Saturday night, 8:30pm: listening with headphones on the treadmill at my gym to Glenn Beck (okay, I need some slack here: the treadmill is spectacularly boring, I don't have an Ipod and Medford-area Saturday night radio sucks). He spends an hour raging on the incalculably evil danger of Van Jones (appointed last spring to be President O's special adviser on Green Jobs). "Don't you understand, people? We have the most vile and perverted kind of Marxist, someone who undeniably wants to destroy our way of life, whispering as we speak into Obama's ear!" His evidence: Jones' signature on a petition saying there are grave unanswered questions about 9-11 and some appearance that the W administration let it happen, and a series of sound bites from past Jones speeches. These, delivered in a dramatic black-preacher cadence that makes some whites nervous regardless of content, say that (1) We have to do more than change energy sources to set this country right ("We're not gonna put a new battery into a broken system, we have to change the whole thing!") (2) Native Americans got screwed as Anglos settled the west, and deserve the royalties that will come their way from alternative energy development on reservation lands that were too hot and windy for the Anglos' taste (3) many immigrants are despised and kicked around while they're doing essential work for us.
Beck gets apoplectic about all of this: we are sitting back, he says, and watching the destruction of this country. When will we WAKE UP??!!??!!
Sunday morning, 6:30am: I wake up and turn the radio on to NPR's Morning Edition Sunday. The first headline is that Van Jones has resigned.
So: does Glenn Beck now have veto authority over who helps make national policy? And, while we're at it, when W's top people were caught redhanded committing crimes (as opposed to making candid unguarded remarks that many Americans actually agree with), did he tell or allow them to step down, or did he stand behimd them with loyalty and conviction until (except in the case of Alberto Gonzales) the heat passed over?
Has open season just been declared on the few progressives who remain in this Administration?
Jeff Golden is the author of Forest Blood, As If We Were Grownups, and the novel Unafraid (with excerpts available at www.unafraidthebook.com).