After a night and day of horror and loss in Charleston, SC, "The Daily Show" aired, and there was nothing funny to say.
The Daily Show has made me laugh for many years. I'm not even a rabid fan! At times, I think the show makes very difficult issues so palatable that people digest and forget them, feeling as though they've taken action just by watching. But sometimes laughing about those difficult issues can help people engage with them more.
In a heartfelt monologue, Jon Stewart spoke to his audience about why he didn't want to make anyone laugh. After a racist white gunman opened fire on 9 black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, what is there to say that we can smile about? Outlets like Fox have tried to spin the massacre as a war on Christians, refusing to acknowledge it as the racist hate crime it is. The Daily Show may be largely satirical, but last night Stewart told the honest truth:
“I honestly have nothing other than sadness that once again we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal yet we pretend doesn't exist. I'm confident though that by acknowledging it—by staring into it—we still won't do jack shit. That's us. And that's the part that blows my mind…What blows my mind is the disparity of response. When we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves…We invade two countries and spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over like five or six different counties, all to keep Americans safe. We've got to do whatever we can—we'll torture people. We've got to do whatever we can to keep Americans safe. But nine people shot in a church— 'Hey, what are you going go to do? Crazy is as crazy is, right?' That's the part that, for the life of me, I can't wrap my head around. And you know it's going to go down the same path.”
There's more and it's worth a watch. Hopefully, it won't go down too easy.