And none-to-soon. As a matter of fact, you could easily make the argument that it is almost too late. The divides in this nation are as deep as they have been in recent memory. Political attack ads don't even pretend to be sane. If anything there seems to be a competition for who can get away with the most insane, unfounded, outrageous ad. “I'll see your 'scary Mexican illegal immigrants' and raise you a 'Latinos shouldn't vote.'”
And it isn't just the Right that isn't...well, right. The left plays their own version of this reactionary, thoughtless insanity. From the recent firing of NPR analysts Juan Williams for giving commentary on a show where he was taking on the role of commentator to the USDA firing Shirley Sherrod for something she said about a white farmer which was taken out of context. In both cases rational, sound minds might have contextualized their statements and made reasonable choices rather than capitulating to the either\or with\us against us false dichotomy than has been falsely set up as the prevailing narrative our our nation.
As I said, we don't really know what Stewart's (and Colbert's) plans are for the rally, but the signs being proposed for the rally (check them at at saneornot.com/sane) do give us a general idea of what might be the day's theme: “I understand the difference between, communism, fascism, and socialism and don't use the terms interchangeably,” “My political views cannot be summarized in a pithy sign,” “One of us or perhaps neither of us may be right.” At the heart of each sign: rationality, reasonableness and acceptance.
As a Christian minister, I have to say I'm majorly in favor of moving this nation away from our current wilderness of division and hate, toward a narrative of acceptance and sanity. John the Baptist brought a similar message from the wilderness in a time of political and religious divides. During a time when those with power and money were constantly taking advantage of those without, he proclaimed the coming of one that would lower the mountains and raise up the valleys; make the crooked straight; and the rough plains smooth.
Jesus did just that. Calling for the world to stop it's dividing and belittling ways, to recognize the value in everyone, to offer a helping hand to those in need, and to stop the corruption practiced by so many of the powerful. Much later in the history of the world another man would pick up the great theme of which John the Baptist proclaimed as he stood in Washington, DC and said, “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
The fear and the divide that political ads and reactionary responses to sound bites place on this nation move us further away from Jesus' vision which was so soundly reiterated in Dr. King's dream. We must not let the fear, division and thoughtlessness win out.
Clearly Stewart is no Dr. King, or John the Baptist or Jesus. But (even though the far Right will no doubt bash his message as elitist, socialist, and naïve) it does seem that, Stewart stands in the shadows of these giants in as much as, it would seem, he will be reiterating their message to us... only he'll be funnier. Let us hope, let us pray, that all flesh will see that day together.