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At Cornell, restoring ‘sanity’ means restoring leftist thinking

On the day before midterm elections, Cornell’s main drag was host to Democratic candidates taking the podium and Cornell leftists taking it to the streets.

Cornell’s ‘Get out the Vote’ rally on Monday was originally a byproduct of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’ – a satellite gathering designed to encourage students to seize their opportunity to ‘restore sanity locally.’ As the event began to take shape, however, it changed from a celebration of youth voting to a mechanism for eliciting blue ballot punches.

Republican political figures from the surrounding area were not actively pursued, while Democratic ones were chosen to speak to the audience that convened on Ho Plaza. The Tompkins County Democrats are sponsoring the event, since the Cornell Dems were busy out of town at Colbert’s rally. Those who attended include Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, and candidate for NY Senate Pam Mackesey.

Hinchey: Upstate NY’s leading progressive; Lifton: anti-hydrofrac queen and illegal alien guru; Mackesey: Union veteran and Andrew Cuomo’s #1 fan. Dems all across the board.

As Seinfeld might say, ‘not that there’s anything wrong with that!’ People’s personal rally preferences are nobody’s business but their own.

Our rally’s relevance lies not in its propagandist approach but in its insight to a larger issue. As is often the case, Cornell’s campus serves as a microcosm of the greater country, an Upstate petri dish where one can study political movements without leaving the front porch.

For an event whose catchphrase was excited for Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s rallies in DC this weekend?, things sure got real partisan, real fast.

The political nature of Cornell’s rally is not a departure from the supposed neutrality of Comedy Central’s ‘Sanity Rally.’ It is in fact a prima facie case of a predominately liberal movement whose key player is the ‘omniscient observer:’ the disenchanted youth, the educated idealist, the political satirist. It is the 18-34 year olds who are just so inundated with rationality that the only way to view the Tea Party is as a plaid-laden Halloween costume.

Colbert and Stewart’s rally was a political one indeed, whether intentional or not. Jon Stewart represents a belief just as Glenn Beck represents a belief, and Beck draws a particular voter, just as Stewart does. While Stewart’s demonstration is comedic by nature, it unavoidably attracts a specific audience. This fact was quickly demonstrated by the rally’s attendants, ‘protest’ signs, and memorabilia, most of which were direct shots at the Tea Party and Republicans in general. One Getty Images photo of a man giving the bird to a Fox News truck captured the attitude rather succinctly.

The omniscient observers that convened for the satirist’s rally are an abstraction of an emerging ideology that finds its roots in arrogance and disingenuousness. Its teachings are embraced by people who buy into the far left’s portrayal of conservatives as archaic racists, xenophobes, and war-mongers. When progressive, passionate Democrats are pitted against hateful, imbecilic Republicans, the voter needs only one asset to fall back on: ‘reason.’

Amazingly, many accept this fabricated ballot sheet. They view themselves as too philosophically sophisticated and too politically prescient to be troubled by the mundane and pedantic criticisms of crazies that object to stagnant economies, governmental social overreach, and deaf representatives.

For the omniscient observer, sanity is not reasonable thinking, it is reasonable leftist thinking. A rally to restore sanity is a rally to restore liberality – it is the only viable option given such a narrow spectrum.

This too-smart-to-be-serious mentality is a perfect complement to the same group’s classic evasion technique of straw-men and misplaced criticisms. If it’s not drawing up obscene descriptions of Republican candidates, the latest craze in liberal commentary this past year has been to ‘lash out’ against Obama – just like everyone else, with an open mind and change-oriented attitude!

From New York Times’ Maureen Dowd to Cornell Daily Stun’s Tony Manfred, liberal writers everywhere are patting themselves on the back for stepping out from their comfort zone to take a feigned jab at President Obama. Whether it’s grumbling about his sluggish approach to gay rights or critiques of his speaking tone when addressing the Gulf oil spill, they never quite manage to file a legitimate complaint.

It’s Obama’s mantra, his personality, his moderate policies, and his promise-completion-rate that’s deserving of outrage, not his overhaul of healthcare or financial regulations.

Yet for a group of people who once painted the town with O-rainbows and Hope Portraits, they are most certainly opposed to any new change. For a group of students attending a ‘sanity rally’ sponsored by the Tompkins County Democrats, there sure is a great void of objectivity. Contrary to the claims of conservatives being the outdated ideologues, the Left has shown that it can’t be budged from its ideological stronghold.

For the omniscient observer, old change was good and new change is bad. Yesterday, 96 percent of Black voters supporting Obama was reasonable; today, if 96 percent of Beck’s rally members are White, it’s racist.

Fortunately, the most vocal leftists are proving to be unrepresentative of the general populace. Tuesday’s election will be a gauge of how well the Obama administration has listened to the people, and that alone. The efforts by those who elevate themselves above common Americans and falsely appeal to a contrived rationality will be fruitless. If sanity rallies and calls to reason can’t win Democrats the vote, only one thing will, and they’ve tried it before: change.

Oliver Renick is the executive editor of the Cornell Review and blogs at the Cornell Insider. He is a member of the Student Free Press Association.

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