Jon Stewart, Political Leader? What Do You Think?

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, listeners said they are inspired by The Daily Show's "Rally to Restore Sanity" October 30 in Washington D.C.

When The Daily Show's Jon Stewart announced a Rally to Restore Sanity last week, Brian Lehrer Show listeners found a cause they could get excited about, but not too exited. Stewart announced the October 30 rally this way:

The rally to restore sanity. We will gather, we will gather on the national mall in Washington D.C. a million moderate march, where we take to the streets to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says we are here. We're only here until six though, because we have a sitter. A clarion call for rationality.

On Tuesday's show a series of callers said they'd be joining the comedian/newsman in his plea for more reasoned, less overheated political discourse.

John from Ridgefield Park, NJ typified the Brian Lehrer Show listener/Daily Show viewer when he explained that people need to be able to go to work or sit on the bus next to people they disagree with. John said Americans too often demonize people with whom they disagree.

We spend so much time running to the extremes that we no longer are able to relate to the other side. When you hang a label on yourself, or on someone else it's usually based on some very surface level things, or let's just say 25 percent of what that person is. But there's a whole other 75 percent trhat you can agree on, that you can find points of commonality.

Rather than rally by drawing Hitler mustaches on posters or drenching themselves in blood or oil, Brian Lehrer Show listeners indicated they were interested in supporting discourse and respectful exchange of ideas, continued John from Ridgefield Park.

I've already kind of picked out my sign. The front is just going to be empty quotes. And the back, I haven't quite worked out the wording yet, but something along the lines of, I'm being quiet and listening to you. Maybe you should listen to you.


Displaying remarkable levelheadedness, Lorraine from Newark said she'd be attending the rally with her teenage son. She's trying to teach him to that even political antagonists share basic values.

As far as what I tried to instill in my son, it's really, listen to both sides. And like the last caller, I do agree with him that most of what somebody else is saying is representative of maybe an extreme view, but the rest of what they stand for and even how they live, I mean, everybody loves their family.

Listen to the entire reasonable, non-hysterical conversation at The Brian Lehrer Show. What do you think? Are you planning a trip to Washington? Not sure how serious to take all this? What's all this say about the current political moment?