Sunday 31 October 2010

The Day After: Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

I have hope. Reasonable people will prevail. Extremists will fail. The overly vocal ring wing groups do not represent the silent majority.

This past Saturday, October 30, 2010 at the National Mall in Washington D.C., Jon Stewart of the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report hosted their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. While the hosts admitted several times that they didn't really know exactly why they were all there; the overriding message of the event was certainly one of reasonableness. The event was not supposed to a political event per se and despite Stewart's leanings to the Democrats and the independents, he maintained a non partisan tone. Nevertheless, this rally was certainly a counterpoint to Glenn Beck's August 28 rally Restoring Honor. Beck as a right wing conservative who is very extreme in his views is ofttimes fodder for both Stewart and Colbert when they are skewering the nuttier elements of the American political scene.

As with the Beck rally, there will probably never be a definitive count of the number in attendance. While Beck's rally certainly had in the hundreds of thousands (from 300 to 500?), Stewart's rally is currently being pegged at around 150,000. Amusingly enough, this figure was first announced byJamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of the television show Mythbusters who did a little pre-show appearance getting the crowd to do the wave so they could do a visual count. There are YouTube videos of this.

Musical guests included Ozzy Osborne and Yusuf Islam, a name I didn't recognize until I saw "formerly Cat Stevens". That made me do a double take. They managed to do some sort of mash-up which included Peace Train by Cat Stevens, Crazy Train by Ozzy Osborne then Love Train by the O'Jays who were also live on stage. Also on the bill were John Legend and the Roots, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow and Jeff Tweedy.

The real entertainment or the real interest of the entire rally turned out to be the people themselves. Unlike the firebrands of Beck's rally or the Tea Party, everyone had a chance firsthand to see a mass movement of moderates who expressed their reasonableness in a series of quite amusing signs that both Stewart and Colbert would have been proud of. Various news outlets have published photos of the rally with people holding up their personal and sometimes very humorous messages of moderation.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and spiders.

I'm A Veteran. I'm An American. I Am Muslim.

I Am Moderately Excited For This

I Was A Teabagger Before It Was Cool (that one was worth a spit take)

You Don't Have To Be Nice, just Don't Be Mean

Yelling Rarely Works… I Know, I'm A Mom!

I wouldn't presume to tell God who he hates

What do we want?
- Reasonable discourse.
When do we want it?
- Sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Think outside the Fox (a not too subtle reference to Fox News and their ring wing slant)

I won't call you a Nazi if you don't call me a Commie. Let's agree that 1930's totalitarian doctrines don't have to be our only options here in 2010

Ignorant, arrogant and armed is no way to go through life.

I have considered the fact that I might be wrong... Have you?

Rome wasn't built in a day and eight years of madness isn't fixed overnight

Facts are not decided by how many people believe them.
Truth is not determined by how loudly it is shouted.

Stewart did get serious at the end of the official proceedings. He spoke of the need of civil, rational dialogue, that the extremist "panic"messages do little or nothing to help in solving problems. Everyone must work together; everybody must remain sane. He thanked everybody for coming; their presence had restored his sanity.

Jon Stewart, while funny, comes across as a very reasonable human being; as somebody you can trust. Is it any wonder that a poll of newscasters conducted by Time Magazine in 2009 had Stewart at the top of the list?

Time magazine ran a poll (July 2009) asking the question, "Now that Walter Cronkite has passed on, who is America's most trusted newscaster?" and Jon Stewart scored first place. (see this analysis of the poll) Imagine that Stewart came in first ahead of Brian Williams, the anchor of the NBC nightly news!


my blog: America: Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear - written before the rally

Wikipedia: Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Sane or Not? Rally to Restore Sanity Signs


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
interview with President Barack Obama
Tuesday, October  26, 2010
I thought to include a link to his visit to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart asked Obama some pointed questions of his presidency reflecting some disappointment at how things have been going.

Comedy Central (U.S.)

The Comedy Network (Canada)


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