Jon Stewart’s Closing Remarks

On this election day it’s good to review Jon Stewart’s closing remarks at his Rally to Restore Sanity.

And now I thought we might have a moment, however brief, for some sincerity. If that’s okay – I know that there are boundaries for a comedian / pundit / talker guy, and I’m sure that I’ll find out tomorrow how I have violated them.
So, uh, what exactly was this? I can’t control what people think this was: I can only tell you my intentions.
This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear–they are, and we do.
But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.
The country’s 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.
There are terrorists, and racists, and Stalinists, and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned! You must have the resume! Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult–not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.
The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker–and, perhaps, eczema. And yet… I feel good. Strangely, calmly, good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us, through a funhouse mirror–and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist, and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead, and an ass shaped like a month-old pumpkin, and one eyeball.
So why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle, to a pumpkin-assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable–why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution, and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?
We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!
But Americans don’t live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done–not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.
Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.
(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That’s a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he’s going to work. There’s another car, a woman with two small kids, can’t really think about anything else right now… A lady’s in the NRA, loves Oprah. There’s another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.
But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear–often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers’. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.
And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. ‘Oh my God–is that an NRA sticker on your car?’ ‘Is that an Obama sticker on your car?’ It’s okay–you go, then I go.
And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!
Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land.
Sometimes, it’s just New Jersey.






Filed under BevnTempe

27 responses to “Jon Stewart’s Closing Remarks

  1. Well here we are at the mid-terms! Wait and see day, I hate it!

  2. Moe

    Should be required reading in every civics class.

    Hey Brian!

  3. Dooty

    so if I had a tooth ache would I go to a dentist that has not been to school to study dentistry? No! if I had need for a plumber would I actively search for person that has never dealt with those issues? No! Then how is it that a lot of people seem to think that electing a bunch of un-experienced people to become part of a group of citizens they don’t like very well will be the right thing to do? These same people that want less government now want to be part of the government. I am confused.

    • dnd

      Just got back from voting. One of my neighbors was working at the polling place. I asked her how the turnout was so far. She said it was really heavy in the early morning and pretty steady since then. They expect heavy turnout this evening.

      I was happy to hear this. I like it when people take their civic duty seriously. I also hope this portends for the cable talking heads sheeple to be oh-so-wrong on this election.

      • dnd

        Well it appears that KO still has his panties in a bunch over the Rally to Restore Sanity. Now KO is a smart guy, but he really blew it last night. First he derides Stewart’s “false equivalence” comparing him to the commentariat on Fox. He said he uses facts while Fox makes things up. Only problem is that Stewart never said they were equivalent. He merely showed a clip of all those who profit from their hyperbole and say “If you amplify everything, you hear nothing.” So the fact that KO made up the “false equivalence” lie only goes to put him in the Fox category. As if to concede even further, he’s decided to suspend his “worst person in the world” segment.

        I know that KO hates Stewart because Stewart likes to lampoon/expose him, but KO’s attack makes him look petty. And possibly like someone who’s been caught.

  4. dog's eye view

    Perfect choice.

    Today we vote.

    Tomorrow we work on public financing of campaigns. It would be great to see more compact, more meaningful campaigns, as in Britain.

    Our politico-celebrity-infotainment complex is out of whack and no longer serves the public.

    We need to fix it.

    And I can see anyone seriously working for public financing coming up against the DNC and those already milking the system.

    So be it.

  5. dog's eye view

    The amount of revenue flowing every election year and season to our corporately owned and controlled broadcast media (talking mostly TV and cable here) is a public shame.

    They are public airwaves.

    They should not be cash cows for their owners (who charge more for political advertising and have revenue-producing fourth quarters).

  6. So how is the mood out their this election night?

    • dnd

      “So how is the mood out their this election night?”

      Well, the Giants were expected to lose since June. I’m hoping that the press is as wrong about the election as they were about the winners of the World Series.

  7. TempeBev

    Just beginning to hear the results from the East. Yuck – Rand Paul? I may hurl if C. O’Donnell and S. Angle win.

    If they win, it will be interesting to see just how much power and influence they have taking back the government. Oh what a tangled web they weave.

  8. Rand was expected to win, I don’t think Angle is.

  9. dog's eye view

    8:13 p Eastern and I still have not cast my ballot on the other coast. Heading to my polling place now. I marked 40 — count them — 40 circles on my absentee ballot by mail (handing in in person), with all the initiatives, local measures, and judges, etc.

    Go Prop 19! And the redistricting commission! And down with big oil trying to stop our California clean air act!

    Rubio wins (thanks Kendrick Meek), O’Donnell loses, Rand Paul wins. Wondering if that Aqua Buddha commercial by Conway, which I have still not seen, backfired.

    I am hoping many pundits end up with some ‘splainin’ to do.

  10. Well we held on to Conn. in the Senate so far I don’t see a wave but it is early!

  11. Held WV, no way the repugs can take the Senate now!

  12. Well MSNBC just called the House for the GOP, deadlocked govt!

  13. I left this over at TM.

    Well Democrats did not turn out to vote and of course they will blame Obama because he wasn’t more progressive than they wanted.

    Instead of praising all the accomplishments that he got passed in the congress they complained that they didn’t go far enough or he didn’t pass everything he said he was going to pass.

    I saw this on several sites I read and it did not help Democrats at all in this election cycle and only aided the Republican agenda which was to block every bill brought to the floor. And those that did pass complain about them giving voice to the Republican meme about how bad they were.

    Everyone blames Obama for not getting out and explaining to the people about the bills and what they would do for the people. Instead we should have been constantly pushing back and informing people about all the good they would do.

    This Congress was the best and most productive Congress since LBJ, however to read the blogs one would think that the Democrats passed nothing of any importance to the people which diminished the accomplishments of this Congress and President.

    So now we have the Government that We Truly Deserve and it will destroy us in the long run.

    Have a good night, I’m going to bed.

  14. what’s the hold up on results out of Nevada?

  15. Too tightly wound you mean!

  16. Moe

    Both of em. Sestak just lost. Damn.

  17. Where did you hear that about Sestak? I haven’t heard anything yet.

  18. dog's eye view

    I am happy to live in California, where we look forward to Governor Jerry Brown and retaining Senator Barbara Boxer.

    Very sorry Tom Perriello lost in Virginia; he’s an excellent, principled guy and I hope he might join the Obama administration in some capacity. Surprised to hear that Rick Boucher, who’s represented a far southwest VA congressional district for years untold, also went down.

    Fingers still crossed for Harry Reid. Sharron Angle would give Jim Inhofe a run for his money on the lunatic fringe.

    (Plus I still want to go on the post-Xmas Vegas trip.)

    OK. As Anon said, we get the government we deserve.

  19. Yeah I just saw where NBC called Penn for the repugs, sucks!


  21. dog's eye view

    So glad Reid prevailed over Angle. She’s toxic waste.

    Waiting to see what happens with CO and Alaska Senate seats; also Washington state.

    Watching BBC America coverage at a friend’s house. So civilized. You could not pay me to watch CNN or even MSNBC tonight.

    C-Span got us a victory speech by Ross Johnson in Wisconsin, and muted that quickly.

    BBC America correspondents are all wearing Remembrance Day poppies. Is that today? Or they do it all week?

  22. I’m off to bed, night folks.

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