It has been some time since Jon Stewart helmed the Daily Show, but his newest offering, The Problem With Jon Stewart , hits many of the same areas of politics and policy, but with more interviews and more focus. .
On the newest episode, Stewart sat down with Oklahoma’s Republican state Sen. Nathan Dahm.
Dahm came on to discuss the Second Amendment, and how he has filed a “Firearms Freedom Act” that looks to make “A firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Oklahoma and that remains exclusively within the borders of Oklahoma is not subject to federal law, federal taxation, or federal regulation including registration.” In other words, if you make guns in Oklahoma, no laws except the ones that Oklahoma Republican don’t make will apply to you.
Dahm went on Jon Stewart’s show to raise his profile. He succeeded, but not in the way he thought he might.
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The interview begins with Dahm explaining that the Second Amendment is a right and therefore is a right, and try as Stewart might, Dahm continued to deflect in the only way Second Amendment fanatics can: Myopically citing that the right may not ever be “infringed” upon. Stewart tries a few different angles, and points to how “chaotic” for law enforcement and communities Dahm’s and others’ proposed legislation is. After a few minutes of this, where Stewart seems to become more and more frustrated with the obstinacy of Dahm’s lack of an argument, this exchange took place:
JON STEWART: You want to say I'm a Second Amendment purist and I'm making it safer? You're not. You're making it more chaotic. And that's not a matter of opinion. That's the truth.
STATE SEN. NATHAN DAHM: That is a matter of opinion, Jon.
STEWART: But why take away their tools?
DAHM: Because certain of their tools that they're using would be infringements upon the people's right to keep and bear arms upon their constitutional rights upon due process, upon other things.
STEWART: So you’re saying that registering is an infringement?
The problem with this position is not simply that it’s naive absolutism to espouse, but that the supposed concept of absolute rights is only applied to gun ownership by conservatives like Dahm. Stewart has one last angle to point out, and he knows the answer Dahm will offer will not only not answer the question, but will lay bare the fundamental hypocrisy of Dahm and other Second Amendment “purists” positions.
Stewart begins by asking Dahm “Okay. Is voting a right?” Dahm makes sure he doesn’t offer up too much, and gingerly says “It's a right for citizens. Yes.” Then Stewart asks, “Do you have to do anything to do it?”
It’s here that Dahm’s attempts to sidestep are thwarted as Stewart repeatedly asks Dahm to answer the question, saying, “What do you have to do?” to every short, half-step answer Dahm gives. When Dahm finally admits that you have to “register” to vote, Stewart asks him if that is an infringement?
Dahm’s answer sets Stewart off. (You may want to grab an inflight barf bag.) Dahm answered the question with a question, saying , “Does the right to voting say ‘shall not be infringed?’” Stewart then called out Dahm, asking him if his argument is now entirely semantic. Dahm says it isn’t, and tries as hard as possible to turn the argument upside down in order to seem less flimsy.
Stewart isn’t having it, pointing out that Dahm opposes getting rid of laws that might protect people from guns, while instituting laws that would ban drag show readings to children. Stewart gets Dahm to lock into the logic that Dahm says he believes, which is that the government has the right to protect children. Of course, as Stewart very deftly explains, there is one thing at the top of the list of things that kill children in our country, “And I'm going to give you a hint. It's not drag show readings to children.” Dahm responds, “I’m presuming you’re going to say it’s firearms.”
And Stewart says, “No, I'm not going to say it like it's an opinion. That's what it is. It's firearms. More than cancer, more than car accidents. Angry Stewart is the best Stewart, and he finished Dahm off with true righteous vengeance.
“And what you're telling me is you don't mind infringing free speech to protect children from this amorphous thing that you think of. But when it comes to children that have died, you don't give a flying fuck to stop that, because that shall not be infringed. That is hypocrisy at its highest order.”
Enjoy the final exchange.
You can watch the whole interview below.
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