Take it down a notch, for America!
In an attempt to keep my perspective unbiased, I try and follow commentators from both the liberal and conservative media. I can not deny however, that I have only been able to give a good ten to twenty minutes listening to the babble of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck (mostly due to the fear of losing brain cells and uncontrollable laughter), while I can spend hours listening to Bill Maher ramble. Most would describe me, as they say, a raging liberal.
So, being the peace-praising hippie liberal that I am, I found it especially intriguing when Stewart and Beck both took action to incite a more moderate perspective within the general population. One that encompasses and applies to both conservatives and liberals.
Earlier this month, Jon Stewart announced a “Rally to Restore Sanity” that will take place in Washington, D.C on October 30th. The rally seems to be inspired by a similar type of rally organized by conservative radio-host, Glenn Beck. Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally took place on August 28th of this year and attracted an estimated 87,000 people to Washington.
Both rallies hold common grounds in promoting a step away from partisanship and a step towards cooperation, both politically and socially. The “Restoring Honor” rally focused on God as a pathway to a less contentious perspective, while Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” will rely fundamentally on reasonableness.
Am I the right type of person to go to this rally?
“The fact that you would even stop to ask yourself that question as opposed to just, lets say, jumping up and grabbing the nearest stack of burnable holy books, strapping on a diaper, and just pointing your car towards DC, that means i think you just might be right for it.” – Jon Stewart, in response to his own question.
Stewart makes it obvious that his rally is not intended for the usual (and often deranged) activists, but for the people who “have other things to do.” The people who often skip out on these types of events. The people who would want to gather for “some fun, maybe some special guests, and some great conversation,” says Stewart, “I don’t know, seems like a pretty reasonable request.”
Essentially this means that, if you have already written out your protest signs claiming “Free Speech For All… Even Douche Bags” or “God Hates Taxes“, than this rally is not for you. Stay at home, blog your feelings, and leave this one for the clinically sane.
But while we are on the topic, Stewart did give some examples of protest signs that would be suitable for the occasion, such as “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler,” “I am not afraid of muslims/tea partiers/socialists/immigrants/gun owners/gays… but I am kinda scared of spiders,” and “got competence?”
He urges those people who fall in that large gap between the mindsets of Ann Coulter and Michael Moore to “ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We’ll make it worth your while.”
A twist, you say?
On the same evening that the “Rally to Restore Sanity” was announced, so was the “March to Keep Fear Alive.” This march would take place on the same day, at the same time, at the same location, and was initiated by none other than, Stephen Colbert.
In response to Stewart’s focus on “reason,” Colbert reminds his audience that ” ‘Reason’ is just one letter away from ‘Treason.’ Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but they will also tell you that your daughter can’t get pregnant in a public swimming pool… Dads, are you going to take that chance?”
Though the rallies are played off to be in competition with one another, it seems likely that they are one and the same. In case you just crawled out from under your rock, both talk shows appeal to a more liberal audience.
The Positive Purples
Although Stewart’ and Colbert’s rally is promoted with comedic overtones, the reality is that it is one of the first steps toward, for lack of a better word, sanity. It encourages all those opinionated but silent folks (such as myself) to get out and represent the large population that they are. To let it be known that they are out there. To not let their voices be drowned out by the incomprehensible ranting of extremists. To participate in friendly debate rather than irrational chaos.
In a nation that so sourly divides itself between a raving “red team” and a hysteric “blue team,” there is now a newer and friendlier team. I like to call this the “purple team” (or “the positive purples”). A team that accepts people from all political parties, just as long as they’re playing with a full deck (and preferably spell-check their protest signs). A team that promotes the unity we all believe in but have never seen. Unity isn’t Santa Claus, people, it is real and it is achievable.
If you want to support this cause all you have to do is show up! But remember, both oars in the water, please.
And just in case you were wondering, here is Glenn Beck’s response to the rally:
“I hope that Ed Schultz, the AFL-CIO, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and whoever else wants to plan a march in DC have the same great success that we had with Restoring Honor.”
Not long after, PoliticsUSA reports that Beck had claimed on his radio show that the Stewart and Colbert rallies are designed to get young people to go vote with the labor unions. Maybe he is just bitter that 145,000 people have already confirmed their attendance to the Rally to Restore Sanity via Facebook. Either way, his current mental status makes him ineligible to participate this October 30th.
The announcement for the Rally to Restore Sanity was made September 16th on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Watch the video below:
Marissa Faye is a cultural explorer hailing from the far eastern lands of Sherborn, Massachusetts.
She is like a sponge—absorbing all things around her with a forever unquenched curiosity. Often times she is hidden away in her mountain fortress, madly writing tales of fact and fiction.
She is a flowerchild at heart and an incurable addict of art, music, food, and the infinite explorations of life.