(Update: Well, the video has been taken down. Here’s the link to a copy.)
Bill Maher nails it on the ridiculous, insulting and just plain wrong assertion by the dynamic duo of comedy that there is any kind of equivalence between the extreme rhetoric and behavior of the “right” (er wrong) and the left.
No, Jon, there is no equivalence on the left to what has been going on during the past couple of years. None. This is not about young v old viewers. Many of the older people I know love Jon Stewart as much as younger people do. So do I. But Jon has, as Keith Olbermann said, jumped a small shark in his claim of false equivalence.
Let’s face it, most of us like good comedy. And I have often enjoyed The Daily Show or the rich satire in The Colbert Report. However, I am afraid that the so-called “Rally to Restore Sanity” was part of the problem. Indeed Stewart himself told Terry Gross that ” So it’s not – you know, people have said it’s a rally to counter Glenn Beck.” Many rally goers went specifically to rejoinder Glenn Beck.
Yet, the comedians want them and you to believe that both sides of the political aisle are equally wrong and equally to blame for what is wrong in America. That would be laughable if it were not so utterly untrue, unfair, and even manipulative. And it could only be suggested by those who purport to be aloof and “better than” those who have worked for decades to make this country a better place WITHIN partisan politics. Yet there is Stewart pretending to be above the fray, to be better than those standing up to the assaults, abuse and –let’s admit it–downright un-American behavior coming from even supposed mainstream Republicans this season.
An obviously satirical (listen to the joking way Keith delivers the closing of that segment, Jon) “Worst person in the world,” apparently, now history, does not equal Bill O’Reilly’s verbal attacks upon and sometimes abuse of his liberal targets. He has lead the way in showing wrong-wingers how to bully, harass and stalk those with whom they disagree. Is it any wonder that some of his minions e-stalk and harass online? And there is something wrong with that. Then there’s the pimp for wrong-wing violence, Glenn Beck. Over and over he impels his viewers to extreme violence-prone hate and then pretends to dial it back. He’s a piece of work. Read this article at Media Matters to see just how cleverly he does this so he can claim he’s not done anything wrong. But his listeners get the message between the lines.
“To the day I die, I am going to be a progressive hunter.” Telling his listeners that they “are going to learn so much on Friday,” Beck compared himself to “Israeli Nazi hunters” and commented: “I’m going to find these big progressives and, to the day I die, I’m going to be a progressive hunter.”
But those who cry foul in rightfully serious, or even stern, terms are supposed to be part of the problem, Stewart thinks? And he doesn’t think it makes all that much difference which way the pendulum swings? As Limbaugh daily spews racist demagoguery, Stewart professes equivalence? As Glenn Beck staged a fake poisoning of Nancy Pelosi, how can Stewart pretend there is any equivalence?
One campaign ad showing in my area lumps Rick Boucher together with Obama and then outrageously says, “they stole our money and now they’re taking our jobs.” This incitement is inexcusable. It is especially so given that it came from those wanting no re-regulation of Wall Street. Corporate America has off-shored us into oblivion. It and the Republicans fought incentives to keep jobs here–as recently as this spring. Democrats, and the President supported such incentives. And, so, we are left with pernicious, damnable lies. These same candidates want to ramp up the prison-for-profit industry, which we now know actually drafted the hateful, unconstitutional stop and search (where are your papers?) anti-immigrant bill 1070 in Arizona. It’s more violence against Americans (stopping and searching them, rounding them up if their “papers” aren’t handy, and stripping legitimate US citizens of their vote by the hundreds of thousands, under the same governor who ushered in 1070 (when she was Sec of State).
The GOP’s violent rhetoric and thuggery has grown.
• Angle had already threatened repeatedly “Second Amendment remedies” if she and her minions do not get their way. She lost, but is not talking no for an answer, so she’s sticking around.
• Sarah Palin tells her forces to “reload.”
• Bachmann urges her supporters to be “armed and dangerous.” Now she thinks that, through her intemperate and sometimes violent utterances, that she is now qualified to be the new majority whip!
• By now the nation has seen video of the Rand Paul county campaign coordinator knocking a women to the ground, stomping on her head, and giving her a concussion.
• Rand Paul, who threatens to shut down government and hold hostage all of America, is essentially threatening an assault on our entire democratic institutions. He also is waging violence upon Americans to strip them of their government representation, services, pensions, health care etc. People will starve and die if he makes good on shutting down the government longer this time. But he does not care. Ayn Rand, a tenth-rate novelist (not an economist) must be served. Indeed he doesn’t care if the US defaults upon its debt and that plunges the world into a depression.
• Joe Miller’s brownshirts illegally manhandled and detained a journalist.
• In Virginia a Democrat who RSVP’d to an Eric Can’t-or event was shoved to the ground squashed by a 300-pund bubba for buying a cup of coffee when a GOP event was going on in a coffee shop.
• GOP FL candidate Allen West hired a motorcycle gang to harass and bully a Democratic videographer at a public event.
• Carl Paladino threatened that he’d “take you out” to a reporter.
• Carl Paladino also wants the unemployed to be rounded up and sent to camps. (No doubt he has an interest in the property, his current gargantuan wealth not being enough to satisfy him.)
• And the same Carl Paladino brought a baseball bat, which he swung at his “concession speech,” to intimidate Democrats in Albana, and presumably elsewhere. Ann Coulter’s pathological instructing of her fans to talk to liberals “with baseball bats” lives on.
• Carly Fiorina used her position in HP to threaten, spy on and intimidate workers.
• Meg Whitman allegedly hid the immigration status of her home help, illegally employed her, underpaid her, and then made sure the woman got deported when the domestic worker reported how she’d been treated.
• A PA House candidate has alleged ties to the mob. To which, “How big a scandal does it take,” asked Mother Jones author, Kevin Drum, “to make a candidate unsuitable for Republicans to run?”
• One Texas Republican candidate for Congress calls for the violent overthrow the United States.
• And just today, there is a looming threat that Texas may withdraw from Medicaid, rendering all poor people without health care. That is threatening violence against human beings, which will surely bring death to any number of the poor in TX.
Things have gotten so bad that supposed mainstream Republicans do not even try to dial it back, but rather dial it up a notch. The stage was set for this intemperate season by when in 2008 Sarah Palin referred to who is “real America,” all the while, her husband belonged to a secessionist group! And in a modern twist, the prince of darkness, Darrell Issa, has his subpoena “machine” ready to put forth hundreds of “investigations” into false charges of wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration.
Jon Stewart’s pretense at “independence” is an affront to all who object to the negative forces at work in the attempted corporate takeover of America by any means necessary. The tasteless, hate-filled and violence-prone rhetoric of Republican candidates in this cycle tells us they will not stop until every program and issue we hold dear is decimated. It’s time to take a stand. And that stand was not and is not at any more rallies purporting false equivalence. No, Jon Stewart, we won’t “be OK” if the Palinites and Beckians take over in the future. How could you even imply that to Terry Gross?
We remember who they are and what they did to threaten, intimidate and lie to Americans. Even if you love him as so many of us do, let Stewart know that you know better. Let the rest of America know it too.