On Wednesday, December 5th, the Pachamama Alliance hosted a live video conversation with attorney, civil rights activist, environmental advocate, co-host of CNN’s Crossfire and Rebuild the Dream's president Van Jones.
This interactive event was insightful, moving, and provocative and covered topics ranging from the true meaning of patriotism, to faith in the generation of Millennials, to his newest initiative #YesWeCode, inspired by the recent Trayvon Martin tragedy.
Although it is difficult to encapsulate the depth of an hour’s worth of meaningful conversation with Jones, I will highlight and summarize some of his most poignant points below. Embedded within each section is the video clip of that portion of the conversation.
Cheap Patriotism vs. Deep Patriotism
Jones defines Cheap Patriotism as “what you see on Fox News, where they just wrap the American flag around a bunch of hatred and say that’s what patriotism is”. The far right has snatched the narrative of what patriotism means, and as a society, it is problematic when we let a small sector of the population determine what being a patriot means.
Deep Patriotism is progressive. In examining what it means to be patriotic, Jones asks:
- Who is standing up for America the Beautiful?
- Who is standing up for the environment?
- Who is sticking up for “Liberty and Justice for all”?
He argues, rightfully, that it is not the conservatives and not the Tea Party. Liberty for all is a progressive idea, and includes gays, lesbians, and immigrants — “You can’t be an anti-immigrant bigot and a patriot”.