Comedy and politics will be on display this Saturday as Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (Colbert Report) host a “Rally to Restore Sanity.” While the live event takes place on the Mall in Washington D.C., Democrats Abroad Canada’s Montreal Chapter is organizing a rally-watching party at Champs Bar & Restaurant, 3956 Saint Laurent, in Montreal, on October 30, 2010, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Everyone is welcome and fans of political humour, satire and the right to question authority should find some satisfaction in the midst of an otherwise ugly political season south of the border. “In this atmosphere of hate-mongering and absurd accusations, Jon Stewart is consistently one of the most sane voices out there,” says Debra Lazar, who is looking forward to the rally. “Stewart has struck a chord with people who are seeking a more reasonable means of resolving their differences.”
The Rally to Restore Sanity is billed as a response to the U.S. Fox News conservative provocateur Glenn Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor, which brought hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic anti-Obama protestors to Washington in August. As Susan Bissonnette of Montreal, who will be attending the Democrats Abroad rally party at Champs sees it: “Insane: the Tea Party, Sane: Barack Obama is President of the United States.” Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity has received hundreds of thousands of RSVPs, and satellite rallies have popped up around the globe.
“There have been many mass protests at the Lincoln Memorial,” notes Byron Toben, a U.S. citizen and longtime resident of Montreal, “notably Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, and the anti-Viet Nam demonstration, but Jon Stewart`s Restoring Sanity rally augurs to be the first one to use humour in a good cause.”
Under the strain of high unemployment and the challenge of progressive political leadership, the conservative movement in the United States has rallied the public with once-thought-extreme statements about immigration policy, religious tolerance, and the social safety net. Candidates running in the U.S. mid-term elections and favoured to win have espoused repealing the recently enacted health care reform, dismantling government retirement programs, and rejecting climate change legislation.
Stewart and Colbert have taken on politicians of all parties and used humour to challenge the lack of integrity and outright corruption of power. At a recent Democrats Abroad event in Montreal, a number of people expressed the desire to attend the Rally in Washington. Instead, we have decided to gather in Montreal to watch and express our solidarity and support from the liberal enclave we now call home.
Marc Seltzer is Montreal Chapter Chair of Democrats Abroad Canada and a theatre reviewer for Rover.