Rally for Sanity

by Margaret Martin Barry

I was driving back from the rally for sanity, when I heard Andrea Seabrook’s report on NPR.  I wrote a response to NPR and thought I would share and expand a little on the blog.  Seabrook called the rally odd.  I agree that there was time lost on what seemed to be no more than goofing around, but that in and of itself had a message Seabrook either did not understand or did not take the time to analyze.  One of the points that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were making is that people are hungry to rally around something, anything that is contrary to the absurdities they are fed on a daily basis by the media and politicos, to the extent there is a difference.

That Seabrook compared the rally to the Glenn Beck’s in terms of size, content and attendance, was simply inaccurate.  I can understand being innumerate, but a rough look at the Mall would have made clear that there were many times the number of people at this rally.  In terms of content, the message was respect for ideas, thoughtful dialogue and the hard work of developing one’s ideas based on factual investigation and analysis.  That was 180 degrees from what Glenn Beck was trying to evangelize.  Furthermore, this rally in no way attempted to cynically co-opt the civil rights movement to preach the opposite. 

Third, many attending the rally yesterday were there to say that the tea party is not as representative as NPR and other media would have us think.  I saw no racist, anti-gay, hateful posters like I saw at the Beck rally.  I saw no poster of the President of the United States in whiteface with a red lipstick slash across his mouth.  (On this point, it is worth reading Philip Kennicott’s Op Ed in the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/05/AR2009080503876.html ).   I was reassured by the large numbers that wanted to express what Jon Stewart finally got to at the end of the rally:  we should not be dragged around by the media and its reporters/pundits – the line is eroding daily; when we step away from political parties and the interest groups that influence them, we can connect with each other, share ideas, respectfully differ, seek leaders who call on us to do what we have taken the time to understand is right, and get things done.

On this Sunday before the Tuesday mid-term elections, think about who is running and which party gives us the greatest opportunity to achieve what we know is right.  Get out and VOTE for the candidates that support that party, and then CONTINUE to work on what needs to get done!