"BREAKING: Comedy Central estimating the attendance at the #rallyforsanity to be somewhere between 1,500 and 4 billion." — Fake_Dispatch on Twitter.
I wish I could have been at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear yesterday, but I live all the way over in California. At least the best "protest" signs are on the internet. Oh, and of course, I was able to watch the rally on Comedy Central.
Which brings me to a rather cynical thought I need to get out of the way: it was sure nice of Viacom to allow this rally to happen. Come on, I doubt anybody is truly naive enough to believe that the rally was a grassroots phenomenon. It was not. And I'm sure that ultimately Viacom will benefit from this ratings boost.
But this doesn't negate the message. On the surface it was a mock debate of sanity vs. fear. However, the real message was largely a criticism of America's "24-hour-politico-pundit-perpetual panic-conflictinator." Those are Jon Stewart's words not mine. And I doubt any team of Viacom executives were lurking in the room when this rather serious speech criticizing political and media establishments was conceived:
It's hard to believe that anybody can associate that message with a radical far-left agenda. And it's even stranger still that the far left cheers for such a staunchly moderate message.
However, I find it quite reassuring to know that Stewart and Colbert's mild-mannered crowd way outnumbered Beck's: an estimated 215,000 "restoring sanity" versus 87,000 "restoring honor" attendees.
These are "hard times, not end times." If we can all remember that, we'll be okay.