Sanity Shouldn’t Need a Rally
My husband, like the largest portion of news consumers, relies on Fox News to supplement his daily review of the World Herald online and a few local and nationally syndicated talk radio hosts.
I relish my time in the car listening to NPR, reading blogs, enjoying the conversations on Twitter, and falling asleep after Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have their fun.
While our different preferences should open the door to robust discussion where the merits of competing ideas are evaluated for the sheer joy of the intellectual sparring, instead our conversation map is filled with land mines.
To our credit, our 14+ year marriage has always been infused with a healthy sense of humor, and we’ve grown enough to anticipate a potential explosion in time to avoid it.
Unfortunately, too many people lack not only that sense of humor when it comes to challenging issues, but the willingness to throw out the script propagated by their chosen gurus and start the discussion anew.
Jon Stewart, for reasons that could be noble or not, has launched what he is calling The Rally to Restore Sanity, scheduled to take place at the National Mall in Washington D.C. on Saturday, October 30. His comedic sidekick Stephen Colbert launched a counter rally—same time, same place—which he called The Rally to Keep Fear Alive.
“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.”
He goes on to say:
“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.”
I’ve never been motivated to attend a rally before, but I’m going to this one, at least vicariously. Omaha is hosting a local version of the rally at Memorial Park on Saturday beginning at 8:30, and then the D.C. rally is being shown live on Comedy Central later in the day.
I hope attendance at the national rally, as well as the many local rallies all around the country, is high, just to demonstrate that a lot of us aren’t red or blue, right or left, conservative or liberal, but are instead somewhere in the middle.
…We reside in the gray areas because we don’t believe the big issues that need
attention have a clear right and wrong approach.
…We think posturing and pontificating wastes valuable time and intellectual capital.
…We aren’t afraid to hear—and even consider—an opposing point of view.
…We are happy to agree to disagree, and can still respect and appreciate those who have a different perspective.
…We are disheartened that millions of anonymous dollars can fund the ever-increasingly nasty political commercials making outrageous claims that too many accept as fact.
…We don’t want to yell or ridicule or slam our fists on the table.
Instead, we want to roll our sleeves up and use our incomparable American resources and creativity to discover solutions, and then make them happen.
The tragedy is the perception that we’re the silent minority. I’m more optimistic than that. I think we’re actually the majority, but you don’t see our provocative signs or our fists shaking in the air because we’re too busy…busy making ends meet, raising kids to be thoughtful and responsible citizens, keeping our business afloat so our employees stay employed, attending church and/or volunteering to make a difference in our own small ways.
And we’re also busy listening. And thinking. And researching. We’re busy forming opinions and plans of action based on what we’re learning and seeing from multiple, diverse sources. We’re looking for evidence and appreciate analysis delivered rationally with supporting evidence.
I’m disappointed that sanity with regard to the marketplace of ideas is something that needs to be restored, but I want to lend my support, not to a political platform or public figure, but to a swing back from the edge of bitter, blaming, and fear-inspired commentary to a commitment to having a decent, respectful conversation.
If you decide to join me on Saturday, you shouldn’t have trouble spotting me. I’ll be a face in a crowd of people who are laughing good-naturedly and talking earnestly to one another. It should be a nice change of pace!
Why are you going to attend Saturday’s rally? What do you think of the US political climate as we approach the midterm elections?