I feel so helpless and confused
Cause I hear screaming on the left
Yelling on the right
I'm sitting in the middle
Trying to live my life
Cause I can't stop the war
Shelter homeless, feed the poor
I can't walk on water
I can't save the sons and daughters
Well, I can't change the world
And make things fair
The least that I can do
The least that I can do
The least that I can do is care
That is a portion of the lyric from a song, Care, performed by Kid Rock, T.I. and Sheryl Crow at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, D.C. It's a bittersweet tune, sad and uplifting at the same time, and it made me weepy as I listened to it live on television Saturday. I'll get back to that, but first:
The moment I heard Jon Stewart's announcement of this rally in September, I wanted to go and had I been living still in Maine or New York City, I would have even though one of my top two or three pet hates is crowds. But from Oregon, particularly given the pain of air travel these days (another top pet hate), it was just too far and too expensive.
(My friend and fellow elderblogger, Frank Paynter, did go to the rally – all the way from his home in Wisconsin. You can see Frank's photos and commentary at his blog, Listics.)
To attend in spirit, on Saturday morning I tuned the little TV next to my desk to CSPAN and thought I'd catch up with some personal housekeeping chores on the computer while the rally played in the background. I didn't get far with that; mostly I watched the tube.
I've been a Jon Stewart fan from the beginning of The Daily Show. I appreciate what his compatriot, Stephen Colbert, does but I prefer Stewart's brand of silliness particularly when it is at its most juvenile. Not many comedians can make me laugh out loud – certainly not when I'm at home alone - but Stewart manages to do it regularly.
And I like his earnestness. Peeping out from under the silliness, profanity, schtick, one-liners, skits, jabs, jeers and all, he really wishes our world to be a better place than it is. And it seemed to me on Saturday that that was what the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was all about no matter who or what caused the mess we are in.
There was a marvelous moment at the rally when Stephen Colbert, in character, was carrying on about being fearful of all Muslims. Stewart interrupted to introduce Kareem Abdul Jabbar, a convert to Islam, causing Colbert – a Jabbar fan – to cave.
Would that it could be as easy to change minds as in a comedy sketch.
In dissecting, from time to time, the importance (or not) of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, the media universally refers to his youthful audience. I hope they were watching on Saturday. There were at least as many gray heads as youngsters there, many of whom traveled the breadth of the United States to attend.
With that in mind, I wonder if anyone doing wrap-ups of the rally will make a comparison to Woodstock – sans mud, of course. There was a similar feeling of camaraderie and togetherness I felt from the crowd coming through my television screen. And, a sense of relief from the pernicious screaming and yelling that has been the motif of this midterm election campaign.
Which brings me back to Kid Rock's song.
I haven't paid much attention to popular music since disco took over in the 1970s. I know Kid Rock's name only vaguely from the celebrity noise machine that never stops, and I was surprised when I checked Wikipedia to find that he “has been an outspoken supporter of the Republican Party” and, in the 2004 presidential campaign, of George W. Bush.
But he has written a song, included on his newest album to be released later this month, that mirrors my own feelings of helplessness for us all in these terrible times.
Every day, the news reminds me there is so much that needs fixing and so little I can do. Maybe my weepy response to Kid Rock's song is the best kind of result that can come from Jon Stewart's rally – that a flaming, old liberal/progressive like me unexpectedly found some common ground with a young(ish) Bush Republican.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marcia Mayo: Proud