Exposing Liberal Hypocrisy and Conservative Close-Mindedness | Van Jones

The amount of political disagreement in the nation is matched only by righteous indignation. But in order to disagree without disrespecting each other, we need to look hard at our own positions, and Van Jones does just that. Exposing liberal hypocrisy on issues like economic self-interest and inclusion, Jones bravely crosses political lines that have come to define our comfort zones. Conservatives, too, need to look closely at where their party has departed from its traditional focus on family, faith, and work ethic. Disagreement is essential in a democracy, but disrespect is tearing at our social fabric. Van’s latest book is Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together.

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Transcript: I think liberals have a very hard time understanding their role in creating the market for Trump. I think we have a view of ourselves that has a bunch of blind spots in it in terms of how we’re showing up.

I’ve gone all across the country, I got a chance to go to West Virginia, the red parts of Indiana and Michigan, even the red counties in California, I’ve gone to the border, and it gives you the chance to really kind of see the world from the other side as a liberal, as a progressive.

One of the things that I think that we don’t understand and that we have a hard time getting our heads wrapped around is we often commit the same mistakes with people in the red states that we accuse conservatives of committing.

For instance, if you only listen to NPR, only watch CNN and only read the New York Times and say “I know what’s happening,” then you’re committing the same kind of mistake as somebody who only reads the Wall Street Journal, watches FOXNews and listens to Rush Limbaugh on the radio—which is not to say that CNN is as far left as FOX is to the right, it’s to say that there’s a particular set of assumptions that you’re being reinforced in, a particular set of ideas. And so you might assume then that any rational person would be outraged by what you’re outraged by and even have the same information that you have, but that’s just not true.

We can sometimes come across in ways that are offensive to people who are in the red states and who are conservative, which shocks a lot of liberals. “I’m not offensive and I’m not offending anybody; I’m liberal I’m up for everybody! I believe in diversity! I believe in inclusion!” But it sounds the same way. A lot of times you challenge conservatives and say, “Listen sometimes you guys sound really racist.”

“Oh my God I’m not – I don’t have a racist bone in my body. You’re nuts! Quit playing the race card on me!”

It’s the same basic thing. Listen to what folks are saying.

I listen to liberals, they say—they basically treat red states the same way that colonizers treat Third World countries.

“These are ignorant backwaters in the south, full of unwashed, uneducated dumb people, and what we need to do is convert them to our NPR religion and forcefeed them some kale so they can actually rise to our level! And once they rise to our level then they’ll be smart enough to quit falling for dumb tricks from their republican masters.”

And I’m like, do you hear yourself? Do you hear how you sound?! Nobody should follow anybody who thinks that way about them.

Just like most people of color will never follow a lot of the Republican Party as it talks about people today “because you don’t have any respect; you don’t understand what you’re talking about; you’re looking down on us and then telling us that ‘we’re dumb if we don’t vote for you.’”

No, we’re dumb if we vote for you, and it’s the same way in reverse.

Let me tell you the kind of stuff liberal say all the time, that liberals think it’s perfectly reasonable, perfectly rational, and it’s offensive and wrong. Liberals say about conservatives, especially low-income white conservatives who vote for republicans, that these people are “voting against their own economic self-interest and it’s because they’re not well educated, if they really understood what was going on they would never vote for these people because they’re voting against their economic self-interest, which is stupid.”

Okay, let’s take that apart. Do you know the white people who consistently vote against their own economic self-interest? I’ll tell you who: rich, white liberals who vote for tax increases to pay for programs their kids will never use! They’re voting against their economic self-interest!



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