Jon Stewart's Confederate Flag Rant Will Convert Every Last Person Who Still Thinks It Should Be Flown — VIDEO
After online photos of the Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof showed him posing with the Confederate flag prior to what's being treated as a hate crime, conversation surrounding the flag's dark past has reignited across the country. A number of officials in states across the South, including South Carolina, have called for the flag to be removed from the grounds of capitals and government buildings. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley already had the flag removed from outside the state's Capitol building to honor the nine Charleston victims. But some staunch flag supporters are persisting and saying the flag is a symbol of state's rights and not racism, so comedian Jon Stewart addressed the Confederate flag in a Wednesday night episode of The Daily Show. The segment so perfectly points out the absurdity behind supporting the flag that it should convert every last believer.
Stewart begins the segment saying "It has begun." He says the shooting in Charleston has finally started a conversation about many of the symbols Americans still embrace that honor the time the South "fought us," the U.S., he jokes. Stewart then plays news snippets showing the intensifying flag debate in Alabama and Mississippi, the latter's state flag even features part of the Confederate flag inside of its state flag. Stewart says the segment of the show is appropriately titled "Huh, I Guess It Is Pretty F#@kin' Weird That We Fly A Flag In Honor Of A Pro-Slavery Secessionist Army," according to a video on The Daily Show website.
He points out how ridiculous it is that we've waited this long to even consider taking the Confederate flag down:
Taking down the flag only 150 years after the South surrendered and 20 years after Nascar did it... Congratulations, South Carolina, for coming in just two decades after America's favorite crash-based sport.
Stewart says that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley isn't the only one in the state who is finally calling for the flag's removal. He showed a news clip of South Carolina State Sen. Paul Thurmond, son of segregationist Strom Thrumond, speaking out against the Confederate flag. "That's like if Kool-Aid man's son took to the floor of the Senate to give a lecture on wall preservation," Stewart says in the video. "Just came down there and said, 'We cannot! We can no longer keep demolishing these innocent walls. I love my father, but on this issue I say to him, 'Oh no!'"
Then he picks on Wal-Mart, who recently said it would be cutting merchandise featuring the Confederate flag, even though it's still a cheap weapons retailer. Stewart shows a clip from an interview with Wal-Mart CEO Doug Mcmillon saying he was "surprised" that the store sold Confederate flag merchandise. Stewart jokes about Mcmillon's demeanor, mimicking his voice:
I mean, I knew we sold cheap guns — really cheap — to anybody. Tremendous stocking power. I mean, you come to Wal-Mart, you buy some of those guns, you could have a tremendous stand off. My point is this: I didn't know you could get 'em with a 'stars and bars' holster. I mean that sends a very dangerous message.
Then Stewart turns to the naysayers in the flag debate. He shows a clip where a representative in Spartanburg, South Carolina says removing the flag would be a Stalinist purge. Stewart says that's a just a little bit of a hyperbole and that Americans definitely aren't like Stalin:
I mean, removing a flag would not be really Stalinist-purge style. Stalin, what would he do? Eh, he'd probably keep the flag. But whitewash it of its associations with slavery and secession and then concoct some bizarre narrative about how it actually just represents something lovable and positive. The kind of thing you could slap on the back of a T-shirt or a truck. And then he'd say that this new meaning would justify not just keeping the flag around but elevating it, honoring it. Fortunately, Americans wouldn't fall for such Stalinist...All right.
Then Stewart addresses an argument from one of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The man makes a "slippery slope" argument, where he argues that if we take down the Confederate flag, then the "next thing will be street names and building names" and monuments of Confederate, pro-slavery soldiers. Stewart looks very disappointed with this answer, and then he points out just why this isn't a slippery slope at all:
Yeah, um, let me explain to you how the slippery slope argument usually works. Usually when you do the slippery slope argument, you like to end it in something bad. So, you don't go like, 'Well, the next thing you know, they're gonna take it off the buildings, and then the next thing, black children won't have to go to schools named after me who wouldn't have even allowed them to learn how to read. I mean does that sound like a world you want to be a part of!
Then he seals the deal at the end of the segment when he shows clips of people saying their ancestors fought for the South and "that's not going to change." Looking exasperated, Stewart says:
That's the whole point. They fought for the South against the United States because of slavery. That's the heritage you're defending. Look, I'm sure your soldier ancestors had other redeeming qualities, but that's what they're known for. It would be like saying you support the Nazi flag because you're proud of their robust anti-smoking agenda, but that wasn't really their thing. And I think that's the real problem here.
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