Jon Stewart sat down with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleeza Rice and asked a very serious question: “Does America’s actions lead to a more unstable situation and globalization that leads to populism in this country, leads to Europe. ?”
On Friday’s “The Problem With Jon Stewart” podcast, the comedian brought together both sides of the political aisle and found common ground in discussing American foreign policy by taking a macro view of the tension in America between liberal and conservative voices. As he sees it, the population movements that come out of that tension have created a “pendulum swing” that has become a “fault line” in our country, causing concern about perceptions around the world.
“[Vladimir] Putin has made a very big difference – and I think this is something that seems to work in this movement – where he says, ‘I am not against the West; I’m against liberal West,'” Maher said of the Russian president. “I think there is a populist illiberal movement in the West that is more aligned with us. They are anti-gay, they are more Christian nationalists.
“Of course, we need to be more inclusive, more aware of the types of feelings and beliefs and deep values. But where the rubber hits the road is often someone who says, ‘You don’t respect my religious views, and I want you to do what I believe it. I want to force it on you,'” Clinton said. “That’s where it starts to get complicated. Because part of what we do, you know, with the first amendment and the separation of church and state is, ‘You know what? I have to do a better job of respecting your religious beliefs or your shortage of religious belief.’”
Rice added that even though she is a noted conservative, she is still often labeled by many on the right because she lives in the West and is pro-choice. “I’ve heard some of my colleagues say that, ‘I should go to Alabama and see what those people think,'” said the Alabama-born former secretary. “Now when you have to go and anthropologically dig into your fellow citizens, we actually have a problem in this country of a divide in a kind of cultural divide, and I think we have to recognize that. We can’t let one oppress the other, but we have to realize that it is a two-way split, not a one-way split.
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“I think a lot of times, though, we get the idea that the coast is irrelevant. How many times do you see someone say, ‘You don’t know what real America wants?’” Stewart said. “The prevailing wisdom is that the left is the censor, the left because of political correctness has woken up and wants to stop people from talking.”
All of this back-and-forth labeling and segregation in America is visible to others around the world — and Stewart wonders what effect it has on perceptions of this country in the process.
“Does America’s actions lead to a more unstable situation and the globalization that leads to populism in this country, leads to it in Europe?” asked. “Is it our inability to control aspects of our society that are sowing the seeds for the instability that we see around the world leading to this more populist illiberal pendulum swing? And how do we manage that?”
Watch a short clip of the interview in the video above or watch the entire podcast by clicking here.
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