It’s good to see some clear headed thinking from some people on the left.
In a moment of intellectual honesty, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart appeared on CBS This Morning Thursday and argued against labeling all Trump supporters as racists, saying it creates an anti-liberal “monolith” of voters.
Speaking with Charlie Rose, Stewart agreed that America needs to have a conversation about “who we are” as a country, but said that needs to happen with open discussion, not “dog whistles,” which means speaking in codes.
“I would rather have this conversation openly and honestly than in dog whistles,” Stewart said. “You know, somebody was saying, ‘There might be an anti-Semite that is working in the White House.’ I was like, have you listened to the Nixon tapes? Like, forget about advising the president – the president. Like, have you read LBJ? Do you know our history?”
On the issue characterizing Trump voters as racists, Stewart cautioned against that, because it creates a “monolith,” something he says liberals supposedly hate, especially on ethnic and religious grounds.
“We also have to caution ourselves to the complexity of that history,” he said. “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 who I love, I respect, that I think have incredible qualities – that 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,” Stewart continued. “Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith. They are 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. And so that is the fight that we wage against ourselves and against each other because 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 ever [has]. That is what is exceptional about America. This ain’t easy and that’s an incredible thing.”
Stewart’s sincerity may be genuine, but as is always true of his modus operandi, he fails to acknowledge the part he played in creating this climate through his constant labeling of conservatives – or creating “monoliths” if he prefers to call it that – as racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes during his tenure on The Daily Show. Pick a monolith: blacks, latinos, women, muslims, gays; Stewart pandered to them all like an auctioneer at Sotheby’s.
To quote Stewart himself: “Don’t fart and point at the dog.”