Last week, Jon Stewart announced on The Daily Show the “Rally to Restore Sanity.” Jon Stewart is seen as a leader among liberals, and so naturally the event has been seen as a liberal effort. But sanity is something everyone ought to be able to agree on as being important. Without sanity, we cannot have a functioning democracy. But what do I mean by sanity?
By sanity, I mean healthy debates. The need for such debates may seem obvious, and indeed I hope it is, but many Americans seem to have forgotten that completely, whether by their own desires or by being swept up in hysteria. That is an incredibly dangerous thing to happen in a democracy.
A democracy thrives on debate. The strength of a democracy is measured not by its elections, but by the civility of its debates, as well as the demeanor of the losing side after the election.
In a strong democracy, there is a healthy debate where evidence is presented and the virtues and flaws of the opposing ideas are pointed out. Both ideas have positive results and negative consequences.
After the debate, the voters decide which of these two ideas are best for the country. The winning side is then able to implement its idea, and the losing side must yield to the voters’ decisions.
Does this mean the winning side was right? Of course not! But if the losers throw a fit after every vote, progress becomes impossible. Not only does this generally stall the political gears of a nation, it also changes the discussion dramatically.
Instead of admitting defeat and preparing for the next debate (for there will always be a next debate), the losing side takes a vested interest in the failure of their opponent’s plans. Since their opponent’s plans have become the national agenda, they are taking an interest in the failure of the nation.
If the agenda fails to produce what it promised, they can claim that the voters were duped. If the agenda does not fail, it is their interest to make it seem as though it has.
If, on the other hand, the losing side accepts defeat, they may win the next debate, and so both parties will have something beneficial to show their voters. If they actively engage in promoting the winning side’s idea, they will still help the country, even if it was not how they wished to support it.
If they lose one debate after the other after the other, perhaps it is time for the party to look at its message and alter itself. A platform that was appropriate one decade may be irrelevant the next. That is natural in a democracy, because it is proof of progress. One issue was resolved, and a new one has taken center stage.
There is nothing wrong with opposing this or that national agenda, but that is very different than hoping it fails. There is not a thin line between opposing an idea and fear-mongering and spreading misinformation about – there is a very clear difference.
The Rally to Restore Sanity is about emphasizing this difference. It is about breaking the deadlock in the national debate, caused by those who wish to see President Barack Obama fail. It is also about distinguishing those who wish to see the president fail from those who constructively disagree with the president.
If you are sick of being lied to by certain members of the media, wish politicians would speak to us without fear-mongering or just think your neighbors have gone a bit too far with their bumper stickers, this is the movement is for you.
There will be a “Rally to Restore Sanity” on Oct. 30 in Anchorage. For more information please visit the website, http://takeitdownanotch4ak.blogspot.com/ or send an e-mail to be put on the mailing list, [email protected]