The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart delivered an emotional and brutally honest monologue following the shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Instead of the usual jokes, Stewart spoke passionately, powerfully, and provocatively about America’s disparity of response to racial and terrorist attacks. This, is a must listen (transcript found below).
Will mass killings someday be unremarkable enough in America that politicians feel comfortable ignoring them entirely? –The Economist
Sadly, we all know that mass killings in America have become increasingly common and have not led to any changes in policy. Even President Obama’s underlying comment about the Charleston shooting is that he has “had to make responses like this too many times.”
Mr. Stewart also addressed the Confederate flag, which continued to fly at full staff on the grounds of South Carolina’s Statehouse hours after the shooting. Not to mention “the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from being able to drive freely on that road.”
Overall, Jon Stewart expressed hopelessness about racism in America, concluding, “by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack sh*t. Yeah. That’s us.”
Here’s a complete transcript of Stewart’s impassioned speech tackling race, terrorism, and gun violence:
I honesty have nothing other than just sadness once again that 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.
And I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack s—. Yeah. That’s us.
And that’s the part that blows my mind. I don’t want to get into the political argument of the guns and things. But what blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and us killing ourselves.
If this had been what we thought was Islamic terrorism, it would fit into our — we invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over five or six different countries, all to keep Americans safe. We got to do whatever we can. We’ll torture people. We gotta do whatever we can to keep Americans safe.
Nine people shot in a church. What about that? “Hey, what are you gonna do? Crazy is as crazy is, right?” That’s the part that I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my head around, and you know it. You know that it’s going to go down the same path. “This is a terrible tragedy.” They’re already using the nuanced language of lack of effort for this. This is a terrorist attack. This is a violent attack on the Emanuel Church in South Carolina, which is a symbol for the black community. It has stood in that part of Charleston for 100 and some years and has been attacked viciously many times, as many black churches have.
I heard someone on the news say “Tragedy has visited this church.” This wasn’t a tornado. This was a racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater. You know, so the idea that — you know, I hate to even use this pun, but this one is black and white. There’s no nuance here.
And we’re going to keep pretending like, “I don’t get it. What happened? This one guy lost his mind.” But we are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it, and I cannot believe how hard people are working to discount it.
In South Carolina, the roads that black people drive on are named for Confederate generals who fought to keep black people from being able to drive freely on that road. That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper. That’s — that’s — you can’t allow that, you know.
Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some kind of civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals, and the white guy’s the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him.
We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing. Al Qaeda, all those guys, ISIS, they’re not s— compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.