Rally to Restore Sanity: Moderates Are the Key

julie marshJon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity served to highlight a fact that Washington had previously consciously ignored: Moderates exist, and we exist in far larger numbers than either side of the aisle would like to admit.

The rally also drove home the point that even as moderates, we don't all agree. "Moderate" is simply a way of stating that we don't fully subscribe to either the Republican or Democratic platform. It's not a dirty word, nor does it indicate lack of passion, commitment, or patriotism.

Jon Stewart may be a comedian, but he made some damn good serious points about how we all work together every day to get stuff done -- everywhere except Washington.

Likewise, many of the rally signs may have been hilarious, but they illustrated the point that we are not each others' enemies.


CNN contributor John P. Avlon wrote a fantastic piece celebrating the rally's message of unity -- not unity of thought or belief or ethnicity or sexual orientation or religion, but acceptance of our differences and of each other in spite of those differences.

It's not just a feel-good message either. As Avlon pointed out, "we have to work together to solve problems, but our polarized politics and the partisan media are stopping our ability to reason together as Americans."

Naturally, the rally is being criticized by those on the right and on the left. Michelle Malkin writer Doug Powers called it a "Rally to Promote Democrats" and voiced hope that would-be attendees would miss both the rally and the elections. Sarah Seltzer at RHRealityCheck condemned the rally for exhorting people to "calm down" when it's the other side that needs to calm down, dammit! Again with the divisiveness; Seltzer unwittingly showed exactly why we need it by invoking the idea of sides.

I guess some people aren't happy unless there's drama. People of all manner of views and histories getting along? Bah! How boring.

The timing of the rally was perfect -- directly in advance of a midterm election that shouldn't be about taking sides or sticking it to the enemy. We need to think before we vote, not simply react to what's been done or not done.

That's not to say everyone will reach the same conclusions on the right candidate for each office. But hopefully those who are elected will accept the challenge that came out of Saturday's rally, articulated well by Avlon: "Stop playing to the lowest common denominator, stop trying to divide Americans in an attempt to conquer."

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