Blue Origin Bezos

Jeff Bezos, center, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, poses for photos with Chef Jose Andres, left, and Van Jones, right, founder of Dream corps during a briefing following the launch of the New Shepard rocket from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Andres and Jones were awarded Courage and Civility awards during the briefing.

The world’s richest man returned from space and handed Van Jones a check for $100 million. Jones said what every child should hear if deceived by critical race theory or similar forms of academic racism.

Without mentioning the surge in institutionalized classroom racism — which tells minorities they are helplessly oppressed by whites who are helplessly racist — Jones offered a down-to-earth message of unification and hope.

Jones explained the courage involved in private-sector endeavors that advance humanity, just after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his team returned from space Tuesday morning.

“I haven’t always been courageous, but I know the people who are,” Jones said. “They get up every day on the front lines, grassroots communities, they don’t have much but they’re good people and they fight hard, and they don’t have enough support. Can you imagine grassroots folks from Appalachia, from the hood, Native American reservations, having enough money to be able to connect with the geniuses that have disrupted the space industry?”

Bezos gave another $100 million to chef Jose Andres and told each man to use the money to advance courage and civility in a troubled society.

Jones envisions helping individuals and communities to disrupt poverty the way Bezos, businessman Richard Branson, and other private-sector entrepreneurs are disrupting and advancing space travel.

“To start disrupting poverty,” Jones said of his vision. “To start disrupting pollution. To start disrupting the $90-billion prison industry together. If you take people on the front lines and their wisdom and their genius and their creativity, if you give them a shot, they’re not just going to turn around neighborhoods, they’re going to turn around this nation. That’s what’s going to happen.”

It is a message of hope, rather than despair. It’s a message of what’s possible, not what’s unfair. By exploring space, Jones said, private-sector innovators “lift the ceiling of dreams” for all of humanity.

“Don’t be mad about it,” Jones said, addressing the economic disparity between billionaire explorers and the poor. “When you see somebody reaching for the heavens, be glad. There’s a lot more heaven there to reach for.”

Jones, a liberal Democrat who served as former President Barack Obama’s green jobs adviser, has a long and uncelebrated habit of thinking and speaking for himself. The Democratic Party could benefit enormously by listening more to Jones and less to the racists fomenting identity politics, critical race theory, “racial equity,” and other forms of race-based socioeconomic division.

Jones sees through the concerns feigned for minorities by radical white, woke, left-wing activists. He highlighted the hypocrisy this summer when a white liberal Democrat tried resolving a minor dispute with a stranger by calling 911 and using his race against him.

“It’s not the racist white person who is in the Ku Klux Klan that we have to worry about,” Jones said.

“It’s the white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter walking her dog in Central Park who would tell you right now, ‘Oh I don’t see race, race is no big deal to me, I see all people the same, I give to charities.’ But the minute she sees a Black man who she does not respect, or who she has a slight thought against, she weaponized race like she had been trained by the Aryan Nation.”

It is similar to the enigma of white activists destroying Blacked-owned businesses and neighborhoods while declaring “Black lives matter.”

Jones is not drifting to the right. He has never accepted the left’s “whites-are-racist, Blacks-are-oppressed” narrative. He is a liberal through-and-through — not a leftist — in the tradition of former President John F. Kennedy, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., former House Speaker Tip O’Neill, former Colorado Govs. Richard Lamm and Bill Ritter, former Sen. Ken Salazar, and other Democrats who defend or defended the United States as the greatest country on Earth.

Back in 2016, New York magazine tried to bait Jones into agreeing “racism is at the core” of our country, and supporters of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump must be racist. Jones, a genuine intellectual and scholar, did not fall for it.

“If you talk to Trump voters, they will often express some discomfort with a lot of the things that he has said, but those things are not disqualifying for them because they’re so desperate for change,” Jones said.

“A change that would benefit them and not others, by way of racism?” the journalist asked.

Uh, no. “I think that you’re describing a particular paradigm that seems like reality to liberals,” Jones replied.

The silent majority of moderates, liberals and conservatives love this country. They want everyone to succeed, from the richest man to the child born in poverty.

If we had more leaders like Jones — speaking the truth from the right, the left, and all points between — society could dispense with critical race theory and other forms of racism that say good people can’t succeed because bad people hold them down.

Gravity holds all of us down, without regard for color. Together, we can reach for the heavens. As Jones assures us, there’s a lot more heaven to reach for.

The Gazette Editorial Board

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