In August of last year, the American conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck organised the Restoring Honour rally. The rally was ostensibly billed as a ‘celebration of America’s heroes and heritage’ but there was an obvious political flavour to it with speakers such as Sarah Palin and a high attendance of Tea Party types. For an idea of what it was like – see this video.
In response, the liberal satirist, critic and political commentator Jon Stewart organised a response Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Stewart contended that the rally’s purpose was to represent those people outside the ’15-20%’ of Americans who ‘control the political conversation’ and whose tendency to demonise each other and engage in counterproductive actions serve no greater purpose. The ‘return to sanity’ would, it was hoped,, promote reasoned political discourse.
Whether it worked or not is hardly the point. Everyone knows the best thing about political rallies is the posters: