03:01 - Source: CNN
Van Jones: 'Both parties kinda suck'

Story highlights

Democrats and Republicans need to take a look in the mirror, Van Jones says

"We have to do better" about disagreeing with each other on issues, he says

“The Messy Truth,” a special program hosted by Van Jones, airs at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday on CNN.

CNN —  

It’s been one month since the historic US election, and Van Jones wants the country to come together. But first he wants to explain “The Messy Truth” about the political climate in the United States.

Jones began his first live TV special, “The Messy Truth,” on CNN on Tuesday night with what could be described as a cold dose of reality.

“It feels nearly impossible to have a productive conversation with ‘the other side’,” he said. “We are still acting like one side is always right and one side is always wrong.”

Van Jones: The messy truth about the gulf between Trump and Clinton voters

An outspoken Democrat who once was President Barack Obama’s environmental adviser, Jones admits he is guilty of such behavior as well.

But at some point, he said, “We have got to do better.”

Jones said both parties need to take a long look in the mirror. Why? “Because right now, they both kind of suck,” he said.

“At our best we (Democrats) are the champions of America’s downtrodden working folks. But it’s also true that some very obnoxious elitism has found a home in our party. Democrats have gotten so used to saying stuff like ‘red state voters are stupid’ that we don’t even get how stuck up and terrible that sounds to anybody with good sense. That elitist attitude may have cost us the Rust Belt. And this election.” Jones said, pointing to the states that Hillary Clinton lost in Donald Trump’s upset win.

He also gave his take on “The Messy Truth” about the Republican Party. “(Republicans) are the party of colorblind individual merit. That sounds great. But as much as Republicans hate to admit it, some nasty strains of some bigotry and some bias, including some actually scary white supremacists, have found a home in their party. And they don’t seem to want to acknowledge that or even confront it in a serious way.”

It may be easy to try to blanket both parties with general statements, but Jones said, “I am not saying that every Democrats is an elitist. And I am certainly not saying that every Republican is bigoted. Far from it. I’m saying something else. I’m saying: Neither major political party today seems to truly respect all Americans. In fact, both parties seem to disrespect an awful lot of Americans, an awful lot of the time. That is no longer a partisan problem. That is now an American problem.”

It is normal to have some disagreements with your friends and family when it comes to politics, Jones said, but he called into question how we’re handling such disputes with one another.

“Disagreement is good! In a dictatorship everybody has to agree. In a democracy, nobody has to agree. It’s called freedom. That’s the whole point of America,” Jones said.

“The Messy Truth” is a trademark of Magic Labs Media, LLC. All rights reserved.