Focus political thought on rationale, not hysteria

Editorial Board

If you’re a college student with access to Comedy Central, you probably get your news from “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report.” In fact, both saw double-digit increases in summer viewership by the college-age demographic, both are recipients of the Emmy and Peabody Awards, and together constitute a political force to be reckoned with.

We’re not sure what to make of those calling their credibility into question. Colbert recently testified on behalf of the United Farm Workers’ ‘Take Our Jobs’ program in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Some dismissed it as shtick, including lawmakers, despite a somber final statement from Colbert, “It seems like the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come here … And at the same time, we invite them here and ask them to leave … I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them, [but] migrant workers suffer and have no rights.”

The Daily Show’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” — slated to take place from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 30 along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — has gained the attention of skeptics and supporters alike, including President Barack Obama. Stewart hasn’t been pulling punches in his criticisms of the commander-in-chief’s work performance, yet still enjoyed a high-level endorsement of his political rally at a political rally.

We’re definitely fans of both shows, and what the “Rally to Restore Sanity” is trying to accomplish. It seems as though we’ll never run out of things to say regarding the increasingly hyper-polar track politics has been on, something that’s the fault of both politicians and the news media covering them. One of those things that needs to be addressed is currently being avoided by politicians.

A potential pitfall of comedians serving society as pseudo-prophets of the political realm is this: The important issues aren’t funny. No matter how much we want to put clown shoes on them, they won’t stop being deadly serious. Something that America has accepted is that it takes money to solve problems. Something that we have trouble accepting is that this money comes from taxing our wages. No one wants to hear about raising taxes in these hard economic times. 

We desperately need to raise taxes in order to keep entitlement programs alive, but you won’t hear a peep about that until after the elections. It seems that both parties are content with blaming one another for our current fiscal struggles, or using sensitive subjects like immigration and LBGT rights to sway voters. We really wish social issues could take a back-burner to plans for solving more pressing concerns, but it seems as though theatrics will be the norm through November.

A call for civility and rationale is something we can all stand behind. No matter what your politics are, we find ourselves on a slippery slope of debt and unhealthy lifestyle. We should not be content with wearing the generation “me” label, nor should we allow apathy to replace action.

Satire might be humor, but it’s not as though we’re missing the point. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are good at what they do and are a welcome alternative to the punditry and hysteria of the big network news organizations.

Who knows, maybe the rally will serve as a catalyst for accomplishment. Maybe common sense will prevail. We can only hope.