Jon Stewart Signs Off

Jon Stewart Signs Off

A Mensch to the End
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Seven minutes past midnight on August 7, Jon Stewart rolled away from the desk at the Daily Show on Comedy Central for the last time. The familiar face of integrity and truth, the companion of frustrated Americans since before I could tie my own shoes, has retired from skewering the idiocy of America and its politics. The man himself let the audience know this is not the last we have heard of him, but simply a pause in the conversation.

Coinciding with the FOX News coverage of the GOP debate, Stewart’s final performance as the host of the Daily Show delivered something important. Those who tuned in witnessed the portrait of a man who mattered in a very real way. Selfless until the end, he spent his final show highlighting others, like correspondents old and new, or a short video featuring the staff who work to make the Daily Show possible. He showered gratitude upon every soul involved or affected in the time of his tenure, even Arby’s. Quietly pleading to avoid the spotlight, Stewart surrendered his attempt to escape into the second commercial break, conceding the moment to his protégé, Stephen Colbert. Unscripted and stripped of any insincerity, Colbert expressed exactly what needed to be said about the man next to him, as Stewart did his best to smile away the waterworks:

“Here’s the thing, Jon. You said to me and to many other people here years ago never to thank you, because we owe you nothing. It is one of the few times I have known you to be dead wrong. We owe you, and not just what you did for our careers by employing us to come work on this tremendous show that you made. We owe you because we learned from you. We learned from you by example how to do a show with intention, how to work with clarity, how to treat people with respect. You are infuriatingly good at your job[...]okay, so Jon, and it’s almost over, I know you are not asking for this, but on behalf of so many people whose lives you changed over the past sixteen years, thank you. And now, I believe your line—and correct me if I’m wrong—is ‘We’ll be right back.’”

Before the camera cut away, the crowd erupted and all of the guests who had appeared earlier in the show mobbed the little man’s desk chair, crushing him from view with a great big bear hug, jumping up and down with gratitude.

When it came time to end the final episode, for the first and only time in sixteen years, Stewart signed off the Daily Show by saying, "And now, my moment of Zen." Stage right, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band belted a moving rendition of "Land of Hope and Dreams," followed by the bittersweet last stanza of "Born to Run." It was a joyous conclusion, a performance which was paid forward long ago, but not with cash.

Chris Hardwick began his show @Midnight with a few respectful words as the "Daily Show" credits on the left-hand side of the screen rolled out the end of an era. I sat stunned in a dark room, processing. There was a lot to digest, but I was struck by the ultimate value of one small man’s influence in the lives of so many others. His standard of giving is one thing every person is capable of achieving. Stewart cared so much: about the well-being of America and its citizens, and about the lives of those who worked with him and knew him. It matters to mean something to others. As Colbert pinpointed, it is not just what Stewart did for their careers, but what he did for them as people, how he helped them grow, and the opportunities he extended to them, opening the same door someone showed him when he was still kicking around searching for the right avenue for his talents.

The faith I share with Stewart holds the Talmudic idea of Tzedakah (TSEH-dah-KAH) in the highest regard. Roughly translated, Tzedakah means charity, but it is far more than giving to others, and it applies to Jews and Gentiles alike. Tzedakah manifests itself in various ways, each with a different level of merit. The lowest form is to give begrudgingly to another. Jon Stewart was a man who gave selflessly when and where he could, and asked for nothing in return. Countless times, he performed the most meritorious Tzedakah, which is to enable another to become self-reliant. I realize what I saw was a spirited offering of heartfelt recognition to the man who asked for none. Thank you Jon Stewart, talk to you soon.

Cover Image Credit: People Magazine

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?

ddrodzx
ddrodzx
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A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.

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ddrodzx

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