A Time Poll asking “Who is America’s most trusted newscaster?” found 44 percent trust Jon Stewart over Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, and Brian Williams. Comedy Central may not be the first source popping to mind regarding political news, but with the announcement of TheDaily Show anchor’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” Chicago-area residents are inspired to get political.
Highland Park resident, Kelly Bruner Adair, has never attended a political rally, but feels strongly about the message behind restoring sanity and how a satellite rally in Chicago will affect Illinois voters, “I really think if candidates like Giannoulias (he’s the right demographic for this rally) would throw support our way it would be a wonderful thing! I really believe this rally may change a few hearts and minds, and hopefully votes in Illinois.”
Political scandal in Illinois has not only made the state a source of shame, but has also jaded many voters in the Chicagoland area. Only 27percent of registered voters turned out for the 2010 Primary Election according to the Chicago Board of Elections Commission.
Kelly Adams-Cain, a stay-at-home mother of three, believes part of the problem with voters lies in the disputes between political parties and their failure to compromise. “I hope that it will make the general public realize that not everyone is as extreme in their beliefs as the squeaky wheels would like us to believe,” she said.
While Adams-Cain worries the concept behind restoring sanity’s message won’t be taken seriously, she knows “that’s the risk, but I really hope that the men and women we voted into office see that there are more people in the middle than are in the fringe groups.”
One reason for Americans’ faith in Stewart’s commentary is The Daily Show’s equal treatment for all public and political figures. While no one is exempt from Stewart’s witty discourse, equality is only part of it. While the heart of satire is pointing out weakness and displaying it for public criticism, in doing so, viewers are challenged to think critically when regarding which news items to accept or question.
And poking fun at the state of politics today speaks to those who are tired of bickering and nitpicking when the country has larger issues requiring solutions. “I have not been to a rally since my college days in the ’70’s but I am really scared for our country,” said Diane Schaar.
Schaar doesn’t consider herself a political person, but thinks Jon Stewart makes sense, “I realize that times are hard, that people are disenchanted with the American system, but the hate and misconceptions that various commentators and politicians are spewing out are terrifying to me and seeing people take it all as gospel is even worse,” she said.
While no city permits or permissions have been granted, Angie McMahon, founder of Chicago’s Chemically Imbalanced Theater, is receiving support on her Rally to Restore Sanity Chicago Facebook page. Six weeks away from the event, McMahon continues attempts at reaching the “right” people to get the green light. “I have been told that Comedy Central will be reaching out to the other rallies this coming week…but it has not been made clear if that will just be in support and permission to broadcast or if any monetary support will be given,” McMahon reported Sunday.
At present, Chicago’s rally is still planned for October 30, from 11 am to 2 pm. While the location is still to be determined, McMahon updates the Chicago satellite Facebook page frequently as she receives news regarding Chicago’s rally. Currently, over 3,100 people are “fans” awaiting details and sharing ideas to “restore sanity” in Chicago.
Who is invited to support Stewart’s October 30 rally in Washington, DC? The Rally to Restore Sanity website speaks to “…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. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.”
Author Interviews. (2010).
Chicago Board of Elections. (2010). Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://www.chicagoelections.com/wdlevel3.asp?elec_code=70
Rally to Restore Sanity. (2010). Retrieved September 25, 2010, from http://rallytorestoresanity.com
Rally to Restore Sanity Chicago. (2010). Facebook Page. Retrieved September 28, 2010, from http://www.facebook.com/rallytorestoresanitychicago
Time Polls. (2010). Retrieved September 26, 2010, from http://www.timepolls.com/hppolls/archive/poll_results_417.html