I have known Van Jones since I met him in early 2000 at the seminal “Creating Our Future” conference and retreat at Walker Creek Ranch. He has evolved into an incredibly powerful and poignant speaker who at this point now stands alone as a voice for what historically has been known as Progressivism. I am sharing here two minutes of Van explaining what I think should be the mission statement of, if not the Democratic Party, the Occupy Movement. In the two minutes he speaks, he deftly rebranded liberalism, renaming it Progressivism (which is technically correct IMHO). He said that loving America is loving _Americans_. Sounds obvious, but I think that’s a new one, and he can claim it. And I hope he runs with it. He recast the debate in terms of Emma Lazarus, implying that the true America is embodied in the “mother of exiles” nature of the Statue of Liberty, and in so doing redefined the key buzzword at the heart of the debate of the day: “patriotism.” He stood up to the Tea Party and the increasingly radicalized right in a clean, clear, proud-yet-humble, unambiguous way. As the “other” icon of this great land, Uncle Sam, I am proud-yet-humbled to be associated with him. And, for the record, I would consider the following words to be as appropriately associated with me and what I stand for as they are with Lady Liberty.
The New Collosus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”