The Facebook groups behind Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Stephen Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive” are now up and running. Within just 24 hours of the rallies’ being announced, tens of thousands of people have already pledged to attend. Unfortunately, for Colbert, sanity seems to be gaining more followers than fear. The Facebook page behind Stewart’s rally has over 23,000 people pledging to attend, and 12,000 saying they might attend. Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive” page has a little over 10,000 pledging to attend, with 4,000 saying they might attend.
The movement to hold some kind of rally began after Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” event. A Facebook page and website were created to plead with Stephen Colbert to hold a “Restoring Truthiness” rally to mock Beck. Even though the cause was directed at Colbert, eventually, Stewart joined in, and he now seems to be dominating the event.
Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive” are both scheduled at the same time (10-30-2010 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and place (Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C). The two comedians are acting as though their two events are in direct conflict with each other, but, in fact, they both seem to be serving the same purpose.
In his announcement, Stewart said “Restoring Sanity” was about giving a voice to the 70-80% of the American public who are reasonable, but overshadowed by the 20-30% of radicals who dominate the political conversation. The website behind “Restoring Sanity” describes it in the following way:
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. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.
The details are still murky, but Stewart hints that he plans to raise the level of political dialogue by hosting people to have real discussions on real issues that are affecting the country – a lofty goal indeed.
Colbert will be accomplishing the same goal, only in a different way. Those familiar with Colbert know that he most effectively makes his point by mocking others. Colbert typically takes a position of conservative politician and proceeds to expand and exaggerate it to demonstrate how absurd it really is. In his “March to Keep Fear Alive” event, Colbert likley will be using the same tactic to discredit those who use fear to further their political agenda.