughters Gina McCauley in addressing BET's poor quality programming. I didn't really see any credit for her idea being offered by them though. I also wondered if they had inquired about the very public backlash she'd received for doing so. I knew this was on an entirely different level and had assumed they'd sought advice on this.

Advertisers did pull out, but the ratings for the show have tripled. Blacks (and some others) were cheering on various political and social blogs. It was an emotional response and I knew people would be caught off-guard at the backlash. When Beck was "forced" to take a vacation people took it as a sign of victory. That was a classic head fake. I knew Rupert Murdoch would respond to any perceived threat against News Corp and would support Beck no matter what. They'd already let one go when they cancelled E.D. Hill's show. Remember she had referred to Michelle Obama as a baby momma? Besides that was a female host. They weren't letting one of their white men go down without a fight. It would set a precedent. A black female blogger taking on a network targeting blacks is one thing. Taking on Fox over the President is on another level. The response was shift and exacting. Instead of focusing on COC directly they went after the co-founder who was conveniently working at the White House. It was a nice way to defang the "victory" and attack the President in one fell swoop.

Whether Jones actually quit or was pushed out is a moot point. This President has shown no loyalty to black people in my opinion. No Skippy Gates doesn't count. I really have no interest at this time in hearing how "we" are supposed to be (blindly) supporting "our" President. I voted for my interests, not for gender and not for race. Though I admit I take much pleasure in the ill-tempered moods of the racists who can't stand having Michelle Obama and the wee Michelles there. I know one thing: Obama could shut this all down any time he pleases. He's in charge. He has all the power. He could call out the racists. He could bring the hypocrisy to light. He won't though because he's listening to those who don't have his best interests at heart. That's his choice and it has me questioning his true agenda. He needs a serious reality check. So do we. Attorney General Eric Holder had better be battening down the hatches because he's next on the wing nut hit list. Holder is one of the few unbowed black men I'm seeing in office right now.

My advice is KNOW YOUR ENEMY.

This is bigger than Van Jones. This is bigger than Color of Change, though they've totally undermined their entire organization with their poor decision-making. There's a reason why the NAACP as INEFFECTIVE AS IT IS is still around. They thought they knew better. It was a valiant effort on their part but completely misguided of them to not know who - if anyone - had their back. Like our President!

Black people had better FINALLY be paying attention. I keep hearing the same theme of "we didn't know it was going to be this bad". This is a result of the hate that hate produced so how do you expect to protect yourself collectively when you've spent ALL your precious capital pissing in the wind? Think of this as the time before the flooding in New Orleans. Get your houses in order. The storm is coming and if you are not prepared you will be left behind to perish. Some may wish to argue this point or claim there's a bigger agenda involved. Ok then. You can wait around to see where the chips fall. When the water comes you can claim that surely a boat is coming for you because you were a loyal supporter. Of course you're going to be looked after.

I hope you know how to swim.

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Evia said...

Obama could shut this all down any time he pleases. He's in charge.

Faith, I have another perspective on this. I voted for Obama almost totally due to his wife and specifically due to the power of her image as First Lady to uplift AA women's spirits and stature on the world stage. I voted for him on the behalf of all of my female ancestors and all of my future hoped for female progeny. He will therefore never disappoint me. If he runs for a 2nd term, I'll support him again for that reason alone. I actually never expected him to do anything concrete for black people because I know he doesn't have the power to do so or more specifically, he does not have the support.

Making bold moves to "stand up" as a black man would be instant political suicide for him. HE-DOES-NOT-HAVE-ACTUAL-SUPPORT by enough people who are organized. Many of his supporters are divided and don't even like or respect each other. A roof with splinters holding it up can fall any second.

I know that Obama's presidency does actually cause some blacks in the world to benefit on the psychological level, but for ANY black person to expect for his presidency to uplift blacks as a group in practical ways is VERY naive thinking and shows that they do not understand the connection between organized money and power.

Presidents don't have real power aside from the power their constituents give them and allow them to exercise. They must not displease those constituents who are organized in a way to flex their muscles, as are some of the big players in the debacle you're describing in this essay.

Yes, plenty AAs voted for him for various reasons, but he knows just like I do that AA support is fleeting support and cannot be relied on. AAs are much too easy to manipulate because a typical AA person is not a critical thinker and therefore does not know how to view, support, or safeguard long term interests. AA behavior CLEARLY shows this. Look at how many AAs voted for George Bush simply because he was anti-abortion, anti-homosexuals, and yakked about religion and family. LOL!

The bulk of AAs are NOT shrewd, loyal supporters at all, IMO. Look at how many AA men have betrayed AA women--who did and are doing a gazillion times more for those men than Obama could ever even hope to come close to doing. That's a critical case in point, but also look at how AA women constantly and quickly sell each other out to AA men or anyone else. Look at all the AAs who constantly trash Michelle because of her complexion, hair style, and address where she grew up (calling her "that ghetto girl."

The whites and Africans I know are just shocked by the prevalence of this kind of low-level thinking among even some well-educated AAs.

Come on! Who in their right mind could take AAs seriously with that kind of damaged thinking?

I wouldn't even care whether Michelle Obama is simply an apparition or whether she even has a head or whether she was discovered to be a machine. LOL! What has that got to do with anything??? Her very existence as his wife is a tremendous boost to my Long Term Interests. So I voted for him.

I understand many of the reasons for AA behavior, but the bottom line is that AAs cannot be trusted--not because they're bad, but because they're not sophisticated enough in today's world. AAs do not know how to look out for their long term interests and no person with a few brains is going to put their neck on the chopping block for people who don't know how to do that.

I personally wish him luck because I know that's pretty much all he has going for him. AAs are not positioned to support him and whites are not going to support him if he goes against too many of their interests. The masses of AAs have no idea what their long term interests even are.

Unknown said...

It's crazy. I met Van Jones several years ago and let me say this, he WAS every bit the radical the right is claiming him to be.

However, he changed his views and felt that working within the system would better help his community. To be honest, I was shocked that he was bought into the administration because i always found him to be a grassroots guy through and through.

Does all this surprise me? not in the least bit. Should the Obama administration backed him? hell yeah. I also take issue with the fact that we are letting Fox News set the debate and call the shots. Obama doesn't surprise me with staying mum about it however. I said it before and i will say it again, he is a moderate how leans to the right.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Evia: I always appreciate your insight but this is a bone of contention with me. I am frustrated by many things that occur in the non-existent black community, but since so many still think there is one or our definitions are different or they still want to fight for one I pick my battles. I know collectively blacks don't have a pot a piss in - but they don't seem to get that. I don't think I should have to settle because of this. Nor do I subscribe to the accountability charge from the Infotainment hustlers (Smiley, Dyson, West, etc) who I don't see doing anything constructive either. They're so much better connected than I as the little blogger than could. I need more than having Michelle Obama in the White House as image repair for black women, specifically other African-American women. Or perhaps I need to take that currency and parlay it elsewhere. I have a problem with the double-speak and the dragging of heels that the President is actively engaging in. I want him to succeed but I question what he's trying to succeed at. Is it fighting for an agenda he's at one time supported and backed away from or is it about giving in to other people's interests and covering his butt. he's going to do as he wishes but I certainly have a right to be upset about it. Some of those things I want have nothing to do with black voters. I only mention them because so many could be utilizing a limited power/access combo but don't because they're waiting!! I need more than symbolism and analysis of who's the weakest link amongst voters because he still took the votes when it suited him. Expecting something in return is not asking for too much. Health care is going down in flames. Not to mention the fact that even IF the compromised public option was included (of which none of the legislation actually makes ANY sense) it's not supposed to kick in until after he's left office. So to me it's a big scam. I don't appreciate being so blatantly lied to. There is no change. It was all hot air. So how can people be expected to step up when he basically lied about his entire platform? One, two, perhaps three issues I can stomach but not the ENTIRE agenda.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Brother OMi: If the White House hired him knowing he was a potential liability and not preparing for an attack I really have to question their judgment. I'm not even schooled on the ways of how this system operates and I saw that one from a mile away!!

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Oh I forgot to link to this article in the Black Agenda Report that I think covers much of what concerns me: