So will you be “activated” in Washington D.C.?

Rick Hanton

Right now I know that a few ISU students will be traveling at the end of October to Washington, D.C. to participate in the rallies that Comedy Central personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert plan to host there. But why are these students planning to travel more than 1,000 miles for a rally or march, each orchestrated not by a politician, but by a comedian? Maybe they just want to show their support for Comedy Central’s political satire and have some fun while doing it.

A friend of mine who is flying to D.C. noted that he is planning to stay at the house of a fellow redditor — a user of — and is trusting that he won’t have any issues staying with someone who he only vaguely knows online. But he is not the only one finding a cheap flight in and a couch to sleep on. There have been reports of groups across the country planning to fly or drive in for the single-day event.

I won’t argue that, as an avid user of Reddit and viewer of Stewart and Colbert, I would definitely have a fun time going myself. But besides going to D.C. to enjoy myself with others my age and celebrate the comedic relief Colbert and Stewart bring to our polarized political climate, will this rally truly “activate America’s youth” to vote this November? I certainly hope so.

I feel like something must be amiss with the government when my three favorite political minds are all comedians — Al Franken, Stewart and Colbert, if you were wondering. It seems like a good thing that they are trying to bring young people with new ideas to Washington D.C. to try and influence all the lifetime politicians on the hill who have been slow in recent years to bring any changes to the way our country operates.

We need new voices with new ideas who challenge the status quo of the professional politicians who make Washington D.C. their home. I feel that with the help of Comedy Central, Stewart and Colbert, the kings of political satire, have done a good job of taking on this task and challenging many of our politicians in recent years.

These comedians are not trying to make a mockery of the political process, but are trying to “Restore Sanity” to politics in America — Stewart more directly and Colbert as a satirical pundit. They don’t want to rally for one or the other major political party; they want to bring people from both parties together in respectful disagreement.

I doubt that too many students today are super-conservative or super-liberal. These moderate citizens are just the sort of folks that Stewart wants to have in attendance. It’s not about having a shouting match; it’s about having a well-reasoned argument between people of different thoughts and views. We need to tell Congress and the nation that this type of reasoned argument based on facts is what politics should be all about.