I’m visiting Washington D.C. with my family, and this morning decided to take a run past the U.S. Capitol to take some photographs of the Capitol building before the sun came up. The dome is beautifully lit at night.
But then, when I got to the Mall, I could barely see the Capitol dome. Blaring lights from the set being erected for John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear were getting in the way of my ability to see the U.S. Congress.
I couldn’t think of a better metaphor than that for my view of the Stewart-Colbert rally. In a time of serious problems and complicated debates, Stewart and Colbert have managed to convince a huge number of Americans that the issues can all be boiled down to the idea that too many Americans take politics too seriously.
When I look at voting rates, and the extent of Americans’ ignorance of the most basic political facts, I can’t agree with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert that if everyone would just stop being so serious about bad mean politics, everything would be okay. We need less mediocre, mumbling, apathetic “moderation”, not more of it. The facts do not automatically align with what seems nice. The truth is not often right in the middle of opposite extremes.
Jokes are amusing, but they don’t solve problems. If Americans would spend the daily hour they devote to watching John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s comedy routines to browsing the Congressional Record instead, our nation would be in much better condition.