I’m a supporter of extending marriage rights to all people, including those who would marry someone of the same gender. I’m also a fan of Jon Stewart, whose Daily Show still makes me laugh out loud after more than ten years on the air. And I’m impressed that Stewart will take all comers for the interview segment of his show, tackling real issues. So I was interested in seeing him interview Mike Huckabee while the once and maybe future Presidential candidate was out plugging his book, especially when a significant topic of discussion was same-sex marriage:
Now, bear in mind that I agree with every word Stewart says and I disagree with nearly every word Huckabee says. Huckabee is right to point out that people who oppose same-sex marriage really do not believe they do so out of prejudice against gay people; they believe that they are being cautious about changing social institutions, which is not a position of prejudice. (I’ll point out, though, that while caution in social engineering is a good thing, the reason for both the caution and the existing structure of the world is rooted in indefensible prejudice against homosexuals.)
I like that no one raised their voices, no one got angry, and the overall tone was of respectful disagreement. But I think Stewart was unfair to Huckabee, because he monopolized the conversation. Even though I agreed with what Stewart was saying, I got antsy watching the interview, wanting to grab Stewart by the collar and say, “Let the man at least explain himself without interrupting every sentence you disagree with!”
Huckabee is there to promote his book and Stewart has invited him on the show for that purpose. Huckabee is smart and in touch with popular culture, so he’s well aware that the audience to this show will not be with him on this issue. Still, he’s filling Stewart’s air time so Stewart doesn’t have to do the water-skiing squirrel again, and that suggests that there ought to be a mutual level of respect between them since each is there to benefit the other.
One of the things in the book is Huckabee justifying his stance on the same-sex marriage issue. That’s a fine thing to challenge him on, but having challenged him, Stewart should permit the man a fair opportunity to defend himself.