Despite (or, probably, because of) yesterday’s grim swirl of news, we turned on Colbert last night, partly because I wanted to see if he’d pay tribute to the late, great Don Rickles. He did, but only briefly. I guess they didn’t really know each other. But the interesting thing was that, as the show started, CBS ran a little graphic at the bottom that said the show was taped before the US strikes in Syria started.
At first, I thought, well that makes sense. They don’t want people wondering why he isn’t addressing the elephant in the room. But then I wondered if it was something worse. Colbert spent most of the monologue (if not all of it) pointing out the absurdity and horrors of the Trump administration. So, maybe, they were running it because they wanted to shield themselves from criticism that Colbert was making fun of the Commander in Chief while America was at war.
That, I think, is a good way to illustrate the dangers of what is happening, and the questions around the attack. Are we at war with Syria? Are we just “sending a message?” Are we willing to take ownership over what comes next? What does it even mean to be at war with Syria? What does war mean in the age of Trump, and will this be normalized? And what will happen next?