The Price of Being Passionate

Wow, it's been a long time since I blogged about national politics here at Extraordinary Observations; nevertheless, the recent news about Van Jones's resignation really has me feeling down. If you don't know much about Jones, I strongly recommend this profile from the New Yorker or this interview with NOW. Jones resigned this weekend because of what he calls a "vicious smear campaign" attacking his past life and activism.

(from flickr user House Committee on Education and Labor)

For me, one takeaway that the rest of the blogosphere seems to be overlooking is that we now live in a country where doing or saying anything controversial in the past could torpedo your future as a high-ranking public servant. If this keeps up, the only people who are going to qualify for these positions will either be 1) those who know from an early age that it's what they want to do an meticulously manipulate the events of their lives to fit a profile of who we think a high-profile public servant should be or 2) people whose lives are incredibly unexceptional and have never done anything that could be used against them in the future.

I wonder if I've already disqualified myself from high-level public office. I'm probably much more transparent than the average person. I've written opinionated stuff all over the internet. Anyone who really wanted could take some snippets of my writing, mix in some false allegations, demand I apologize for some less-than-intelligent things I've said, and build a convincing case against me.


    On September 07, 2009 austin said...

    regardless of the larger lesson about taking controversial opinions, this guy shouldn't have been chosen for the job. he attached himself to the conspiracy movement and then lied to distance himself from it. if he really was the target of lies, why did he resign?

    horribly incompetent move by the obama administration.


    "if he really was the target of lies, why did he resign?"

    Nice try, but this argument is still a post hoc fallacy.

    On September 07, 2009 austin said...

    rob, any person worth holding a high level executive position wouldn't fold to lies.

    jones said things in the past that came back to hurt him. instead of owning up to it by defending or dismissing those past statements and actions, he lied.