John Stewart, Betty White and the Peaceable Kingdom

I don’t know that I would attend a rally in Washington sponsored by comedians, but from what I watch of it on the internet, the nature of the comedy was in the vein of satire, and that served well to remind us we’ve gotten a little too used to bringing everything to the edge of ridiculous and then some.

John Stewart’s message at the close will likely be what’s best remembered, with Tony Bennett’s Star Spangled Banner a close runner up. Steward said in part “Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!”

This brought to mind a series of famous paintings by Edward Hicks. The Peaceable Kingdom stems from a concept in the Quaker religion of “inner light,” that speaks to the need for breaking down the physical barriers and differences in people and living together in peace. When Hicks painted William Penn and the Indians, the message was the same.

I know this message can be discounted as idealistic peace and happiness blather, but really, can’t we have opinions without letting them be built into walls. Let’s put idealism aside once in a while and realize there are billions of people on the earth–all individuals with their own ideas. To paraphrase what comedian Betty White said in a recent interview, I don’t understand how people can be that anti-anything. Mind your own affairs.

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