From jumping up and down making loud, simultaneous noises to listening to the familiar strains of “Love Train” and the wit of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Saturday’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” merits comparison to the Land of Oz.
Tens of thousands of hipsters (scarecrows) descended on the United States Capitol just three days before a historic election They came not to rally for a candidate, an important issue, or a worthy cause - but to restore faith in the notion that those who really don’t care about much can get into buses and descend on the capitol in as many numbers as those who do.
They came to show their support for - or rather their lack of support - for caring too much about anything (not many tin men in the crowd). Many traveled over land courtesy of the Huffington Post; some Flying Monkeys came from all over the country on this quest. The rally was in response to the one earlier in the summer of Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck supporters, who waved patriotic banners hailing God and country.
The main draw was the comedic genius, Jon Stewart. Each day on the Daily Show he serves up laughter at everyone’s expense, putting his biting spin on the news of the day. During the last election, we learned that many young Americans actually get their news and information from Jon Stewart rather than traditional news sources. He has become a man of our times - larger than life - observing and commenting on the world without seriousness and giving the impression that he knows something we don’t.
And so at this strategic time in the nation, as thousands of lost Dorothys followed the yellow brick road leading to the rally, no doubt many thought proximity to Stewart would bring even more clarity to the confusion of the day. On the way they saw signs saying, “I masturbate and I vote.” “Jon 3:16” “ War is not free, Teabaggers. Pay Your Taxes.” “Ask. Tell” Yes, it was a real Oz, complete with “Witches for O’Donnell.” They heard an invocation thanking God for parking spaces. And then proceeding very much in the manner of Sesame Street fuzzy characters teaching “up” versus “down,” here is what they learned:
1. Littering is bad.
2. It is wrong to care very much about anything. Anyone who does is an extremist. Being an extremist is bad. We can’t be very upset about anything but we can be very upset about extremists.
(A participant with the “right” perspective gave the finger to the FOX News Satellite truck as a good example. He must have been the only lion.)
3. It is wrong to feel strongly about any religion. This lesson was begun by Father Sarducci of Saturday Night fame leading a “prayer” asking God which religion was the “right” one.
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