John Y. Brown, III: Did Jon Stewart Predict the Shutdown?

Did Jon Stewart predict the current government shutdown?

It has been wisely observed that comedians can sometimes be our most useful philosophers.

9 years ago this month an epic moment of honest candid discussion  occurred on what was then the most influential political debate show in the nation. It is worth watching right now, in my opinion, if you want to better understand the underlying cause of our nation’s current political dysfunction.

Consider the video clip ad comedian Jon Stewart predicting in 2004 the government shutdown in 2013. At least that is my take.

I don’t believe it matters much who is most at fault. I believe it matters a lot, however, if we as a nation have permantly transformed political debate into a form of sport-like entertainment where the point is merely to “win” –and that we have forgotten how to discuss together, deliberate candidly, and expect our elected officials to honestly craft policy that is within the realm of the possible?

I don’t know the answer.  But when I watch this clip I believe Jon Stewart is saying something that is both obvious and profound. And I contend is far more important than any speeches given today on the floor of Congress.


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