This was an important message...especially for this crowd. He started off by talking about the fact that he can guarantee that - after traveling the country - people are ready to fight back. The thing he can't guarantee is whether we will fight together or fight alone.
In order to demonstrate the issue, he had some slides that showed us all in silos centered around our various concerns...labor, racial justice, enviros, women's rights, LGBT rights, immigration rights. And then he talked about how we all came together during the election under the "Obama brand." He pointed out how "our guy got a promotion" and now we're back to where we started - the splintered silos.
In contrast, he talked about the Tea Party being organized around principles rather than a person. That kind of movement is more enduring.
Here's something close to a quote:
They talk about rugged individualism but they have enacted the most collectivist strategy for taking power in the history of the republic.
The irony...we talk kumbaya, solidarity forever.... but we have enacted the most individualist approach to politics.
Then he asked whether we can find a common brand to march under that nobody owns.
We can no longer rely on a single charismatic individual. People let you down...principles and values are enduring.
Van's proposal...in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr:
I have a dream. Its deeply rooted in the American Dream.
He distinguished this from the "American Fantasy" that's about everyone getting rich and the idea that buying things will make you happy.
I’m talking about something much, much deeper than that. Something that we had in this country until the commercializers turned it into something else. The American Dream was simply the idea that hard work should pay in our country. That you should be able to get up in the morning in America, and if you willing to and are able to work, walk out your front door, go to a dignified job, put in a good day’s work and come back home with a paycheck that you can feed your family with and give your children a better life. That’s the American Dream. That’s what our parents fought for and our grandparents fought for and we should not let it be taken away from us on our watch. That’s the American Dream.
And we have Dream killers. Dream killers, who have a wrecking ball agenda for our country. A wrecking ball for America. But they painted that wrecking ball red, white and blue. And they think we’re going to salute their red, white and blue wrecking ball? They got another thought coming in the United States of America. No. It’s time for the deep patriots to stand up to the cheap patriots. It’s time for the deep patriots who love this country and who love everybody in this country, no matter what color you are or who you want to marry or what kind of piercing you got in your nose, we love everybody, we are the deep patriots. They’re the cheap patriots and I’m tired of them questioning us and what we stand for.
So are we going to stand together?
Van has teamed up with some other progressive organizations to Rebuild the Dream. This Thursday night you can live stream their kick off event featuring Jones and "The Roots" at 8:15 EDT at that link.
This is such an important question - are we going to stand together or try to fight alone? I know that I have been wrestling with it ever since I first heard his speech. It should have been the theme coming out of Netroots Nation rather than the crap about "He's just not that into you." In my fantasy world, every liberal/progressive blog would be highlighting this message, but so far there's barely a peep about it.
I have my reasons for why I think its been overlooked. Of course the MSM is much more attracted to the schisms that were on display at the conference. And then there's the fact that, while I was there, a little birdie told me that a certain female blogger (that apparently will work for any politician - Democrat or Republican - who is willing to put up the dough) has stacked the deck with her minions on the panel selection committee for NN. Is it any wonder that the news out of the convention is that liberal bloggers have broken up with their boyfriend Obama? I'm not a conspiracy theorist - but I know manipulation when I see it.
For me, whether they are on the left or the right, I'll not follow those who promote division. Please listen to and heed the wise words of Van Jones and keep working to find the common bonds.