What to make of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear?

I will admit to being fascinated by the rally organized today in Washington DC, by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I did not go, but watched some of it live, streamed onto my PC. I also followed comments from friends I know who were there and were full of ‘amazement’, and good humour, but totally unsure of what the event was all about. I also spoke to some people who went and had a good time. I also saw the Mall absolutely packed with people having a chance to be entertained on a beautiful Fall afternoon. It was a live show by two comics, with political satire at its heart, but I think some political reality thrown in.

In a simple sense, it was good for DC with more people using Metro and also a focus on needing to restore the Mall.

The coverage was extensive, and in an age of instant sharing of images and ideas, I will not be surprised if some of these become Internet ‘must see’ or ‘must read’ in the next few days.

But, I have a sneaking suspicion that many things will flow from the rally. One is that, whether intended or not, these two comics will become more than just good late night watching, but take on a more significant role in focusing commentary. I do not see either crossing the divide and becoming totally serious politicians or commentators, but politicians are aware of the mass appeal of TV celebrities. But, in the same way that the last presidential election galvanized a group of electors who had been missing as voters for too long, the rally may galvanize that same group and others to be more interested in the politics of moderate and thoughtful, rather than, visceral opposition. I also have some concern, just based on mere observation, that the claim that those animated by the rally was a good cross-section of America. I think it was less representative than it could have been to make the previous claim, and I go back to thinking about what it is that keeps groups of Americans who have many similar views from gathering together.


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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2 Responses to What to make of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear?

  1. Nicola says:

    Nice post Dennis
    Hard to find anything in todays rally messages to criticize except that I agree it was not as representative as perhaps claimed.

  2. Steven says:

    You are quite right about this not being a cross-section of America. It was a cross-section of everyone in America minus the right-wing nuts. (There are too few left-wing nuts to count, and many of them were there anyway.) It is a sad commentary on the state of American politics today that “sanity” has been left almost entirely to the domain of the Left, with hardly anyone on the Right even bothering to try to push back.

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