I was there on the National Mall as the incredible (and incredibly odd) pageantry of the Rally to Restore Sanity unfolded.
Here's my take-aways:
This moderate concept of "Sanity" should be our focus for the next two years. Tomorrow's election is going to be one of the most insane of our lifetimes. Not because it's going to bring back Republicans, but because Americans are voting for all the wrong reasons:
- Americans, when polled, say they prefer Democrats, but will be polling for Republicans.
- Some people who are polled believe that O'Donnell is unqualified but are voting for her anyways.
The point that Jon Stewart was reaching for is that we, in the normal course of our lives, know how to work together to find compromise. But we've created a political system and a media environment in which people are punished for finding compromise, and where the least sane people have the loudest voices.
The focus was positive, and it was about getting those who are sane, who are civil, and who don't want to hate or throw things around back into the system.
And you know what? I think we can do it.
The part of the rally which was most effective, for me, were the awards. To be able to say, "You know what, this person actually was sane, actually acted in a manner that's sane. Let's make these people our heroes, instead of glorifying a guy for cussing out a passenger, grabbing beers, and jumping down the escape slide."
(although that was pretty funny).
I think every one of us should be looking at what they take part in and how they take part in it, and evaluating how we play in to the insanity, and see if there's a better way to engage.
For instance, I think The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have work to do. While it's very funny -- and very needed -- to counter-balance the insanity in the media and politics with some needed humor, we also need these venues to do that spot-lighting, to hold up those people who are genuinely able to work with other people.
Not just the people we agree with. We need to spotlight the opponents we'd like to have. We need to be able to say, "I believe this, but I'm willing to compromise."
Moving forward, that's the first step in my life. Finding those heroes. Figuring out how to spread this.