Jon Stewart delivers powerful, scathing monologue on Charleston

daily show charleston

The Daily Show

‘This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist.’

It might be Jon Stewart’s job to make fun of the news, but he couldn’t find anything to laugh at in the Charleston shooting.

Police have arrested 21-year-old Dylann Roof for the Wednesday night murder of nine people (including Reverend and State Senator Clementa Pinckney) at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Police are treating it as a hate crime.

Stewart’s usual angles on racial violence are already popping up. Fox News refused to call it a hate crime. The media is already portraying Roof as a quiet, troubled kidPresident Obama made ineffectual comments on the matter. South Carolina is still flying the Confederate flag. The media largely refuses to call Roof’s crimes terrorism, but Bernie Sanders does—and so does Stewart.

But mostly, Stewart just felt defeated.

“Maybe if I wasn’t nearing the end of the run or this wasn’t such a common occurrence, maybe I could have pulled out of the spiral,” he told his audience. “But I didn’t. And so I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence we do to each other and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal but we pretend doesn’t exist.”

He knew how this would go; he’d seen it so many times. Absolutely nothing will change. America won’t acknowledge any of the cold, hard, and uncomfortable truths about the shooting. We’ll call it a tragedy instead of terrorism. And it’s going to happen again and again and again unless we do something about it—which we won’t.

Stewart spent the rest of the episode talking to Malala Yousafzai, but his Moment of Zen went back to Charleston with some wise words from Pinckney that are even more fitting now.

Screengrab via The Daily Show

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.