November 1, 2010
What Do You Want?
This paragraph from Michael Kazin sums up pretty well my own problem with Jon Stewart:
Civility is a fine and pleasant thing, but it has never inspired a serious political or social movement—or revived the fortunes of a president. Irony and satire can be potent modes of persuasion, but what do Stewart and Colbert’s liberal supporters want to persuade their fellow Americans to actually think or do? The Comedy Central duo has done a reasonable job highlighting what they think is wrong with our system of government, the people seeking to influence it, and the media covering it. But time spent by liberal rally-goers and Daily Show viewers complaining about how politics is conducted would be better spent deciding what issues to promote, fight for, and win. In a time of economic crisis and fears of national decline, it is not enough to make fun of the lies and sloppy thinking of the right. People need to engage in the political process to reform and push it forward, not agree that we’re all more reasonable than the media portray us and promise to behave civilly.
If we fight for "common sense" and "civility" and they fight for their policy goals, then they are going to win. We can be civil when we fight. No need to compare our opponents to Hitler, just because they do it to us. And I'm all for using as much humor and satire as we can lay our hands on.But we do need to fight for what we believe in. John Stewart's recommended course of action seems to be "stop the fighting." His attack on Crossfire, his moment of seriousness at the rally, it all comes down to stop the fighting. But "stop the fighting" can quickly turn into "stop fighting." It takes two to make this stop and I for one have no intention of laying down for the right to keep Jon Stewart mellow.