Rallying With John

John Stewart is a very funny guy, clearly has a point of view but dishes it out to both sides.  John may also be a brilliant politician.  He senses the middle.  Maybe he met conservatives he actually liked.  Maybe one or two conservative ideas are sifting about in John’s head.  It happened to Dennis Miller.  Maybe John’s being pulled to a belief that not only can we reach a functional middle based on mutual compromise; he contends we already do it every day. 

John Stewart, fake news? Not even close.  Stewart asks the President questions no one named Katie, Brian or Diane would.  His frustration may come from a different place than mine, but John had the spine to ask, in effect; “So, do we have a failure here or what?”  It’s less about “dude” than a comprehensively uncomfortable President confronted by his rational base! 

Favorite Sign: Civil is Sexy

Favorite Live Moment:  Making a point about diversity they had crowd members “count off”, #4 insured that John knew she was single, John responded with “I’m 47 and married”.  The young girl’s response; “That’s, OK, I’ll take it”.  Oops! 

Mr. Colbert seemed uncomfortable in the role of the comic foil.  The “Fear Bunker”?  Sam Waterson made a clever, humorous argument for the role of government. 

John’s key points: “amplify everything and we hear nothing”. “We work together every day, all different kinds of us, we make small compromises, we get things done; everyday!”  Despite some tortured attempts to illustrate the points; on these points it is easy to agree with John in general context.  But, we also have the automatic subtext homage to multi-culturalism and intellectual relativism; much, much harder to agree with. 

Was this political?  Of course it was, but it was positively so.  People peacefully assembled to express a point of view, hear opinion and be entertained.  John to his credit and as a nod of sorts reminded the crowd to clean the place up, “leave it cleaner than you found it”.  Can’t let those Tea Party folks see piles of trash in tomorrow’s paper, as if!  See, good example does have impact.

If the evolution of John’s instincts is a genuine, intellectually honest effort to define the middle from the left; salute the effort.  Would it be a positive circumstance if we could rely on a civil, informed and fundamentally centrist place from which to progress?  Some number of fundamental ideas, agreed to and beyond internecine conflict would indeed be a good place from which to wage future battles in the war of ideas. 

If John’s points is that extremes provoke ugly reactions he’s right, but if we’re going to deal with extremism, all the extremes have to be on the table.  That very idea demands a definition as a starting point.  This is a definition we’ve been unable to find so far, along with any sundry collection of other definitions and facts beyond agreement.

But, we should try!