jon stewart

jon stewart is a funny man, but he's also a patriot. that's how he comes across. he makes wise cracks and jokes and bad presidential impersonations, but at the end of the day, he is a man who genuinely cares for his country.

bill moyers did a recent interview with jon, discussing everything from his role as a news provider / social commentator, to the violence at virginia tech and how that type of carnage is a daily aspect of life in iraq, to the role of the media and how cowed the media had appeared to be in the face of the bush administration and the war.

the most interesting part for me was the section where jon talks about the disconnect between the message and the reality of the iraq war. george bush says that the war on terror, specifically the iraq war, is the fight for the american way of life, that if iraq is lost, then so too goes the beginnings of freedom and american life. jon questions why, if it is the fight of their lives, does the president only want to send in a ten percent increase in troops? he suggests that the president would probably like to send in 400,000 troops, but they don't exist, and the only way to get those numbers would be to install the draft and that's when people will wake up and fight back against the administration. so the only recourse for the administration is to keep the american people relatively fearful, but not so fearful that the american people take a break from their busy, daily lives to really examine what the government is doing.

jon is absolutely right. there is a disconnect, and this touches upon the larger reality of how important is this war on terror? during the second world war, citizens were asked to really sacrifice. to buy war bonds, to hand in luxury goods so the soldiers can have silk for their parachutes and the weapons they needed. a plane was made every hour. the whole country was geared to the war. the war on terror, however, doesn't effect the average person on any real level. it effects the troops, the families and friends of the troops, but most citizens are able to go about their daily lives without even so much as a hiccup.

this is something i'd been wrestling with for a while now with regards to canada's role in the war on terror, and how in afghanistan we've been fighting to keep the terrorists at bay, but back at home, it hasn't really effected me one bit. my biggest worry is passing a financial exam, not whether we lose in afghanistan, let alone the war on terror (which, by the way, you cannot win through the military. it can only be won through the police, intelligence, and government policies). i would go so far as to say that while i understand the sacrifice our troops are making, hard as i try, i can't relate to any of it. war is not what i was taught to believe it to be. the purest experience of war that i and most canadians have witnessed is through the movies, which has its pros and cons.

any rate, that discussion is a post in and of itself, and for another time. what the bill moyers interview shows is that jon stewart cares. strip away the labels, and what you get is a citizen that truly and deeply cares about his country. he's motivated by a social conscience, not greed or power, which is why he is more of a patriot than george bush can ever be.

here is the first few minutes of the interview. it's definitely worth checking out. watch the entire show here on the pbs website.