You know the nation’s conscience is on fire when comedians have a hard time telling jokes for television shows and instead rupture their troubled hearts into the camera — frustrated, exacerbated, and largely speechless.
Following the failure of yet another grand jury to indict a white police officer for the death of another unarmed black man, “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart struggled through a segment intended to present the news with humor, but the breaking story of Eric Garner’s murderer walking free despite video evidence that shows the entire murder, unlike the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, proved too much for Stewart.
I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what to say. If comedy is tragedy plus time, I need more f*cking time. But I would really settle for less f*cking tragedy, to be honest with you.
It’s that old powerful and beautiful slogan from the 60s coming back to ignite America once again:
There comes a time when the operation of the machine is so odious…
And odious it is – so odious that Stewart had to stop it. He had to place himself on the gears and the wheels of his own show to say something, and while some publications such as Salon may choose to slam him for his increasingly serious talks, the truth is he should be commended for it, for saying what so many of us are aching with in our bones, what so many of us know to be true, because we live it day in and day out. And the truth is, America is lucky it is not burning to the ground.
Stewart went on to say:
I mean, maybe, to look at the bright side, we’re about to save ourselves a sh*tload of money on cop camera vests, but damn. We are definitely not living in a post-racial society. And I can imagine there’s a lot of people out there wondering how much of a society we’re living in at all.
Entirely frustrated and befuddled by it all, Stewart then threw his hands up in the air and yelled:
Stewart closed his segment by wondering if we are a society at all.
Societies are supposed to be based on being “civilized” and I am frustrated, too. We all are. But when you take into account the impossibility of the multifarious perspectives out there, it truly is amazing that in the wake of such racial tragedies as we’ve been through so frequently lately, accounting also for the fact that these things have been happening since Plymouth rock landed. . . well, you know where, don’t you? It’s amazing this country isn’t burning down, and perhaps that is a testament to what little scrap of civility we do possess. Perhaps it is at least a sign that Stewart can take heart in, that we all can take heart in – that as little civility as we do possess, it’s just enough to keep the whole sh*thouse from going up in flames, as Jim Morrison used to say.
While we all struggle with heartache, outrage, defiance, and open wounds in the wake of all these senseless, racist murders, let us do our best to not lose sight of what we need to do in order to change the future, in order to ensure that our minds and hearts change in a manner that will keep this from happening time and again. It is inside us all where change needs to happen, so much more than the streets. Only from within will we change our society, our police, our government, and the systemic racism that results in white officers murdering our young, unarmed black men time and again, only to be able to walk away and live long, fruitful lives of their own.
It is much easier to stop the machine once we all realize that we are the parts and gears that make it up.