On Saturday, October 30th, 2011, a rally was held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert led the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear". Who are these guys? They are comedians. Yes, they both have their own shows on the cable network Comedy Central. Jon Stewart represents the somewhat liberal idea that it's time to restore some sanity, both in the political process in Washington and also throughout the country. Stephen Colbert satirically represents the ultra conservative, living in fear of everything that's going wrong.
There was a great amount of entertainment and humor throughout the 3 hour rally. When Comedy Central applied for the permit, they estimated that 60,000 people would show up. Over 150,000 showed up on Saturday, although Jon Stewart thought that he had counted up to nearly 5 million. When they attempted to conduct a roll call, they got up to number six and quit.
Was this a true political rally? Yes and no. The entertainment was enjoyable and funny, although there was an underlying meaning to many of the skits that occurred on stage. Stewart brought out Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) to sing his hit from the 70's "Peace Train". Colbert countered by bringing out Ozzy Osbourne to sing his hit "Crazy Train". Do you get it yet? Be sane on the peace train or be fearful on the crazy train. So Jon and Stephen decided to compromise on the song "Love Train" by The O'Jays. Stephen resisted at first, until Jon reminded him that in love, there is also a fear of heartbreak and sexually transmitted diseases.
Near the end, John Stewart summarized the rally. "We are in bad times, not end of times". Well said Jon. He went on to tell us that no matter how we think or how we live, we all seem to get along and get the job done. As he was explaining this, he showed a video of a row of ten or so toll booths. Once the drivers paid their toll, they were then merged down to 6 or so lanes, then to 4 lanes and ultimately into 2 lanes which eased into the tunnel. It was his example of how we do work together. He did take a shot at the politicians in the Capitol that have no clue how to get through that tunnel when it comes to running this country.
Stewart also said this. "If we amplify everything, then we hear nothing".
So true.Earlier in the rally, Colbert showed how he has come to fear so much in the world today. He showed a video clip that included Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Newt Gingrich, Wolf Blitzer and several others. Stewart responded by showing Colbert a TV remote control that he had brought to the rally from his hotel room, trying to point out that you can turn off the TV at anytime. But Colbert ran another video clip that showed various news agencies reporting on how the number one dirtiest and possibly deadliest thing in a hotel room is the TV remote control.
Remember people, this was comedy. But even in comedy, sometimes a point can be made.
Fear is a good thing. If a bear attacks me and I have no fear, then I will be eaten. What if I am passing a car on a two lane road and I see that I cannot make it without having a head-on collision with oncoming traffic? Would I do it anyway if I had no fear? Or would common sense tell me to avoid an accident? Hmmm...maybe fear and common sense go hand in hand.
Sometimes fear can be exploited. I personally believe that it's done on a daily basis. I've listened to various shows and hosts that are currently on TV and radio. Some make accusations of hate, racism, bigotry and other sensitive issues. Some actually promote those issues. I'm not going to name or bash anyone in particular, because they all have one thing in common. RATINGS. If you don't watch or listen to them ,then they will go away. So what is they best way to attract people? FEAR. Let's scare them a bit and they will come back for more. Do you truly live in a state of fear? Well Jon Stewart has an answer for that. Push the power button on you TV remote. Switch your radio to an FM station and listen to some tunes.
What a simple solution.