Last night Jon Stewart returned to send a direct message to Donald Trump on the Late Show with his friend Stephen Colbert. It was a vintage Stewart performance, and a much needed boost to the resistance that is reeling from a series of horrendous developments in Trump's non-stop war on civil society.
“Hello, Donald. It’s me, the guy you made sure everyone knew was Jewish on Twitter,” he began, referring to his online feud with the president.
“I know you’re upset about all the criticism you’ve been taking in the ‘fake news’ and the ‘fake late-night shows.’ It’s just that we’re still having a little trouble adjusting to your presidency as it goes into its 500th year.”
“Everything’s off its axis, it’s a little unusual,” he went on. “Apparently, Putin and Kim Jong Un are noble, intelligent role models, and Canada’s a bunch of giant a**holes.“
"If there’s one hallmark to your presidency that I think we’re finding most difficult, it’s that, no matter what you do, it always comes with an extra layer of gleeful cruelty and dickishness.”
“It’s not just that you don’t want people taking a knee, it’s that they’re sons of bitches if they do,” Stewart said, to rapturous applause. “It’s not just denying women who accuse you of sexual assault, it’s saying they were too ugly anyway. You can’t just be against the media, they’re ‘enemies of the people.’”
“It’s not even partisan. Anyone in the Republican Party dare speak against you, they also must be humiliated, even if they have a terminal disease,” he continued, referring to John McCain.
Stewart then brought up Trump's immigration policy. “Boy, you f**ked that up,” he said plainly.
“You could have absolutely made a more stringent border policy that would have made your point about enforcement,” he went on. “But I guess it wouldn’t have felt right without a Dickensian level of villainy.” Instead, said Stewart, Trump “casually separated people seeking asylum from their children, from babies.”
Then, Stewart appealed to Trump business acumen in order to make a deal. He concluded that despite the 24/7 praise from Fox News, his extraordinary wealth, and his sycophants him treating him like a dictator, Trump could not be talked into any acts of human empathy.
"Clearly, we're not going to be able to negotiate or shame you into decency," Stewart said. "But there is one place where I draw the line. I won't allow you or your super fans to turn your cruelty into virtue."
"What Donald Trump wants is for us to stop calling his cruelty, and fear and divisiveness wrong," he went on. "But to join him in calling it right. This will not do. By not yielding we will prevail."
While many on the left are reaching the end of their tolerance for Trump's war on human decency, Stewart is right -- the only way Trump wins is when the left concedes defeat. This means we cannot yield anywhere -- not on the economy, not on health care, not on his goddamn wall, not on immigration, not on his Supreme Court pick, and not on his non-stop lies. Resistance means resisting, no matter how bad it gets, and Trump needs to understand very clearly that the left will cede no ground to him. It cannot stop until Trump and his disgusting party have been completely destroyed, incinerated from the ground up, and tossed into the rubbish heap of history where it belongs. As former Republican strategist turned Democrat Steve Schmidt said recently in an interview with Rolling Stone, The party of Trump must be obliterated. Annihilated. Destroyed. And all of the collaborators, the complicit enablers, the school of cowards, need to go down."
If it isn't, then reality loses and we must continue to live in Trump's twisted bizarro world where lies become truths and cruelty becomes decency. Reality will always win in the end, but victory must come soon because the United States cannot take much more of this madness.
“Reality has an interesting way of coming up and biting you, and the other side has been peddling a lot of stuff that is so patently untrue that you can get away with it for a while," President Obama said yesterday at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.
"But at a certain point, you confront reality. The Democrats’ job is not to exaggerate; the Democrats’ job is not to simply mimic the tactics of the other side. All we have to do is work hard on behalf of that truth. And if we do, we’ll get better outcomes.”
So as Jon Stewart urged conscientious Americans to do, keep resisting and refusing to be bowed, and keep fighting for what we know to be reality. It is the only way.