Sunday, October 31, 2010

Yesterday, October 30th, I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity. Yes, I was one of the several thousand people jam-packed onto the National Mall in Washington, DC. My husband and I stood nose-to-back-of-the-head with people we'd never met and will never see again. There was barely enough room to raise one's hands for clapping, yet we managed several versions of the wave as well as raising the peace sign in answer to Jusef's (formerly Cat Stevens') greeting.

Did I think I was making a point by attending? Or was I just going to enjoy a show? Yes to both.

The point is a simple one: the extremes of both political parties have had the spotlight way too long. Both sides, in conjunction with many media outlets are trying to foster a culture of fear in America. When a people are afraid, they turn to the person with the loudest voice to follow. We assembled in Washington to let our leaders know -- we are not afraid and we are tired of listening to the shouting and hate of politicians and journalists on the fringes of the right and left.

Was it a show? Yes. Satire has a long and glorious history (ever read A Modest Proposal by another Jonathan?). Stephen Colbert's personification of an American paralyzed by fears fostered by the media was priceless. The singers were good, the comedy funny -- and the point was made. All we want is quiet, thoughtful dialogue. No one is Hitler (I'm pretty sure he's dead) and the hyperbole is too much. As Jon Stewart said, "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing." (Here for the text of his speech; here to watch). A good point that reminds me of the boy who cried wolf (a story my mother made me listen to every time I tried to tell stories on my brother ).

Now you know my political leanings: I'm a moderate. :) I believe in reasonableness, tolerance and mutual respect. I believe we really CAN work together and that while there are perhaps a few things in life to fear (like dogs -- did you know I'm deathly afraid of dogs? They bite!), the reality is we can manage.

And so, to all my readers...

Play safe!

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