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Thanks to the Rallyers
I couldn't make it myself, but it should be said: thank you to the folks who made the trek to Washington today. A lot of pundits tried to brush the Rally as an exercise in cynicism, but the reverse was quite clearly true: this was the most sincere expression of the romantic streak in politics -- the part that believes that there is such a thing as civility and, yes, humor in the public sphere, not just yelling louder than the other guy -- that I've seen in a while. It's a statement that needed to be made, and it was made well. So my thanks to all of you.

(This is only underscored as I sit here, trying to watch an evening news that is saturated by ugly political ads from both sides, that are filled with largely baseless accusations, each one shriller than the one before. It's pretty clear to me where the real cynicism is these days...)

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You're welcome. It was the first time that there was a political rally whose message resonated so strongly with me that I had to go. Take it down a notch indeed.

Oh please. It wasn't any rally for people. It was a media ploy by the media for the media.

Not surprised by the people falling for it.

Speaking of cynicism...

Seriously -- *all* rallies are created by somebody with an outsized ego, crying out, "Look at me!" Yes, that's true of Stewart and Colbert, but it's far more true of pretty much every other rally of the past decade. I mean, Beck's rally a while ago (the one this was heavily satirizing) was *much* more of a cynical media-driven event. At this point, it's hard to say exactly where the sincere impulses of the Tea Party end and the commercial interests of Fox News begin.

(Yes, I'm willing to credit that the Tea Party stood for something real when it was created. But that hasn't been true for at least the past six months, as its messages have become increasingly incoherent and its political power agenda increasingly naked and ordinary.)

When you get right down to it, the important question isn't the agenda of the people who called for the rally, it's that of the people who attend. I know a lot of those who did, and their message was loud and clear. The phrase "Rally for Sanity" is resonating with a lot of people.

And frankly, I think you're incorrect about the motives of at least the headliners here. Sure, the corporate sponsors (including the network) were in this to make a buck, but there's a decade of evidence that Stewart and Colbert are, if anything, sometimes a bit too sincere for their own good. You can validly accuse them of being more liberal than you like (I think that's very likely), but I think they're much more intensely interested and sincere about politics than the vast majority of politicians...

As if an action by a quarter-million or so people can be said to be for only one purpose?

There's this myth going around that the only way a person can do good is if they reap no benefit from their actions. To my mind, this is a silly notion. Mother nature figured out long ago that properly done, altruism is about helping yourself by helping others.

You don't believe me? Ask your mitochondria. Your aerobic lifestyle is based on the fact that two things with different needs can work together to serve both.

I am solidly convinced of the sincerity of the people involved. I have seen Stewart's film roles - the man can't act. His "keynote" was not a persona - it was the man speaking for himself, and by extension the people who work for him and with him.


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