Television personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on Oct. 30 in Washington, DC, drawing more than 215,000 people to the National Mall.
According to media reports, the event featured music, comedy and a mock debate between Stewart and Colbert. Most of the rally was sprinkled with humor, but Stewart closed the event on a serious note with a message about the media's influence in the 21st century, calling it the "country's 24-hour politico pundit perpetual panic conflictinator."
"If we amplify everything, we hear nothing," Stewart said, quoted by CNN.
Stewart and Colbert's TV shows on Comedy Central are popular among mostly left-leaning viewers, but the rally did not promote one political party over another. The message revolved around peace and unity, as Stewart dismissed the notion that the United States is a divided nation.
He said that Americans don't live their lives solely as Republicans or Democrats, but they instead work together to solve tasks every day. He directed the audience to a video clip of a traffic jam where a flow of cars crowded around the entrance of a congested tunnel. He used the traffic metaphor to show how most citizens, no matter what their political affiliation or religious belief, make concessions in order to allow society to function.
"It just seems like liberals or conservatives can't even start to talk politics without screaming their heads off anymore, even though most Americans can agree on a lot of basic things." said Cindy Long of West Virginia, who attended the rally.
A USAction Straw Poll revealed that an overwhelming majority of people at the rally support the Democratic party, but only one-fourth of those surveyed said they were enthusiastic about voting in this year's elections.
Approximately 41 percent of those surveyed at the event believe that President Barack Obama's number one priority should be improving the nation's employment situation, while 18 percent said it should be education.