Daily Show host and political satirist Jon Stewart announced on his program Thursday night that he will be organizing a political rally at the National Mall in Washington D.C. on Oct. 30, 2010.
Stewart made the announcement during his opening monologue in the type of serious tone rarely seen on The Daily Show. He went on to blame “the loud folks” for dominating the national conversation on important issues even though they make up only a fraction of the political spectrum.
Stewart stated in the broadcast, “We live in troubled times with real people facing very real problems. Problems that have real if imperfect solutions that I believe 70-80 percent of our population could agree to try and could ultimately live with. Unfortunately, the conversation and process is controlled by the other 20-30 percent.”
He went on to explain that the viewpoint of the majority of Americans are largely ignored, “Most likely because you have shit to do.”
The one-day event called “The Rally to Restore Sanity” is aimed at attracting moderates that don’t normally get politically involved.
According to the rally’s website, “The event is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority.”
An equal opportunity critic, Stewart called out politicians and pundits from both major political parties as being the cause of the current political climate. Although he was serious about the issues, the overall mood of the segment was jovial and celebratory.
At one point, he poked fun at activist and conspiracy theorists by bringing out some of his own hand made signs with slogans such as, “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler”, and “9/11 was an outside job.”
Not to be outdone, Stephen Colbert, former Daily Show correspondent and current host of The Colbert Report, made a similar announcement on his program immediately following The Daily Show, that he too will be hosting a political rally at the exact time and location as Stewart’s.
The event called the “March to Keep Fear Alive” is a reference to the fear-based political campaigns and media coverage that have dominated the American political system in years past.
Colbert seeks to ‘counter’ the Stewart rally by reminding everyone that “freedom, liberty, and fear are the bedrock principles of America”, and that “reason is just one letter away from treason.”
In his program, Colbert often plays the political opposite of Stewart, masquerading as a fierce conservative and lover of all things Republican. Stewart and Colbert have been hinting at the event ever since Glenn Beck hosted his own “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial in late August.
There has been much speculation as to whether the rallies are just a hoax, but according to Daily Show spokesman Steve Albani, a single permit application for both events at the Washington Monument has been submitted to the D.C. National Park Service with the expected headcount listed at 25,000.
Although the permit has yet to be granted, both Stewart and Colbert have already instructed their fans to book flights and hotels as soon as possible. So far, few details about the event have been made public, but both Stewart and Colbert are expected to co-host with various special guests.
The rally will act as a grand finale of sorts for The Daily Show which will already be filming in D.C. that week, and is expected to focus on the upcoming Nov. 2 mid-term elections.