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Culture & Religion

Jon Stewart’s Reaction to the Election Is Spot-On, If Just a Bit … Optimistic

In a recent CBS News interview, Jon Stewart lays out some fascinating thinking about Trump, how we got here, and what we all need to do to keep the country working as best it can.

Jon Stewart is back from his hiatus, but not in the way that we’d all hoped; instead, he’s promoting his new book, an oral history about Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and the sixteen years he spent there. 

Stewart sat down recently with CBS News host Charlie Rose to talk about his book, and specifically, about the election and where it leaves us.

Interestingly, Stewart said that he did not believe the election indicated a fundamental change in who we are as Americans.

I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago,” he explained. “The same country with all its grace and flaws, and volatility, and insecurity, and strength, and resilience exists today as existed two weeks ago. The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama.

While acknowledging for some, this election means more uncertainty and insecurity and that he felt badly for those people, he specifically called out Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — members of the very swamp that Trump is supposed to drain. 

The ultimate irony of this election is the cynical strategy of the Republicans, which is: ‘Our position is government doesn’t work. We’re going to make sure that it doesn’t work.’

And now, of course, they ARE the government. The worm turns. 

He continued:

Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats, [but] to Republicans; he is not a Republican. He is a repudiation of Republicans.

Stewart didn’t go lightly on Democrats and Liberals, however — specifically, the desire of some on the left to brand everyone who voted for Trump as racist.

I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points. But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric. There are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith — ‘Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith.’ They are the individuals and it would be ignorance. But ‘Everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist.’ That hypocrisy is also real in our country.

But, ending on a positive note, he talked about what makes our country really great — and that Trump never defined what “Make America Great Again” really meant.  

Stewart has his own ideas on that. 

What makes us great, is: America is an anomaly in the world … his candidacy has animated that thought — that a multi-ethnic democracy is impossible.

America is not natural. Natural is tribal. We’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something that no one’s ever done. That’s what’s exceptional about America. This ain’t easy … it’s an incredible thing.

Watch the interview — which will be continued next week — here: 


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