by Ross Sharp

The variety of signs and good-natured humour on display at Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity goes some way to restoring my own faith in the sanity of so many of those Americans whose common sense and moderate views are too often swamped by a cacophony of stupidity …

“What exactly was this?” Mr. Stewart asks. “This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.”

“Not being able to be able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves, who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate.”

“The press is our immune system,” Mr. Stewart says. “If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker. And perhaps eczema. And yet, with that being said, I feel good. Strangely, calmly good.”

In the news media, Mr. Stewart says, we hear of the fragility of our country, how we’re on the brink of catastrophe, how it’s a shame we can’t work together. “The truth is,” he says, “we do.”

Mr. Stewart invokes the metaphor of a traffic merger at the Lincoln Tunnel, “You go, then I’ll go.” “Sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst.”

UPDATE: “I will not be voting Republican on November 2nd because I have a memory” …