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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Thank you, Jon Stewart

There are times in each of our lives when events out of our control force us to reflect upon the lives we have had so far and the decisions we have made.

Tuesday night was one of those nights for me. It began with a news alert I received in the middle of a meeting: Jon Stewart would be stepping down as host of The ?Daily Show.

My initial reaction was shock, followed by sadness and concluding with a profound sense of gratitude. In all of our lives, we can point to a few people who influenced us more than most and who have inspired us to be more than what we thought was possible for ourselves.

Of course, some of these people are family and close friends, people who have been physically present in our lives and made real sacrifices to make our success possible.

But then there are others. There are the few public figures in this world that, though we may never meet them, make us believe there is something bigger out there for us to grasp onto.

Growing up in a small, suburban, conservative community in northern Indiana as a politically passionate Democrat, life was not always simple for me.

I often felt the need to hold my tongue regarding things that were hard to remain quiet about, simply because I was the only one thinking it. It was not rare to feel alone in a community that abhorred the values I used to guide my life.

But then I discovered public figures who made me feel the world was a little bigger than small town Indiana. One of those people was Jon Stewart, the host of a ?late-night comedy show.

In his almost 17 years as host of “The Daily Show,” Stewart revolutionized late-night comedy and brought back a level of intelligence that is not often seen in political satire. And whether he intended to or not, he has changed politics over that time, as well.

From his emotionally honest reaction to Sept. 11 to his moment of sincerity during the Rally to Restore Sanity, Stewart has always had an ability to sense when the moment required a bit more than comedy. Ultimately, it’s been that ability that has made his show so successful.

He showed me and much of our generation that when delivered with honesty, intelligence and passion, our voices will be heard. He showed the world a culture that doesn’t take itself too seriously and allows laughter, and that satire will always be stronger than those who try to shut it out.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to say goodbye just yet. We still have a few months left of the show, and then we get to enjoy whatever new venture Stewart decides to pursue. But first, we take a moment to look back, and thank you, Jon Stewart.

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