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Monday, June 17, 2024

Mike Hegedus: Stewart/Colbert ‘Love Train’ Rally Like Tapioca Pudding; Something Missing


I love the Ojays. I love the Fall. I like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I like tapioca pudding. The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear? No so much.

Now that’s not to say that The Rally didn’t prove something. In fact it proved a number of things. First, it proved that over 200,000 people were stirred up enough to stand cheek to jowl on a chilly Saturday in October on the National Mall in Washington D.C. because they needed something.

It proved that what seems like funny schtick on TV doesn’t translate well to a live performance. It proved Stephen Colbert is the tail to Jon Stewart’s dog. It proved that Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, can still sing and so can Ozzie Osborne, if they had let them. John Legend and Kid Rock can too. Sheryl Crowe has had better days. And Tony Bennett? Well, he’s Tony Bennett.

It proved that allot of people, and I mean allot, are frustrated and looking for a ‘voice’ to lead them and a place to express it. Too bad this wasn’t it. Or if this WAS it, it’s too bad it was so bland. So much like tapioca pudding. I like it, but I can’t remember the last time I had it or when I’ll have it again.

I don’t think you can diminish the accomplishment or discount what Saturday almost meant. Standing in the crowd for over four hours, so long that my feet actually bled (a Glenn Beck moment?), the anticipation was palpable at the beginning. And so was the sense of deflation at the end. Not a totally flat balloon, but one of those left over at the party, sort of just flopping on the end of the string. I stood there waiting for ‘it’. You know, that moment you’ll never forget, that ‘aha’ moment, that call to action..and then Jon Stewart stirred the crowd with a rousing plea.

‘In fact let’s leave the Mall cleaner than we found it! Let’s pick up the trash!’

A noble sentiment to be sure, in fact I think my wife teared up at that moment. But not exactly what I came for. There is nothing new about an appeal to the Silent Majority and that’s exactly what this was. Except this one happens to be Democratic. Oh, I know Stewart proclaimed this to be a ‘non-political’ rally aimed at restoring civil discourse and bi-partisanship. Sort of the Rodney King of rally’s, ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ Restoring the Golden Rule to Politics. Now there’s a campaign slogan for you.
More tapioca please.

Maybe this should be called ‘The Rally That Almost Made A Point, but Missed A Great Opporltunity and/or Fear’. In many ways it mirrored Stewart’s interview with President Obama earlier in the week. More lament than interview. ‘We believed in you and you let us down. You said you could change things and you haven’t. We are disappointed in you. Gee whiz.’ Same thing at The Rally. ‘Those bad guys at the all news networks keep lying and yelling and saying nasty things. Bad, bad guys. Stop it.’
Who wants thirds?

How special would it have been if Stewart or Colbert had urged the crowd to action, to take to the streets, to surround the Capitol or the Supreme Court buildings and not let anyone in or out until something, ANYTHING, gets done. Imagine what 250,000 people all marching for the same cause, all headed in the same direction could accomplish. Imagine.

Of course that takes leadership, that takes vision, that takes courage. Maybe that takes more than two comedians, one funny the other not so, can deliver. Maybe I expected too much. Maybe I expected a marashino cherry on my tapioca. Maybe that’ll come on Tuesday.

From The Huffington Post

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