This post, "Irony-You Have to Be Literate to Get It" - is an Op-Ed article about the Stewart-Colbert Rally to be held in Washington D.C. on October 30th, 2010. It was originally available on www.jonstewartrally.com
“Irony – You Have to Be Literate to Get It”
by Valerie Ibarra, Freelance Writer/Political Scientist/Radio Pundit
When John Stewart and Stephen Colbert visited each other’s shows to initiate a political duel to play out in Washington D.C. on October 30, 2010, guffaws and laughs filled many a cozy living room across America. Those exasperations quickly turned into incredible tingles of inspiration. Was someone actually inviting us to Washington D.C.?
For those of us who remember preemptively protesting the preemptive war in Iraq – which it turns out the Bush administration publicly lied about 953 times prior to the March 20, 2003 invasion – it’s been a long time since we have felt welcome to exercise our First Amendment muscles. In fact, the guilt-ridden media outlets have all but exhausted our attempts at healthy, rational citizenship. Instead, they’ve pumped us full of illicit narcotics commercials to help mold the upcoming and outgoing generations into docile consumers, and thus politically handicapping us by creating spectacle to obscure real information.
Funny enough, a great many of us are not so keen on relinquishing our right to think critically. Yet, the American public is inundated by fairly extreme versions of someone else’s idea of what we need to know or what we should think about others. Stewart and Colbert are a part of these media exploits, but they stand to hold a mirror to the anchors who take themselves and their viewer’s susceptibility so seriously. Well, it looks like both sides of this coin has a face, and the call to Washington D.C. on October 30th is a call for those sides to face each other on the common ground of OUR nation’s capitol.
The rallies (or rally?) stand to support a restoration of sanity and/or the perpetuation of fear in our political culture. Who will be represented there? Those who get the joke and those who view our current political environment as so funny we forgot to laugh. After years of Bush-isms and the advent of Sarah Palin-isms, one might be lead to believe that America has lost its intellectual edge. How exactly can big-picture thinkers with the vocabulary to differentiate the nuances of ideas achieve sanity when we have been taught to fear that we might be labeled as elitists? Well, let’s clear up our first point: not everyone who leads an elite lifestyle got there on merit, and not all intellectuals are living elite lives. There will likely be teachers, students, unemployed teachers and students, moms, dads, clerks, cashiers, rabble-rousers, community organizers, artists, clowns, clergy, nurses, fishermen, flirts, flamboyant figures, and anyone else with a sense of humor and a sense of justice. Note that this may sound like the makings of a political circus, but such is Congress, and the grandiose rub lies in the fact that not everyone can be billed under one or two tents of thought.
At the risk of sounding extreme, Americans are fed up with corporations running our lives with the Supreme Court’s blessing, deceptive campaigning, irresponsible bailouts, overburdening wars, ineffective or counterproductive laws, polarity at the polls, non-progressive energy policies, speculative and non-investigative journalism, development that doesn’t account for the folks who already live somewhere, tax cuts for the rich, poor schools and the environmental and economic dangers produced by unregulated industry. So, for the silent and un-labeled majority that never gets represented in the public eye, this is a chance to meet fellow Americans, share and debate ideas, build a more peaceful coexistence by listening to each other, and have a big group hug over the relief of it all.