Jon Stewart is currently promoting The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History, which is why he’s been giving interviews in the wake of the election. Jon is more than a year past the end of his Daily Show hosting job, and… it shows. Personally, I think he’s sort of lost his edge, his anger, his desire to call out bulls—t as he sees it. Maybe it’s his age, or maybe he’s just tired of all the yelling, but Jon has been doing a lot of normalizing the past few weeks. In his first interview post-election, Jon tried to claim that Trump voters weren’t racist, and that many of them were just, like, concerned about their health insurance. Which rang hollow, and I said so. It makes me sick to listen to all of this paternalistic white guys try to patronizingly tell the rest of us not to worry, that we’ll all be fine, that we’re still “great,” when there are violent racists and homophobes and misogynists targeting the people who are not cisgendered, white, heterosexual men. So, that’s where we are. A few days ago, Jon participated in a talk with the New York Times and he doubled-down on this idea that Trump voters are not racists, and more. You can read THR’s full coverage here. Some highlights:
Satirists don’t have any real power: “I think of one of the lessons of this book and what we’re talking about is to put satire and culture in its proper place — that controlling a culture is not the same as power. And that while we were all passing around really remarkably eviscerating videos of the Tea Party ― that we had all made great fun of ― [they were] sitting off a highway at a Friendly’s taking over a local school board. And the lesson there is, as much as I love what we did and I liked it, there is a self-satisfaction there that is unwarranted, unearned and not useful.”
He doesn’t believe the mainstream media outlets “caused” Trump’s win: “Trump didn’t happen because CNN sucks. CNN just sucks. He happened because that’s the push and pull of this nation at all times. It’s a push and pull between nativism and a more inclusive multi-cultural approach. It’s a country that writes in its founding document all men are created equal but only white men who own property can vote. That’s the earliest contradiction, and we’ve been fighting that battle ever since.”
Trump voters are not racists: “Not everybody that voted for Trump is a racist. I don’t give a f— what any of you say to me. You can yell it at me, you can tweet it at me. They’re not all racists. Or they’re not giving tacit support to a racist system. We all give tacit support to exploitative systems as long as they don’t affect us that badly.” He pointed to the many people who own iPhones as an example of his point. “Guess how those are made, guess who makes them? … It’s not different, we all do that. All of our sh-t stinks and getting beyond that takes incredible work. This has to stop. This idea that we’re all … that our team is perfect and the other team is demons. And this is not like a Kumbaya, let’s all get along. Let’s f—ing fight, but let’s fight with precision and integrity, and not with just demonization. And I’ll say this, I know a lot of first responders. I spent a lot of time in that community. A sh-t load of them voted for Trump. The same people that voted for Trump ran into burning buildings and saved whoever the f— they could no matter what color they were, no matter what religion and they would do it again tomorrow. So, if you want to sit and tell me that those people are giving tacit approval to an exploitative system ― I say, ‘OK, and would you put your life on the line for people who aren’t like you? Because they did.’”
There will still be an America even after Trump: “We’re still the same country. Obama didn’t change and fix everything, and Trump can’t ruin everything. If we’re that vulnerable to one guy… That guy? That’s how we’re going out? This incredible experiment in liberty and democracy that we fought and died for is going to go out with that guy? That can’t be how this story ends.”
I’m just so tired of this. Do I believe that every Trump voter is some rabid, white-hood-wearing racist douchebag? Of course not. But I believe every person who voted for Donald Trump did so despite the fact that he was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan. Every Trump voter supported him despite what he said about women and what he himself admitted to doing to women. Every Trump voter should have known what he said about Mexicans, about Muslims, about the handicapped and more. And if those Trump supporters are first responders or veterans, I thank them for their service and bravery… and I still think they’re awful for supporting a racist, misogynist con man. The answer isn’t to shrug and say, “well, every system is exploitative.” Not when you’re looking fascism in the bloated orange face.
Photos courtesy of WENN.