On Nov. 8, 2016, Showtime aired a live election night special with Stephen Colbert. The idea was to celebrate the end of Donald Trump’s candidacy and the beginning of the Hillary Era. It was going to be a welcome relief after such a grueling presidential campaign. It was going to be so much fun. Of course, there was just one small problem…
Here’s the very end of the program, when it was finally sinking in that Trump was going to win:
“By every metric, I mean, we are more divided than ever as a nation… So how did our politics get so poisonous? I think it’s ’cause we overdosed, especially this year. We drank too much of the poison. You take a little bit of it so you can hate the other side. And it tastes kinda good. And you like how it feels. And there’s a gentle high to the condemnation.”
Well, that was a right purty speech.
Stephen Colbert, who found fame and fortune by spending the past couple of decades condemning and excoriating one side of the political aisle, finally found a moment for some self-reflection. He called on all of us to see the other guy’s point of view. He appealed to the common humanity inside each and every one of us. He seemed to understand that maybe, just maybe, his own brand of political commentary might have something to do with giving us President Trump.
It’s been six months since this epiphany he shared with us on live TV. How’s that working out for him?
Stephen Colbert is feeling a little overwhelmed these days. “It feels like things are on fire, and I’m not a fireman,” the Late Show host told Frank Rich at the Vulture Festival today…
Still, Colbert sees a kind of bright side. Sort of. “The one good thing about Donald Trump,” Colbert mused, “is that he himself is such a redolent turd that we have to examine how we allowed that thing in the food chain.”
OUT: We drink the poison, and it feels good to indulge in our own self-righteous indignation. Maybe we shouldn’t do that.
IN: Trump is a turd. Also, that turd has a mouth and it holds Putin’s penis.
Incidentally, I’m not sure “redolent” is the word Colbert meant. That has more of a positive connotation than he clearly intends here. But it sounds good and it proves he knows more words than you do. That’s the important thing.