As world leaders geared up last night for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart took the opportunity to clarify some confusion among conservatives: apartheid is, by a tremendous margin, not comparable to Obamacare.
In fact, he took issue with how numerous American politicians have been expressing the late South African president's legacy. Like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's tweet, for instance:
In a way, Mandela was both the “George Washington” and “Abraham Lincoln” of his country. We're so fortunate to have lived in his time.— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) December 5, 2013
"Well, we gotta make him into a white guy somehow, is that it?" Stewart quipped. "He's like George Washington—except not at all."
In other cases, it wasn't the political tributes that were offensive, but the thousands of comments appearing below them on Facebook. CNN combed through some of the particularly revolting comments that flooded Ted Cruz's Facebook page:
"You know the ghost of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was like, 'Why the f-- did I get dragged into this?'" Stewart quipped. But he then turned his attention to "non-anonymous jerks on the TV," like former Senator Rick Santorum, who summed up the leader's legacy by comparing the injustice he fought—apartheid—with the "great injustice" of Obamacare today.
"How do I put this in terms you'll understand: apartheid is not Obamacare!" an outraged Stewart responded. "The systemic subjugation of a race of people is different from the establishment of subsidized healthcare exchanges. The fact that insurance is now mandated again gets us nowhere close to apartheid-level injustice in any way [or] shape."
Stewart, who is often at his best when aggressively debunking absurd political analogies, went ahead and encouraged his audience to repeat it "where people gather, on whatever it is Americans read."
He closed by reinterpreting The Sound of Music to suit his message. "The only injustice here is that you can make a statement like that and still get to have the TV talking stick," Stewart said."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.