DynamicShift leaders Alan and JoAn Paymar joined the Rally to Restore Sanity, where they found in the “sea of people” the collective strength of cross-partisan ideals. In people, who like themselves, felt “empowered to express their concerns.” Here, they share their observations of the public event serving as a national call-to-action for a critically needed new attitude about the power and importance “real” citizens can, and must, voice–together.
The Jon Stewart/Steven Colbert October 30th Rally to Restore Sanity &/or Fear at the Washington, D.C. Mall had a non-political, balanced agenda and tone, and attracted up to 250,000 people according to reliable, non-partisan estimates. The sea of people extended from the Capital to the Washington Monument, and was limited only by the Park Department’s limiting the space available. Yet, the group, which included all ages from infants to the elderly, was orderly, sober, and seemed to feel empowered to express their concerns.
By any measurement, the Rally reached its goals of entertaining, expressing people’s concerns, and promoting dialogue about polarization and fear tactics that exist to a great extent in the government and media today. However, there was humor, as well as patriotism in the form of the entertainers, and the creative signs that Stewart encouraged on his cable television show.
The Rally and its attendance demonstrated that in recent years compromise seems to a large extent missing in politics, while the media has chosen to use fear to attract readers and viewers. This is occurring at a time when many urgent and difficult issues such as the economy, unemployment, health care, wars, deficits, environment, etc. must be addressed.
Jon Stewart’s closing speech included concerns that while the country’s 24 hour political pundits didn’t cause our problems, they have made solving them that much harder by creating conflict, partisanship, and fear. He felt that “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing”. Terms such as terrorists, racists, socialists, Stalinists, and theocrats are thrown around too readily, and he felt that “if we overreact to everything we actually get sicker”. He stated that we work together every day to solve impossible problems by the little reasonable compromises that we all make, yet we don’t on cable T.V. and in politics.
Stewart feels that if we are to solve our problems, we will need to work together and compromise for the good of the country in order to reach a win-win situation rather than the winner/loser scenario that we have today.
By Alan and JoAn Paymar, co-leaders DynamicShift