September 16, 2010, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show announces the Rally to Restore Sanity. With a call to end to hyperbolic partisan fear-mongering from both the left and the right, from the pundits and the people. A call to begin proper discourse, and to realize that just because someone disagrees with you, does not make them evil, or Hitler.
Seems pretty reasonable. Which is exactly what they’re going for, and I’m hoping it changes the discourse in America from partisan to logical. But considering how things tend to go, that’s unlikely. People tend to do what’s easy, and thinking is hard.
The Rally to Restore Sanity is something I truly believe in. The biggest problem in modern politics is solipsism. The idea that one’s opinion is the only one that matters. This is a philosophy I wholeheartedly disagree with. Primarily because it results in people thinking, those that disagree with them are inherently bad people. Like Janeane Garofalo, who once said Democrats are inherently better people than Republicans. I can’t find the exact quote but I do remember her saying that. Statements like that are arrogant, ridiculous and most importantly, divisive and incendiary.
I am a little different than most, when I voice my opinions, my goal is to either get people to question me and enlighten me, or possibly enlighten them depending on which view is the most rational. It seems to me that others voice their opinions because they want people to say, “yes, I agree with you,” and they are shocked when that doesn’t happen, to the point where they get angry or in some cases, violent.
The Rally to Restore Sanity has one major purpose, to move the moderate rationalists from the back seat, to the front seat. To take the conversation away from the fringe minority to the moderate majority. We may not be loud, but we actually care, and some of us have the passion to take this thing to the stratosphere.
The goal is not to promote one idea, like most rallies, but to start the conversation to find the best idea, without the yelling and dogmatism. It’s about true debate, you know the kind that doesn’t involve talking points.
It doesn’t surprise me that something like this would come from Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. Jon Stewart is one of the smartest and frankest minds in modern media today. The most rationalist man I have ever seen. A video I saw of him recently, explaining how to combat Fox News, not with more partisanship, but less, supports this. Not only that, he has explained the rally’s philosophy before, how the minority are controlling the debate while the majority are too busy. So it’s certainly not new.
Meanwhile, on the same day that Jon announced the Rally, Stephen Colbert announced the March to Keep Fear Alive, which is an odd choice. I mean I have never heard anyone honestly say you should constantly be afraid even if there is nothing to be afraid of. However Stephen Colbert is a character played by……Stephen Colbert…who’s performance is steeped in irony.
The difference between the two rallies is the same as the difference between the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. The Daily Show, while hilarious, has always been sincere. While they were making jokes, they were telling the truth no one else was willing to tell and that’s why I love it. They’ve always called themselves fake news, but I’d like to refine that label. Real news, fake reporting, because if it was real reporting they would get crucified for the shit they say.
In contrast, the Colbert Report keeps the label, but instead of using it as a chance to enlighten, it uses it as a chance to make ironic jokes. Basically Stephen Colbert the character, says things Stephen Colbert the performer disagrees with, but it’s okay because he means it ironically. Stephen Colbert the performer once said, straight up, he is insincere on his show, and that is exactly why I rarely watch his show.
The two rallies are the antithesis of each other, one is for rational thought, the other is for fear-mongering, and while both Colbert (the performer) and Stewart are likely of the same ideology, only one of them is serious, the other is not. It’s probably why Colbert had such a hard time getting a space for his march, because no one in Washington took him seriously, but they did take Stewart seriously. So it sort of shocked me when Stephen Colbert announced a location for the march: Stewart’s Rally. Apparently they decided to merge the two rallies, renaming it the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Which is kind of like the Republican and Democratic National Conventions merging. Basically what I’m saying is: It’s a bad idea.
The merge undermines the premise of the Rally to Restore Sanity, to denounce, for starters, fear mongering, which is exactly what the March to Keep Fear Alive is about. So to merge the two seems a little disingenuous.
I know that some may say it’s all intended to be a joke, not to be taken seriously. That may be true for Colbert’s march, but not Stewart’s rally. The Rally to Restore Sanity is a serious rally, surrounded by jokes. The difference being, the March to Keep Fear Alive is one huge joke, and I don’t think there is a single person who is attending the march seriously, they are attending the march “ironically,” and here’s what I have to say about that. Even if you shoot someone ironically, they are still dead. Why would you do something you don’t agree with? There is no reason, because it’s funny? If life is one big joke to you, then may I politely suggest you put some pants on and join the world of adulthood.
Besides, the Rally to Restore Sanity has a message that I honestly believe in, as do those attending the rally. The March to Keep Fear Alive is the exact opposite, and merging the two will undermine the rally’s message.
But my point is, to bring these two rallies together is like bringing celery and ice cream together, it just won’t work, and why would you do so in the first place?
Oh, I know why, because Colbert’s team couldn’t get a permit. They were probably denied many times, and for a damn good reason. So the people at the Daily Show, who are part of the same production company, decided to let the Rallies merge, because they wanted both to happen. I disagree, I think Colbert’s march should have died, instead he should have just made a bitter appearance at Stewart’s rally and that’s all. To change the rally’s premise is just confusing and ridiculous, and when a million people show up at the rally in support of sanity, it will cause people like Sean Hannity to say things like, “A million people showed up in support of fear-mongering at the National Mall yesterday. So…boogy boogy boo!”