Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal has ably deconstructed the left’s “prayer-shaming” during and after the San Bernardino terror attack. The left’s hostility to religion is nothing new, and this is not the first time leftists have exploited death to push for gun control.
Yet rarely have leftists been so bold in their contempt for the faithful, and the dying. It is true that Hillary Clinton opened the floodgates by tweeting immediately about gun control. But another reason for the left’s hysteria is the absence of Jon Stewart.
Stewart often mixed his comedy with left-wing agitprop on the Daily Show. But he also knew that there were limits, and he would occasionally shame Democrats who crossed the line.
With Stewart off the air, there is less of that fear now.
He also shaped how a whole generation of Americans understands politics, and the country in which they live. As Noonan says: “I suspect part of the problem is that a number of the progressive finger-pointers do not really know what a prayer is. Maybe no one ever told them.”
Stewart knows better: there are real, even admirable, convictions behind some of what he does–but many of his fans do not. He read the news, and told jokes about it; but they got their news from the jokes.
And that is how they understand the faith of their fellow Americans: as a second-hand punchline. They actually need Stewart as a moral guide. Stripped of the humor, what is left of their worldview is a crude adolescent contempt for grown-ups–a contempt he encouraged, but also knew how to limit.
Were he still on the air, one can imagine liberals holding their fire until seeing what Stewart had to say. He would have mocked Republicans for resisting gun control, but also ripped Democrats for tweeting about it while the bodies were still warm.
Trevor Noah (who opted for a lame hit on Ted Cruz) cannot play the same role because his understanding of America is just as shallow as that of his audience.
Liberals miss Jon Stewart–and, given the hurt they are causing, conservatives should, too.