A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
Yesterday I watched the event of the month, The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. If you aren’t familiar with it, it was an actual rally on the National Mall in Washington DC. The organizers were Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, two television hosts from Comedy Central Television. This rally was organized in response to TV commentator Glenn Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor back in August.
I’ve always been a big fan of Jon Stewart. Although I may not always agree with his politics, I generally think that he asks good questions and does a decent job of poking fun at both the right AND the left.
Judging by sheer numbers, the Rally to Restore Sanity TROUNCED the Rally to Restore Honor. Saturday’s event boasted at least 215,000 people, whereas Glenn Beck’s event had somewhere around 87,000. Clearly, people wanted to rally around something.
The Rally to Restore Sanity was big enough to warrant C-Span coverage as well as commercial-free coverage on Comedy Central. I tuned in because it seemed like an interesting event. I’m a big fan of sanity and think we could use a lot more of it in virtually every aspect of our lives.
I have to tell you, I was a bit disappointed.
First, there was a musical act or two. Understandable - the crowd deserves entertainment. Then the hosts of the TV Show Mythbusters basically experimented with the crowd by creating various forms of the wave and aural demonstrations with laughter, crying and odd noises. Interesting, but not really “rally-worthy.”
Finally, the meat of the event – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Clearly Stewart was enjoying the amazing turnout. I love hearing his commentary, but then I was disappointed to see that he was reading cue cards. I guess I expected something a little more impromptu. But, OK. He wanted to be prepared. But then what followed was just a joke…literally.
Stewart and Colbert traded comedic bits that would have worked better on recorded TV. It became awkward and so staged that it made me uncomfortable to watch. I shouldn’t have been surprised – they work in television. This is what they do. It’s just that it seemed a waste. When you get 215,000 people together, give them something to rally around at your rally. Not a vaudeville show.
Stewart brought it all home with a GREAT closing speech that spoke of inclusion and working together and NOT caving to fear-mongers even if it means just changing the channel. In fact, I really wish there had been a whole lot more speakers with Stewart’s message – we could all do with a lot less hate and fear. But I can’t help but feel that Comedy Central started something and didn’t finish. I applaud them for trying to stay politics-free, but when 215,000 people gather, at least give them a decent concert. Don't just say: CALM DOWN!
In closing, I’m going to share something I think we should all rally around: On Tuesday, get out there and vote. My opinion is that you don’t get to complain about our government if you haven’t exercised your right to vote. So do it.