The comedian Jon Stewart is not scared. At least he’s not unreasonably scared like Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is. Graham likes to talk fear. It gets him attention. And gone are the days when a brave face and resolve were the qualities a senator hoped to publicly display–that’ll hardly get you re-elected if the other guy is terrifying people. Senator Graham went on Fox News Sunday and said lots of things like: “Our [US] strategy will fail yet again. The president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” (italics, ours.)
Jon Stewart took aim at Graham’s nightmare scenarios on the Daily Show, comparing Graham to a frightened puppy in a purse, yelping. Stewart noted–then proved with repeated historical clips–that Graham has been fear-mongering for more than a decade. “Lindsey Graham has sustained this level of panic for 13 years,” said the smirking comedian. Graham is trying to fight terrorism, of course, a strategy that relies on keeping an enemy constantly fearful of attack. (That’s the terror in terrorism, that fear.) Inadvertently or not, Graham seems to be aiding the enemy–helping disseminate the fear that US enemies hope to spread. Stewart believes, and he’s in the majority here, that it’s unlikely that we’re all going to be killed here at home. That’s not to say vigilance isn’t necessary, just that perhaps neither is panic.