by Bargain Citizen | October 31, 2010 | Ramparts360.com
The Austin version of the Rally to Restore Sanity seemed largely much ado about nothing. It could have just as well been called the Rally to Restore Absurdity, maybe the Rally to Stand for Nothing. Though it was fairly well attended, 3,000 – 3,500 by my non-scientific estimate, I found the whole affair un-inspiring, lacking any real meat on the bone.
The assembled masses seemed to partly agree. The crowd was largely unresponsive and people came and went for most of the duration of the event.
There were a handful of amusing moments from Jon Stewart via the simulcast from the Washington D.C. rally but many of his bits fell flat as did those from Steven Colbert and the local speakers.
What was hilarious, though completely lost on the crowd, were the likes of Congressman Lloyd Doggett and State Senator Kirk Watson playing to the theme by portraying themselves as moderate and reasonable. You’re kidding me, right?
As advertised, the rally was not openly partisan, at least for the most part, but liberalism still hung thick in the air. The left leaning Sierra Club was among the groups on hand, presented as a non-partisan organization and working in conjunction with Rock the Vote. (Oh great, fill young skulls full of mush a bunch of global warming hooey and then send them off to vote!)
Among other groups present were Texas Freedom Network, The Coffee Party, Coal Block and a few fellow travelers touting “Green” this or that, along with general concepts such as “fairness” and “equality”.
Some elements of the crowd seemed to celebrate an apolitical stance, their signs and attitudes conveying notions of reason, tolerance and righteousness. Most were decidedly anti-Tea Party and some were just plain stupid, apparently part of the whole rally shtick.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the event was my encounter with the lone dissenter to be found, John Tschirhart. As he has during other rallies, there he was manning his folding chair at 11th Street and Congress. The 90-year old heavily decorated veteran of World War II had his own point of view and seemed considerably more determined than those inside the Capitol grounds.
These were not the rabid lefties one might encounter otherwise but chatting with attendees revealed gross naiveté, mindless disdain for the right and a false sense of moral superiority cloaked in a desire to appear “moderate”.
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Two young activists who engaged me, clearly huge Jon Stewart fans, insisted that people “discuss things reasonably”, “know the facts” and “not react emotionally”. While I whole-heartedly agreed, as the conversation moved to specifics it devolved into a bizarre exchange.
The two shrugged off the national debt, seemingly oblivious that it might be a source of concern, one supposing it was $3 trillion while the other had no idea. Discussing health care incited the ever popular knee-jerk plea “for the children” and the need for the rich to “pay their fair share”.
The kicker came when I pointed out that we had more government than we could afford and we would have to deal with entitlement reform. Inquiring if they were concerned about the integrity of Social Security, one retorted that I was suggesting “old people should just eat cat-food.”
Okay, as it turned out, there was nothing to discuss reasonably after all.