Fans of political satirists John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are awaiting Oct. 30 with high anticipation. The two will be holding opposing rallies on Oct. 30 in Washington D.C. on the National Mall. Stewart introduced his Rally to Restore Sanity on The Daily Show on Sept. 16, which not so coincidentally happened to be the same day Colbert announced his Rally to Keep Fear Alive. It was a hilarious episode of The Daily Show, and I had no idea they were dead serious about their scheme.“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,” reads Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity website. It continues, “Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement.”
Both rallies say they will be non-partisan, but many disagree, saying that it’ll clearly be a liberal affair. So far, over 100,000 people have RSVP’d to the rally Facebook group. Those planning on attending aren’t quite sure what to expect aside from ample amounts of entertainment by Stewart, possibly Colbert and other surprise guests.
The rallies will take a place a week before congressional elections, which brings up one of a few controversial points regarding the opposing rallies. I’ve read a few websites expressing concern from Democrats that the hordes of liberals crowding the mall on Oct. 30 could be petitioning for congressional leaders and attracting votes instead of attending a “fake rally.” Countless comment threads articulate—sometimes not so cleanly—the debate between those who believe the Stewart/Colbert rally to be worthless, standing for no clear issue at all, and those who believe Stewart is a valid news source, that his rally is important.
I think it’s important to note the hilarity of the event while also realizing that it’s a privilege to have such quick access to news in the United States. I hope the rallies have a positive impact on society in the end. If the rallies involve, for instance, burning of Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck dolls, I’ll be disappointed. That seems counter-productive. But if they spur people to take political action or become more informed about an issue, international or domestic, then a rally, even one without a clear cause, can’t be deemed worthless.
Carry on, Steve and John. Just be wise.