Stephen Colbert wants college students to be afraid.
“Fear is ubiquitous and I don’t even know what ubiquitous means,” he said. “The fight-or-flight response is why our ancestors survived.”
The host of The Colbert Report — a satirical news show — is holding the “March to Keep Fear Alive,” a rally taking place on October 30 at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
The purpose of the march is to encourage people to act through fear rather than reason. It is understood best when contrasted with the “Rally to Restore Sanity,” held by Jon Stewart — host of The Daily Show — at the same time and place.
Penn Democrats recently announced that they are renting a bus to take interested students to Jon Stewart’s rally. They are able to bus 48 people.
“People become complacent and make their decisions through reason,” Colbert said. “This is an interdiction to keep Jon from making people reasonable.”
He may be fighting a losing battle.
“I fear that more people will come to [Stewart’s] rally than mine,” Colbert said. “I fear that people like him more than me.”
The idea for Colbert’s rally arose on the online forum reddit.com as a response to political commentator Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally.
To convince Colbert to host his own march, his fans created the website colbertrally.com and began a campaign to donate money to one of his favorite charities, DonorsChoose.org — a website that helps students through classroom donations.
“I was surprised to find out how many people donated on DonorsChoose — to bribe me with kindness to get me to do the rally,” Colbert said. His goal is to have supporters raise at least half a million dollars on the website. They have already raised more than $420,000 as of last night.
Colbert and Stewart bowed to public demand following the internet campaign and decided to hold competing rallies simultaneously.
Colbert hopes that his march will turn out to be “a generation-defining event.”