jon stewart teaches me how to love my neighbor

I don’t watch the news much anymore. I’ve grown tired of the negative political ads this season. Can’t believe I heard political advertising will likely top $3 billion dollars this year. I heard Jon Stewart was holding the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington D.C. and decided to watch some of it online. Was very glad I did. Stewart voiced so many things that resonated deep in my soul.

Jon Stewart taught me today a little more of what it means to truly love my neighbor.

If we amplify everything we near nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinist and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate.

Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do – often something that they do not want to do – but they do it. Impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make…Look on the screen – this is where we are is who we are. [Points to the big screen which shows traffic merging into a tunnel]

These cars – that’s a school teacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high. He’s going to work. There’s another car – a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now. There’s another car with a woman who’s in the NRA. She loves Oprah. There’s another car – an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter. Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan. But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear – often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river. Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences. And they do it. Concession by concession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on yours? Well, that’s okay – you go and then I’ll go. And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together and the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.

But we do it anyway, together.

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