The Pioneer

Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity: A CSUEB Student’s Account

Christopher Prado

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In the wake of a potential House-changing midterm election, two brave souls rose above the political rhetoric.

Two pundits turned politicians?

Or was it two pundits seizing the opportunity to poke fun at the conservative fringe of our country?

Despite where your political ideologies may align themselves, at the end of Jon Stewart’s event his clever humor proved that Americans aren’t as extreme as the media portray us to be—we are actually a lot more unified.

Signs like “I love taxes” and a “Toasters United Against Teabaggers” were a clear indicator of the audience Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart would be speaking before, but the focus of the event remained clear and consistent—the media play a central role in painting a polarized picture of our nation’s political atmosphere.

Sticking to the theme of the event, Colbert gave awards out to those in the media who were helping to keep fear alive, while Stewart awarded everyday Americans for their unconditional ability to compromise—another consistent theme throughout the afternoon.

Stewart reiterated this message, explaining that most people reach across the aisle when it matters, saying, “We work together to get things done every damn day! The only place we don’t is here [points to Capitol Building] or on cable TV.”

“I think that point really hammers it home. I’m currently registered with a different party than the office I’m working in, but I would never mention this to my colleagues.

They wouldn’t be pleased, that’s for sure,” said Steven Avila, a business and senior at CSU Monterrey Bay.

This ever-present political toxicity in Washington as of late reinforces Stewart’s attitude toward the media.

“The country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.

The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen, or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected, dangerous flaming ant-epidemic, “ Stewart adamantly roared to an audience, who showed no opposition to his assessment of our national news stations.

Kevin Hofferd, a senior from CSU Bakersfield who is currently a registered Republican, echoes those sentiments.

“The media are destroying our ability to be critical thinkers.

Nowadays most Republicans only watch Fox and Democrats only tune in to MSNBC.

We are only doing ourselves a disservice by confining our political perspectives.

For it is when Republicans and Democrats meet in the middle to come to an agreement on legislation that they really make viable change that the country can benefit from.”

If you weren’t one of the reported 200,000- plus on the ground, you were probably one of the privileged few with a treetop view.

Regardless of your positioning in the crowd, the underlying message was not crafted to appease the liberal majority present, but to shed light on the fact that the only place we don’t get along is “here [Washington] or on cable TV”.

Stewart states an important point that exposes a flaw in how our country receives its information.

“Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundations that sustain us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans,
liberals or conservatives.

Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it—impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.”

This was the overarching message of the rally that warranted cries of approval from the crowd.

The ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’ was not a left-wing speech exclusive to the Democratic liberal base, but an uplifting sermon intended to ignite conversation across all spectrums of political affiliation.

It may have been dressed in comedic satire, but that didn’t taint the real focal point of the rally.

California State University East Bay
Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity: A CSUEB Student’s Account