So, I attended Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive. Well, okay, by the time the event rolled around, Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity and Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive had combined into the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear."
It was very crowded. I couldn't see the stage, and I only heard bits and pieces of what was said. But I'm still glad I was there.
The people in attendance seemed nice. Many were carrying humorous signs. Pushing and shoving was generally avoided (amazing, considering how packed it was), as was shouting and any other loud or obnoxious behavior. People were mostly polite and courteous.
Interpreting the Insanity
The news media keeps asking if this rally will have any effect on the upcoming elections. I've also seen the news media call some of the signs extremist to a scary extent (most were jokes you humorless tools). Obviously, the news media doesn't get it.
This rally wasn't meant to change the minds of the people attending, and it wasn't meant to convince the people of America to vote one way or another. The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was about showing the government and the news media that the average person is not an extremist nut.
The country's 24-hour, political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.
The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the dangerous, unexpected flaming ants epidemic.
If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.
I've seen journalists call this rally nothing but a comedy stunt and other journalists call it nothing but political. Anyone with an objective outlook would probably say it was a bit of both.
But this wasn't political in the way events are normally political. Usually, an event is defined by its party. This rally didn't care about party lines. It brought people of all beliefs together to say, "Yeah, we agree on some things and disagree on others, and that's okay."
The two sides are so extreme, the majority of Americans are unhappy with both parties. We can't relate with either of them anymore.
The majority of Americans work five days a week and always seem to be late to something. The day is never long enough and we don't have the time or the energy to show up at rallies and protests and have our voices heard. We don't see any value in screaming and name calling. We're moderates. And we're tired of the government catering to special interests. We're tired of the news media and the government focusing on extremists. We're tired of the fights—devoid of relevant information—between candidates.
The rally was about our sanity, yes. But more importantly, it was about restoring sanity to the system.
Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I interpreted it. And I think the news media should go by the rally-goers' interpretations, not vice versa. We know what we meant.
The System is on a Steady Course to Crash and Burn
The news is always talking about some poster child of insanity. How about the minister who was determined to burn the Quran? And then the people talking about how all Muslims are scary and evil? It would seem all Americans are crazy bigots. But that isn't reality. The news doesn't represent all Americans, just the loudest Americans.
It does not matter what was said or done here today, what matters is what is reported about what was said or done here today.
By only focusing on the extremists, the news distorts the issues. Suddenly the government is catering to a small group of people that the majority of Americans don't agree with. But does anyone ask us? No. It's not like this is a democracy or anything. It's not like we voted any of these people into office to represent us.
We're all tired of it. But no one listens to us. That's the problem, and that's how the problem persists. It's a vicious cycle.
I'm Unhappy and I'd Rather Not Take it Anymore
I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear because I'm not a nutjob. I'm not on the far right or far left. I don't like screaming and shouting, I don't like negative campaigns, I don't like propaganda, and I don't like being lied to. I don't have the clout or money to get my opinions heard. I'm unhappy with Democrats and Republicans.
I went because I'm upset that South Park is true, and my only choices seem to be a "giant douche" and a "turd sandwich."
I went because Jon Stewart is funny.
I went because Stephen Colbert is hilarious.
- Rally for Sanity Video and Transcript: Jon Stewart's Speech, EAWorldView
- Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert rally allows Americans to revel in satire, The Vancouver Sun
- Taking the Stewart/Colbert rally too seriously, Part II
- Photos: 'Stop the Insanity' Rally, NY Daily News
- Photos: On the Washington Mall, Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive, Vancouver Sun
- Rally Includes Lesson in Media Criticism 301, New York Times
- To rally, perchance to dream, Huffington Post
- At Rally, Thousands — Billions? — Respond, New York Times
- Jon Stewart on the Hustings, New York Times - great example of someone who doesn't get it
- Rally To Restore Sanity Attendance Estimated In Hundreds Of Thousands
- Democrats can’t ride Jon Stewart’s wave, Politico
- Jon Stewart's fans feeling alienated? Not at the rally
- Colbert & Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear Makes a Point: "If We Amplify Everything, We Hear Nothing"
- 'Sanity/Fear' Rally A Protest Of The Absurd, NPR
- Why the Jon Stewart Rally is my generation's Woodstock, Washington Post
- Jon Stewart's 'Rally to Restore Sanity' energizes expats from Paris to Prague