First off, let me say that I adore Jon Stewart. My life is truly richer since we broke down and ordered a satellite package that would bring him back into our lives on a daily basis. In fact, on vacation, my daughter (another devoted fan of his) and I not only watched “The Daily Show” each day but took advantage of my father-in-law’s cable modem to watch all the interviews we’d missed (pre-satellite dish) that are archived on the “The Daily Show” website.
But here’s the enabler part — and the realization comes from Jon Stewart himself. Last night, interviewing Jon, Larry King asked him: “Who in this administration fascinates you the most?”:
“STEWART: The American people for their just utter patience. And everybody, it just seems like I just don’t know what it’s going to take. What else, you know, there is this whole — my mind has been blown just so consistently by this administration’s insistence on their own competence without ever sort of delivering kind of any sort of evidence to that. I think at this point everybody just kind of rolls their eyes like, ah, those guys are at it again.”
Then King asked him if he was happy that the American political scene (on both sides of the aisle) was so bizarre these days because it was such fodder for political comedy. Here’s Jon’s answer:
“STEWART: Yes, I prefer not the fodder. I’m not — we’re not the guys at the craps table betting against the line. I would — we’d make fun of something else. If public life, if government suddenly became inspiring and moved towards people’s better nature and began to solve problems in a rational way rather than just a way that involved political dividends, we would be the happiest people in the world to turn our attention to idiots like, you know, media people, no offense.”
(You can read the transcript of the interview here: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0602/27/lkl.01.html)
Well, writing this, I realize “the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” And that’s why — off his show — Jon Stewart is quick to take us all to task for what we’re not doing, what we’re not demanding of our leaders. So in a sense, Jon is enabling me to sit back and laugh at a crazy world, but he’s not making me sit back and do nothing. The answer, as always, is to get out there and “be the change you want to see” (Gandhi).
But it’s still comforting to know that America’s great wits have always despaired of politicians:
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.” Mark Twain
“I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.” Will Rogers