Van Jones, former White House advisor and author, attracts hundreds to Kalamazoo College event (video)
KALAMAZOO – More than 400 people filled Dalton Theatre to hear author, activist and former White House advisor Van Jones speak for Kalamazoo College’s William Weber Lecture on Government and Society on Wednesday night.What a suck-up. Pathetic.
Jones began his lecture by praising the students in the room for the Occupy Wall Street movement started by young people, which he made appearances at in California.
“You are bigger than the Baby Boomers,” he said. “You are more ecologically aware, more humanitarian than any generation of Americans ever. You stood up in 2008 and in your enthusiasm you made history. In 2010, you sat down and made history and now in 2011 you stood up – or are laying down in sleeping bags – whatever you do you make history.”
Many of the college students and adults in the audience said they regard Jones, 43, as a man who has answers to our grim economy with green jobs, which he outlines in his book “The Green Collar Economy.”You know what you also don't get from wind turbines? Affordable energy.
“When the wind turbine falls over, you don't get a massive wind slick that wipes over,” Jones told the audience.
“I've worked in solar energy for 10 years and I've never seen a sun spill.Have you heard of skin cancer? By the way, when has Jones ever "worked in solar energy", as opposed to being a political activist?
There is a smarter way to power America and the good thing about it is everything that is good for the environment is a job.”Yet more liberals who don't have a problem with a communist past.
Jones joked about hot-topic issues such as gay marriage and immigration reform and said the millennial generation is the most diverse one yet.
“Y'all make up genders and still get along, it's a miracle in human history,” he said. “This diversity you are managing and celebrating and multiplying will be a source of your solution to find a way to restore the prosperity.”
Mayor Bobby Hopewell – who sat in the second row among the lecture's namesake Bill Weber, who founded of the William Weber Chair in Political Science – said Jones is already making a difference by finding a new approach to improve urban communities. Kalamazoo billionaire philanthropist Jon Stryker was also present at the event.
Kalamazoo's Fran Kremlick, 78, said Jones's visit reminds her of when Martin Luther King Jr. visited her church 60 years ago.
Jones is currently president of the liberal nonprofit organization called Rebuild the Dream as well as co-founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. He is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and on the board of several organizations including Demos, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and the Campaign for America's Future.They were lying, as was Jones.
TIME magazine recognized Jones as one of the 100 most influential people in 2009. That same year, Jones was asked to resign from his position as green-jobs advisor in the Obama administration.
Rumors about his involvement in a Sept. 11 conspiracy group, a radical group with Marxist roots and past statements against Republicans are what led to his resignation, according to The Washington Post.
The Gazette’s advance article on Jones’s lecture, which mentioned the above controversy, was met with sharp criticism in a letter to the editor from Kalamazoo College Professor R. Amy Elman, who pointed to Jones’s New York Times editorial piece explaining how the rumors were false.
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership of Kalamazoo College program coordinator Hussain Turk also wrote a letter accusing the Gazette of being “racist and heterosexist” for publishing the public controversy surrounding Jones.
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“This is the most controversial thing I am going to say and I know you were waiting for it,” Jones said, poking fun at his controversial reputation. “America is not broke. We are the richest country in the world. We can't drill and burn our way out of our energy problems but we can invent and invest our way.”'Evidence? Wind and solar don't produce anywhere near enough energy.
While his humor brought much laughter to the room, some audience members wanted a more solution-oriented conversation.Van Jones continues to sell his gospel of more spending, more corporate welfare, higher taxes, and more debt. He is exploiting and promoting the fad of "green energy" to do so, but the real goal continues to be big government.
"Van Jones shows himself as a true showman," said Bejamin Leventer, 22. "Ultimately he left us with a challenge of how to bring jobs back and bring about climate change by changing our reliance on 'dead' energy sources."
There was an hour-long question and answer period and a book signing after the lecture. It was not disclosed if Jones received payment to speak at Kalamazoo College, but tickets to the event were free.
Jones is participating in a panel discussion called “The Political Moment: Social Justice Tensions, Possibilities, and Aspirations,” at Kalamazoo College’s W.K. Hicks Student Center banquet room on Thursday morning.