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Gillian Caldwell Headshot

Next Steps for My Friend, Van Jones

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Van Jones, the White House's top advisor on Green Jobs, resigned this morning in the wake of a focused campaign by the right wing to unseat him. In all the stories swirling around Glenn Beck/Fox's smear campaign on my long-time friend and colleague Van Jones, I hardly recognized who they were talking about.

You'd never know the "raging communist" they were scalping was in fact a Yale-educated attorney, best-selling author, and one of the most strategic minds in contemporary politics. Or that he has been fighting for a lifetime to try and improve the world around him -- most recently by pushing for green jobs and pathways out of poverty for millions of people around this country of ours, which is staggering under the weight of an economy built on dirty coal and big oil.

I, for one, am relieved that even more people around the country are about to get to know a remarkable man and a remarkable mind; and while others throughout the environmental movement lament his resignation, I am excited about the opportunity it presents for us to move this climate and energy bill and our country forward. But I am also deeply disturbed about what Fox's apparent victory means for the future of President Obama's administration and cadre of talented advisors.

What does this mean? Three things for sure:

1. More lynchings: Van's is just the first scalp and they wont stop there. But what they didn't bet on is that he can and will be even more effective on the outside than he was able to be on the inside -- particularly now that they have launched him to a position of national prominence and interest. As others have pointed out, Van's resignation could mean it will be impossible for outspoken progressives to work in the White House, which would be a very bad result for the country.

2. More trouble for Fox News and Glenn Beck: hopefully lots more. Color of Change mounted a successful campaign urging advertisers to boycott Fox news as result of Glenn Beck's racist remarks -- and 57 advertisers have agreed to work on getting their ads off the show since Glenn Beck called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" during an appearance on Fox & Friends a month ago.

3. Bigger and better things from Van Jones: a remarkable, dedicated and strategic changemaker who is about to hit his stride.

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