Urging Good Government Groups to Endorse "Rally to Restore Sanity"
"The era of procrastination "is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill
Washington DC- An idea has caught fire. It is an idea that has been endorsed by serious public interest groups, and it deserves to be formally embraced by all patriots. Jon Mr. Stewart is holding a "Rally to Restore Sanity" Oct. 30. Mr. Stewart is asking us to return to the real values that founded this nation. Moderation? Dialog? Reason? Talking to each other instead of vilifying one's opponent? Seeking real solutions that 70- 80% of the people can support? Seeking what unites us as Americans, rather than what divides us? Preparing for, what Winston Churchill would say, is a period of coming consequences.
A rally for the silent majority that wants public interest solutions is too good to be true, and public interest groups must seize this moment with both hands. The rally for sanity is just so"well, sane. This is a chance to mainstream the work of the public interest. Making moderation cool. This is a return to statesmanship essential to getting any serious work done.
More than 300,000 patriots have committed through face book to attend.
Pubic Citizen is holding a " What Sign Should I Bring to Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity?" and it already has more than 5,700 entries. Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post has announced that she will pay for busses to transport any New Yorker who wants to attend the Washington event. Oprah Winfrey is paying for the complete costs of Stewart's audience to attend.
Even Larry King has donated a porta potty to the rally.
Can anyone imagine what would have happened if modern tea partiers had shown up at our Constitutional Convention? The sober majestic deliberation detailed by Madison would have been nothing but shouts and jibes. It takes more to be a true American than to wear a tri-corner hat. For centuries, American democracy has been based on compromise, on erudition, on sober facts. Every generation has had the torch passed, but no one ever solved anything by demanding the government dissolve. Policy must be based on fact, not passion.
Some talking heads suggest that Mr. Stewart's rally is too polite. That we have problems that Americans should be mad and loud about. To counter, recent extremism and hyper polarization has not served us well. These commentators feel that humor is the wrong response. "While they all think that Jon Stewart's 'The Daily Show' offers a great critical analysis of contemporary politics,"UCLA lecturer Bob Samuels wrote, "I have argued that his type of humor undermines American politics by turning everything into a joke and a source of mockery."
The Founders also had deep divisions, but sought compromise in the national interest. They knew that a country divided against itself cannot stand.
The need for fact-based discussions has never been greater. The country suffers when we fail to face inconvenient truths. As Al Gore states we suffer from an "Assault on Reason" when extremists and denialists distort basic facts about climate change, energy, and science. Ignoring our limits will not change those limits. The children and grandchildren of republicans and democrats will breathe the same air, and share the same planet.
I have the privilege of working with more than 400 bipartisan good government groups have been urging passage of legislation to protect basic safety and free speech. I'm calling on each and every one of these groups to endorse the rally for Sanity. Public interest groups need to formally embrace the idea, sign petitions, host websites, help with logistics- the works.
Mr. Stewart has not released the program of who might be speaking at the rally. I hope there will be time for a few non-partisan groups to talk about pressing priorities those large majorities of the public support. Perhaps a short segment of the rally could discuss free speech issues, the safety of our global environment, open government, the need for whistleblower protection. As a practicing doctor, I would not mind if a few polite words could also be exchanged about the need for further health reforms.
I noted that Mr. Stewart made an excellent start in reaching across the aisle in his recent interview with Bill O'Reilly. Mr. Stewart and O'Reilly agreed they were equally sickened by corruption. That is the basis of a bipartisan cooperation all Americans could live with. It is an example of the cordial discussion Mr. Stewart hopes will take hold. I'm sure that all 400 good government groups mentioned above would agree.
Ronald Reagan hated "waste, fraud and corruption." Martin Luther King declared ""Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." Opposing corruption, especially in healthcare, is a powerful unifying principle.
Mr. Stewart knows this is not a time for sunshine patriots. Now, the right and the left must compromise and work together for love of our country. In years to come, let's not wonder why America Slept. Instead, this can and will be America's finest hour.
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