Van Jones, fired as a top Obama environmental adviser for past political activism, is back to helping President Obama's revived attacks on the rich and corporate tax scofflaws. Jones has joined MoveOn.org to help with the group's "American Dream" project set up to assail wealthy Americans.
"I'm Van Jones, and last week, I joined with MoveOn to launch 'Rebuild the Dream.' This big new project is dedicated to creating an economy that works for ALL of us—and to stopping the attacks on the middle class and working Americans," he writes in an e-mail. [See the month's best editorial cartoons.]
An effective activist and environmental advocate, Jones was pushed from office when the heat from critics of his past statements became too much for the White House to handle. For example, in 2004, he signed a petition questioning if Bush officials allowed 9/11 to happen as a pretext for war.
His newest project calls for neighborhood meetings on July 16-17 to discuss how Americans can resurrect the American Dream. According to the MoveOn.org page, "We know we have the resources to create good jobs for millions of Americans if all of us pay our fair share in taxes. The problem is that millionaires and big corporations aren't—that's why we're creating a powerful agenda to rebuild the American Dream. We'll use the agenda to push Congress to make the American Dream a reality for all of us, not just corporations and the rich."
In his E-mail about the union-sponsored event, Jones said, "Since we launched last week, the question folks keep asking me is: 'Why are you talking about the American Dream? Didn't we all give up on that a long time ago?' Sadly, they're right. Too many of us have stopped talking about our dreams—stopped thinking in terms of what we're really capable of achieving in this country. I believe that's actually part of the problem."
Jones also gave a short story about the American Dream:
"For me, the American Dream is something my dad instilled in me. He climbed out of poverty up the ladder of opportunity—then he put my sister and me through college.
"As I've traveled around the country talking to thousands of people over the past year, it's become clear that we, as a country, are letting that ladder fall down. People have told me over and over that the American Dream is slipping further and further away for them and their families.
"We need to stop reckless greed at the top from killing our dreams. That's the inspiration behind Rebuild the Dream.
"Because the American Dream used to mean something in this country. That if you put in a hard day's work, you could expect good American wages, benefits, a dignified retirement, and a better life for your kids. Everyone wasn't in the middle class, but everyone believed that—given a fair shot—they could make it there. That's the American Dream I'm fighting for.
"Our shared path to the American Dream begins with a conversation among concerned friends and neighbors at hundreds of American Dream house meetings on July 16 and 17. These simple house meetings will launch a grassroots agenda-creation process that we'll use to drive the American Dream movement forward."