I still haven't been blogging on political matters the way I used to. The discourse in this country has gotten so low, the standards of both parties so poor, that I no longer feel as if they are speaking to me or anyone I know. The Democrats can't manage to stand up for one principle, all the while blaming all their problems on the Republicans. The Republicans, of course, are reprehensible beyond all belief, refusing to go along with a single thing the President wants done.
The Democrats buried the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal in some obscure part of a military spending bill, then tacked on some other controversial stuff (the DREAM Act)and then didn't let the Republicans make every single amendment they wanted to make.
So as usual the Republicans had a hissy fit, got their 60 votes to vote the whole thing down, effectively killing DADT repeal until after the election, at the very least. Naturally the Republicans probably would've voted it down anyway, just for spite, but they were able to come up with some plausible, if silly, reasons to do it at this particular time.
As ever, the GOP bears the greatest responsibility for having once again denied LGBT Americans from openly serving in the armed forces. But I can't help but wonder if the Democrats could've handled it better. Either way, it is just one more sign of the massive divisions in this country, and how no one in government can manage to get anything done.
...Which brings us to Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity. Last Thursday night, September 16, on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced that he is holding a rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 30, 2010, to "Restore Sanity." Using a montage of video clips, he demonstrated the extremist rhetoric on both the left and the right.
He pointed out that 70-80% of the population is not part of the far left or far right, but we never hear from them "because you have sh*t to do."
See below for the full announcement:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Rally to Restore Sanity|
His announcement, done in tandem with Stephen Colbert, was followed by Stephen Colbert's own announcement for a rally on the same day: His satirical "March to Keep Fear Alive.".
Both rallies will happen simultaneously on the Mall and no doubt will attract the same type of audience members, as I'm sure they planned.
Something about these rallies, particularly the idea of restoring sanity, has resonated with many Americans. Not only have over 100,000 people said they are attending on Facebook, but satellite rallies are being formed all over the country.
Now, I am not a person who goes to rallies; in fact, I really don't like crowds at all. The only march I ever went on was in 1972 when I was a freshman in college, and on the first Earth Day, everyone marched on Boston Common protesting the war (Vietnam of course) and marching for the environment. Then they stopped having marches. The apathy of the 70s began and that was the end of it all, at least for me. Maybe the beer was part of the reason, I'm not sure.
Anyway, when I heard about the Rally to Restore Sanity, my first reaction was, "Let's go! We should DO this!" My husband grunted and ignored me. It was 11:15 p.m., he was tired, he figured I'd forget about it by the next day. But I didn't. I started talking about it again. He said I was nuts, he said "This is no 1963 march on Washington - they're COMEDIANS! They're trying to make money!" But I persisted. It also helped that a very good friend of mine, who is always up for doing something spontaneous, also thought it was a great idea. So guess what? We're all going! Me, DH, my friend, her husband and probably even their daughter.
Not only are we going, but many of my blogger and Facebook friends are going. People I haven't seen since college are going. This could be big.
"So what," you may say. "Your husband's right. Jon Stewart is just a comedian. Why are people taking this seriously, as if it matters?"
The answer is, he has struck a nerve with the American people. I think everyone is sick to death of hearing the wrangling going on in Congress. Nothing gets done. The Republicans in government are perfectly happy with that, but most Independents and moderate Republicans in the Real World are not. Those of us on the left are sorely disappointed that so many of the changes Candidate Obama promised are not taking place under President Obama, or if they are, they are being watered down until they are but a shadow of what was promised, just to get them past the Congress.
Those of us who have worked in the business world know that nothing gets done unless people are willing to see the other side of things, and to work with those with whom they may not see eye-to-eye. But in Congress, it seems as if the participants never learned this. To them, it's "My side has to win at all costs." They don't care whether their "win" is a win for the American people or not.
Politics doesn't just make strange bedfellows. Politics also makes people power-hungry, greedy and angry. I'd be willing to bet that testosterone levels go up in members of either gender once they get involved in politics.
One reason is, there is something wrong with a system that has House Representatives up for re-election every two years. For all intents and purposes, these people are campaigning 24/7 for 24 months. There is never a real opportunity or incentive to settle down and work with each other, especially since the whole House turns over at once, every election cycle. Those elected to the Senate, at least, have six-year terms, which allow them some opportunity to actually do some work, which is why the Senate appears marginally more sane than the House. However, there is still always someone up for re-election each cycle, so it's not as if politics doesn't play a part at all times there as well.
And what about the poor President? He has a four-year term, but after the first two years, he too is starting to run for re-election. Heck, the other side starts thinking of who they're going to put up against him next time during the month after his election!
At one time, when the Founding Fathers first came up with the idea of the Congress, they had no idea there would be people who made a career out of being in politics. They never envisioned six-term or seven-term Congressmen, or Senators who served 40 years in office. They thought people wouldn't want to be away from their farms that long; that one term, or maybe two, would be quite enough. It is time for a change in how Congress does business. We need longer terms, and fewer of them, for the House, and term limits for the Senate.
But I digress. "What about Jon Stewart's Rally?" you say. "I thought that's what we were talking about."
It is. But one reason for the partisan politics getting worse and worse is the constant election cycles, as well as, of course, Cable News shows - "News" being a term I use loosely, since none of these shows are news shows anymore, they are all partisan on one side or another.
The media truly is the message. That's why all we see on these shows are the Tea Partiers. It doesn't matter that these people are a small part of the total population, they're making all the noise, and they're getting all the publicity. Glenn Beck's rally in Washington had all kinds of coverage on every station, and the pictures of the rally showed a sea of faces at the Mall, giving the impression that his followers are a huge Movement.
Now, finally, the rest of us have a chance to have OUR say. Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" will give the moderates (and liberals - since most of Stewart and Colbert's fans lean left) - a chance to show their numbers. Even among liberals, many of us decry the nasty discourse on both sides of the aisle, and the inability of either side to work meaningfully together.
According to CNN contributor, John Avalon,
"This isn't a concealed campaign rally for either party. It's a counterprotest against the rising tide of conformity that causes hyperpartisans to demonize people with whom they disagree. It's the anti-demagogue Saturday on the mall; people taking to the streets and yelling, 'Be reasonable!'"
That said, I do hope that the excitement generated by this gathering will help propel the moderates and independents to the polls, and energize them to vote for the more reasonable candidate of their choice. Otherwise we might end up with a Congress full of Tea Party representatives.
Jon Stewart likes to point out that he specializes in "fake news" and is a comedian. But when you're voted the most trusted man in news, that means you have a responsibility to uphold. I think he is up to it and that this rally will be an amazing event. I look forward to seeing many fellow bloggers and Facebook friends there, as well as friends from my own town. And if you're not going to Washington, I encourage you to go to a satellite rally in your area if they are having one!