Monday, October 18, 2010

Can Twenty-Somethings Make the World a Better Place?

Nina Mavrody, a twenty-something, seems to be gloomy about the capacity of members of her generation to effect change...

The Jon Stewart Rally and My Apathetic Generation

by Nika Mavrody

When Jon Stewart announced the Rally To Restore Sanity, “a million moderate march,” slated to occur at the Washington Mall on October 30th, 2010, he described it as a gathering for people that are politically “dissatisfied, but not ideological.” Stewart’s rally is intended as an antidote to the vitriol that drives American politics, a stand against the false certainty of our entrenched partisanship. Rallies demand a certain degree of conviction from their participants and Stewart & co. have taken on the formidable challenge of organizing around generalized doubt and mistrust. Though Stewart ran a clip that skewered both liberals and conservatives, the rally’s true target seems to be the Tea Party Movement, the contemporary political phenomenon that best employs rallies to inspire enthusiasm and attract attention to their cause vis-à-vis their allies at Fox News. Stewart’s rally reads as a despondent attempt to reclaim the legacy of liberal mobilization: he picks up the iconography of ‘60s-era activism in jest, aligning the Rally To Restore America with the 1963 March on Washington and, specifically, MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Though the Tea Parties’ rallies seem, in their triumphant outrage, to tonally, if not ideologically, resemble our collective national memory of the ‘60s protests, Stewart’s rally seems to rest on the assumption that exhaustion is today’s only possible form of revolt.
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