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Viewing the ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’

The rally was October 30 held on the historic National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was billed as apolitical and in truth had a little of everything--certainly more comedy and music than politics. And with all the political ads we’ve had leading up to this past mid-term election it was a welcome relief.

John Stewart and Steven Colbert were the co-hosts/MCs and organizers of the rally, and since Stewart gave Colbert his start on The Daily Show, I guess you could say it all started with Stewart.

Back in my days in California, I was friends with Geri Miller, who was dating Stewart at the time. It was way before fame and fortune hit him. He is now such a rising star that President Obama went on his show to try and recover some of the youthful voting base from his 2008 election into office. And Stewart didn’t give Obama much slack in his interview, even though he is obviously a fan of the president. He asked Obama some tough questions and didn’t let him get away with saying his economic advisor Larry Summers was doing a “heck of a job” which was an echo of Bush’s “Brownie did a heck of a job” after Katrina. ("You don’t want to use that phrase dude.") And when asked if the message of the 2008 election for hope and change now had some exceptions, Obama couldn’t help fall into the trap of saying, “Change is coming, BUT…” which brought laughter from his audience.

The rally was full of laughter and music from an unlikely bunch such as Cat Stevens, now going by Yusef, (and a favorite of mine), Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Tony Bennett, The Roots and even Ozzy Osbourne, who had a fake competition with Cat Stevens between “Peace Train” and Ozzy’s “Crazy train” which was all brought together with the OJ’s “Love Train.”

Even Colbert’s appearance from a Chilean mine capsule below stage harkened to recent events and international views rather than current political elections. So to some extent the rally really did avoid a blatant political tone.

But Stewart’s final words at the rally were serious in that it was about the center of sanity in the country. He poked as much fun at himself and other pundits as at any one particular political figure. And he didn’t give the left wing politicians a pass either.

What I liked about the show was when Stewart and Colbert represented the diverging views of the right and left in the country, and resulted in saying it wasn’t fear and anger that should be at the top, but what brings us all together as a nation.
I watched the whole thing again the Monday after the rally and must say there was so much going on that there was something for everyone.

And whatever your views of politics and whether you think someone “won” or “lost” this past election, the process is still working.  And that is something to be thankful for.

About Kathryn Spira

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland, OH who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County, New York. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site