I just saw this and am really thinking of going.....I used to live in DC and went to a lot of protests and rallies, mainly against the Vietnam War....my most recent anti-war protest was March 2010. It was in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. It was against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, given by the ANSWER Coalition and a lot of other anti-war organizations.
Rally to Restore Sanity: Jon Stewart Goes Glenn Beck
Jon Stewart's decision to hold a "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington DC on October 30th - just a few days before the midterm elections - exists, like many things Jon Stewart-related, in the uneasy space between comedy and sincerity.
Stewart has always insisted his show is only about the former, despite evidence that his ambitions are far larger than that; check out his takedown of CNN's "Crossfire" on that now-canceled program if you have any doubts. And while the inclusion of Stephen Colbert and his "March to Keep Fear Alive" on October 30th shades things slightly more toward the comedic, Stewart made clear in announcing the event last night that his message was anything but a joke.
The essence of Stewart's message in the "Rally to Restore Sanity" - that Americans needs to "take it down a notch for America" - can be seen in that memorable Crossfire appearance back in 2006. "Why do we have to fight, the two of you?" Stewart said to the hosts, Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, around whose partisan arguments the show was built.
Accusing the hosts of "partisan hackery," Stewart said they were "hurting America" and called on them to "stop."
"You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably," Stewart said, complaining of the show's "knee-jerk, reactionary" tone.
Stewart's message in announcing the event on his show Thursday night - both the left and the right need to dial down the rhetoric (and stop calling everyone Hitler). While it remains to be seen how many people will show up at the rally, he does seem to have identified some public space that most people forgot about in the era of 24-hour news networks - the wide space between Ann Coulter and Michael Moore, the space that most Americans occupy even though you don't see them on TV.
Conservatives will be quick to complain that Stewart is not a perfect fit for such a message - and indeed, it's hard to imagine that a lot of those who show up at the rally will be voting Republican. But Stewart would counter that such thinking misses the point - the march, much like Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, is meant to be about something other than politics.
In fact, Beck's rally and Stewart's aren't all that different from that perspective, even if it's hard to imagine the person who would attend both of them: Both are designed to move away from a discourse grounded in "crossfire" and toward something less divisive. For Beck, that something else was God; for Stewart, it appears to be, essentially, reasonableness.
"We're looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat," the site for the Rally to Restore Sanity reads. It goes on to make an appeal to the sorts of Americans who've never taken a position extreme enough to earn a place arguing on CNN.
"Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once," the site reads. "We'll make it worth your while."
And here's the official site:
"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
Who among us has not wanted to open their window and shout that at the top of their lungs?
Because we're looking for those people. We're looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn't be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it's appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles.
Are you one of those people? Excellent. Then we'd like you to join us in Washington, DC on October 30 -- a date of no significance whatsoever -- at the Daily Show's "Rally to Restore Sanity." Ours is a rally for the people who've been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) -- not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence... we couldn't. That's sort of the point.
Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we'll be actively *not* throwing our feces at Tila Tequila. Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice. Or don't. If you'd rather stay home, go to work, or drive your kids to soccer practice... Actually, please come anyway. Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We'll make it worth your while.