|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Lord of the Rings - The Right Side of History|
Note that there was a brief introduction to this clip here. And a followup here. But this was easily the best. And there were a couple of things I wanted to say about it...
First, that Shep Smith is too good for Fox 'News.' He's absolutely right that Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to civil rights (when it comes to everything, I'd say). And this isn't the only comment he's made that makes sense. Really, he's much too good for Fox, don't you think?
But secondly, even Fox 'News' evolves. Gay marriage has gone from leading to turtle orgies to Democrats simply pandering to what's popular. Well, I don't know how "popular" gay marriage is among average voters, but America has come a long way.
And we've seen this before. Remember "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? That went from being an abomination on the right (since conservatives wanted too root out homosexuality in our military like McCarthy era crazies focused on rooting out communists) to becoming the right-wing position itself, just a few years later, when the rest of us finally decided that the sexual orientation of our soldiers wasn't any of our business.
We do progress, and when it comes to gay rights, we're progressing remarkably quickly. I'm sure it doesn't feel that way to gay people, but this is fast compared to almost any other cultural change. And even the right-wing has been dragged forward a bit (kicking and screaming all the way).
Speaking of dragging the right-wing along with us, how many conservatives these days fight against racial integration? How many want to go back to separate water fountains? Heck, how many want to ban interracial marriage? That's what they might still think, but it's certainly not what they say - not their leaders, anyway.
And that's been a huge advance, too. Jon Stewart's interview with Robert Caro, in this same show, talks about Lyndon B. Johnson's efforts to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed state-sponsored segregation. Johnson certainly had his faults, but I have to give him a lot of credit for that.
Conservatives, especially from the South - which was solidly Democratic back then - were bitterly opposed to racial civil rights back then, even more than they're opposed to gay rights now. Johnson's stance was politically unpopular, but he did the right thing, anyway.
Well, the Democratic Party suffered greatly for that, but their sacrifice was one of the best things they could have done for America. The GOP cynically took advantage of it, deliberately wooing white racists in their "Southern strategy" and quickly capturing the entire South. And America has suffered for decades because of the political power the right-wing gained.
Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do. America needed to become a free nation for all, not just for white men. And even conservatives - most of them - recognize that now. At the very least, they give lip service to it. We dragged them forward, kicking and screaming, and we'll do the same when it comes to gay marriage.
Republicans are again on the wrong side of history, and are again trying to take advantage of bigots. If they win, we'll suffer greatly. But if progressives don't take a stand, we'll never progress. Sometimes, it takes courage to do what's right.
Lyndon B. Johnson did that in 1964, and Barack Obama has done it now. Johnson wasn't perfect, and neither is Obama. The Democrats might well pay a political price in both cases. But as much as the Democrats frustrate me sometimes, I've got to give them a lot of credit for things like this.
And I would be horribly embarrassed to be a Republican.