Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Keystone XL Pipeline: Is Van Jones Playing Prophet Nathan to President Obama's King David? (Video)

Through his Rebuild the Dream organization, environmental activist Van Jones seems to be playing the prophet Nathan to President Obama's David on matters of climate change. Jones says in the video above that if President Obama continues to support the Keystone XL Pipeline, then the president should rename it "The Obama Tar Sands Pipeline." Clearly Jones is disappointed in President Obama who he has staunchly supported in the past, even falling on his sword and resigning from his post as Green Czar when the Right attacked during the president's first term.

Reminding viewers of President Obama's promise to finds solutions to climate change made in his inaugural speech and warning that the pipeline has the potential to destroy water and farmland, Jones attacks three myths surrounding the project. Jones says the following:
  • The pipeline is not moving oil, but tar; therefore it is not simply another oil pipeline. If the pipeline leaks, we will not be able to clean up the land. He cites the tar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River as evidence.
  • The pipeline will not make America oil-independent because a Chinese company is involved, and it has not said it plans to give any of the oil produced to the United States. He ask the question, "Why won't the Canadians let the pipeline go through Canada?" He answers that the Canadians have seen the damage of spills and don't want it.
  • Although supporters of the pipeline says the pipeline will create jobs, Jones points out that it will only create 35 permanent jobs and about 35 hundred temporary jobs. Is it worth potentially ruining vast sections of American countryside?
I started this post by mentioning Nathan and David of the Bible because I see some parallels here, mainly due to Jones's relationship with President Obama: Jones is not an Obama critic. In the Bible story, King David of Israel was greatly beloved by the nation and by God. However, he takes that love for granted and abuses his power when he commits adultery with Bathsheba, a woman he sees bathing. When Bathsheba becomes pregnant by David while her husband Uriah is away at war, David, seeking to cover up his sin, sends Uriah to the front lines where he is likely to be killed and Uriah dies.

Later the prophet Nathan confronts King David and tells him a story about a rich and unjust man who steals from a poor man. David is appalled and says such a man should die. Nathan tells David that he is the man in the story, and then he tells him that because of what David's deeds, his entire household will suffer.

I'm not saying that this is what will happen in our real-life situation with President Obama (the error here not being unfaithfulness to a wife but unfaithfulness to the people), but I hear an echo nonetheless. In King David's story, however, the prophet Nathan handed down a judgment after the fact. In our current situation, the activist Jones is looking ahead at a potential disaster he wants the president to avoid. He is warning a president to not break his word to the people regarding the environment or there will be bad consequences.

I don't think David's story would have come to my mind if Jones was not usually such a strong supporter of President Obama as Nathan was said to be of David. Jones warning Obama is another case of a friend trying to tell a more powerful friend the truth. Will the president listen?

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