Last night, Jon Stewart announced his event against extremism, the “Rally to Restore Sanity.” The goal of the event, which will be held on October 30th, is to count much of the divisive political rhetoric dominating mainstream media. In Stewart’s words, the plan is to have “A million Moderate march, where we take to the streets to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says, ‘We are here! We… are only here until six though, because we have a sitter.'”
The Rally to Restore Sanity (www.rallytorestoresanity.com) provides more detail. It reads: “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.”
While amusing, like much of Stewart’s humor, it rings with a resounding truth. The focus on the loudest, angriest and, often, most offensive makes for great media coverage and, unfortunately, drowns out the majority. The majority, as Stewart points out, is us. While we may not be completely happy with the political system and those in power, we engage with one another in a respectful dialog and remember that together we can envision (and hopefully create) public good.
However, this future is only possible when we turn down (or tune out) the media pundits (on both extremes), who make millions off of fear, hate and dissatisfaction. This future is only possible if we, the other 98%, make ourselves heard.