Every June the Campaign for America’s Future hosts the well-attended and content-rich Take Back America Conference in Washington, D.C. This year Van Jones, one of the most dynamic speakers in America, with a list of accomplishments long enough that I’ll simply refer you to Wikipedia, delivered an inspiring Keynote Address in which he offered his perspective on why those who care about the public won the elections in 2008 and why we lost in 2010 and what we need to do to Rebuild the American Dream.
During his talk Jones took a moment to harken back to his youth in rural West Tennessee where those who served the community were honored.
Maybe I was raised wrong, but in my community, in my neighborhood, in my home, I was never taught of any threat to me called the public employee. We didn’t call them public employees. We didn’t see them as some sort of threat that needed to be turned into a political punching bag and disrespected.
We didn’t call them public employees. We called them teachers. We called them nurses. We called themn librarians. We called them firefighters. We called them police officers. They were the backbone of our community. They were our everyday heroes. We were taught to look up to themn. We were taught to respect them. We were taught to say ‘Yes ma’am” and ‘No sir’ to them. They never abandoned us, not one time, no matter how big the fire, no matter how heinous the crime, no matter how slow the learner. They never abandoned us, not one single time-o But now it is fashionable to turn on them and abandon them.
We say, no, we are a better country than that. We are not going to attack the people who have been there for us. We’re going to lift them up and treat them right.