Stewart and Colbert do belong on the National Mall

I must take exception to the conclusions David Zurawik draws ("Laughing on the way to the voting booth?" Oct. 24) regarding the use of satire in political discourse and the use of the National Mall as a mass meeting place.

First, there is nothing "sacred" about the mall that prevents it from being used as a rallying ground for protest and political dialogue; it has been used countless times for this purpose. The point of the rally has an indeed sobering point to make, that political discourse has crossed the boundaries of extremity and works to make our leaders and commentators more polarized than we the people are or want to be.

Second, satire has long been a powerful form of political commentary, offering both enlightenment and release in times of confusion and tension. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are not offering an elitist analysis, as Mr. Zurawik's use of terms like "look down our noses" and "smug ridicule" suggest. When politicians' behavior becomes so irrational as to make reasoned dialogue impossible, satire illuminates the absurdity through humor, deflating the puffed-up shirts of both the left and the right. Satire speaks to the people; just ask Will Rogers, Mark Twain or Charlie Chaplin.

Nancy M. Henley, Cockeysville

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