By Becka Wall | @beckawall
I watched my first full episode of “The Daily Show” when I was 12. An energetic little social justice activist already, I was riveted. Jon Stewart is so funny! And SO RIGHT, I thought as I watched him ranting about injustice and calling attention to the hypocrites out there.
That was 13 years ago. When I heard my nighttime television hero was leaving “The Daily Show,” my heart withered a little. So much of my outlook on the world has been shaped by his rants and fact-checks, but even more so by his belief that things could change. I had looked to him through multiple presidential elections and crises. I waved my rally towel during his Rally For Sanity And/Or Fear with Stephen Colbert.
True to form, Jon Stewart did a segment during his last show about calling out the bullshit.
He closed with, “If you smell something, say something.”
I can’t think of a more perfect lesson to be left with.
Wherever you stand politically, I hope we can all agree on one thing: Jon Stewart did his best to get Americans off the couch and make a difference. From his vine about Fox News’ lies to his activism for veteran access to health care, he stood up for truth and transparency and what he thought was right. We can all learn from that.
Here are a few ways to inject a little Jon Stewart truth into your life:
Check the Facts. When you read an article, or are intrigued by a headline summary online, click-through on the sources and read the full article. Don’t take something for face value if you think there is more to it. Take the time to investigate.
Take context and history into consideration. It’s important to always look forward, but it’s good to glance backwards and take stock of where you started. After all, you can’t talk about racism or sexism without taking into consideration the struggles women and people of color have faced for thousands of years. Always consider the full story.
Find the humor. Don’t take life so seriously. Laughter can fuel and motivate you to do more and help you see the truth in every situation. Jokes help lighten the mood and can cut straight to the point. Highlight the irony, chuckle at the absurdity and change the world.
Don’t get too cynical. Some days, it feels like you won’t ever be able to change the world, or that nothing you do makes a difference to anyone. Maybe in the tiny blip of time that is today, that’s true. It’s when the whole picture comes together that change can be seen.
What’s your favorite “The Daily Show” memory? Let us know!