When political comedian Jon Stewart announced plans to hold a “Rally to Restore Sanity” in Washington, D.C., many wondered if it was little more than a joke. Now that planning and promotions are well under way for the event, conservatives are still left wondering.
The Oct. 30 rally, which will be complemented by a “Keep Fear Alive” rally hosted by mock-conservative Stephen Colbert, promises to be one “for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs.”
However, Stewart’s cavalier attitude toward conservative ideologies and “tea party” rallies may diminish his fan base.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center found that independent voters favor Republicans over Democrats 49 percent to 36 percent – one of the “largest shifts of sentiments among independents in decades,” according to the Washington Post.
“The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart’s satirical news broadcast, averages nearly 2 million viewers per night, according to the Huffington Post. While his numbers are impressive for a cable television program, they do not compare to the number of registered voters in Florida – about 2 million independents and 4 million Republicans that don’t agree with his views.
It appears that a rising number of Americans tend to agree that fiscal responsibility is not a laughing matter.
The Republican Party has historically included a majority of affluent Americans. However, tea party members come from all ends of the political spectrum and walks of life. Contrary to Stewart’s claim, citizens do not attend these rallies because they “don’t have lives.” They attend because they want to protect the lives they were promised by the Constitution.
The rallies will not mark the comedians’ first appearance in the capitol. Last week, Colbert testified before a House of Representatives subcommittee, turning the act into a stand-up routine at the expense of Republicans and garnering national headlines.
However, the stunt happened the same day testimonies were heard that accused Attorney General Eric Holder of refusing to prosecute New Black Panther Party members of voter fraud and intimidation because of their skin color. Yet, Colbert remained the hot topic of conversation.
Despite their political charades, Stewart and Colbert continue to beseech the public to view hardworking Americans with logical opinions as the fools.
The rally is scheduled only days before polls open for the 2010 midterm election, in which members of the U.S. Congress and state legislatures and governors are elected. One can only hope that the Comedy Central hosts’ spectacle does not lead gullible yet potent voters astray.
If Colbert and Stewart wish to comment on the state of the country, convoluting the lines between fact and farce, they should do so from the safety of their television studios. At least then, informed Americans would have the luxury of changing the channel.
Anastasia Dawson is a sophomore majoring in mass communications and international relations.