If you were looking to be shocked last week, you needed to travel no farther than Northwest Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, the site of this year’s Campus Progress national conference. Campus Progress, a branch of the Center for American Progress dedicated to training and encouraging young liberal leaders, journalists, and activists, has held the conference annually for the past seven years. It is intended to inspire liberal activism among youth, particularly college-aged and recently-graduated students. The conference-this time around entitled “Turning Truth to Power”- spanned two days, July 6th and 7th.
On day one of the conference, panelist Robert Weissman, president of the liberal advocacy group Public Citizen, called the Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision “the anti-Brown-v-Board-of-Education of our time”, saying it would encourage a “corporate takeover” of politics. This, he reasoned, was the opposite of Brown‘s “opening up” of the school system.
Another noteworthy comment from the conference’s first half came from former “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones. Jones, who was forced to resign when his connections to 9/11 conspiracy theorists were exposed, suggested that the country’s economic woes are due to the fact that “normal” Americans are not getting their fair share of the growing GDP. “The pie is bigger every year,” he said, “it’s just your slice that’s smaller.”
He then proceeded to put on a spectacular show of denial regarding the country’s trillions of dollars in debt and its growing spending problem when he announced, “America is not broke; America was robbed and somebody has our money.” Exactly who this “somebody” is, Jones did not specify.