Stephanie Jo Chapa on Friday, Jan. 20th
By Stephanie Jo Chapa
Reporting from Charleston, South Carolina — Stephen Colbert, the satirical newsman and Charleston, South Carolina native, along with former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, held the much publicized “THE ROCK ME LIKE A HERMAN CAIN: SOUTH CAIN-OLINA PRIMARY RALLY” at the College of Charleston today at the central Cistern Yard in downtown Charleston, SC. Crowds reached slightly more than the 3,000 occupant limit and it didn’t stop students (and even a group of university administrators) from leaning out of windows, porches, and climbing atop the surrounding iron gates to listen to this spectacle visiting Charleston.
The lines started forming hours before Colbert’s arrival, with people curious to see what the next installment of Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow would bring. “I don’t even think Lindsay Lohan could draw a line as quickly as the one at The Cistern did,” tweeted @chsgirlprobs.
Colbert, all smiles and exuding a presidential aura, strutted out of Herman Cain’s bus to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” that could be heard thumping in the surrounding city blocks. The crowd danced along, and cheers went up as Colbert approached the stage. Colbert opened with a rendition of “This Little Light of Mine,” with a gospel choir backing him up on stage.
Colbert uses satire as a vehicle to spread his message, and it clearly worked today. Charleston Resident Alexandra Haynes believes comedy is an effective tool to educate, saying “I learned I was able to vote in the Primary, even as a registered Democrat,” referring to previous Colbert statements he made on his show explaining the South Carolina primary process. Colbert reeled in the crowd with his serious-turned-sarcastic speech, “Every generation is called to expand the definition of ‘person’,” and “I am the Martin Luther King of corporate civil rights.”
The scene was raucous and overwhelmingly pro-Colbert. As a humored and vibrant Cain took to the stage, he proclaimed that, “Mr. Colbert could not get on a ballot, and I could not get off the ballot, so that’s how this came about.” He was emphatic when declaring that “Washington is broken,” and “America is broken.” While onlookers half-cheered, Cain challenged the mainly college-aged crowd to stay informed, involved, and inspired, and that they must change Washington from the outside, inspiring one to wonder if this was the sincere portion of the show. (Really, we’ll probably never know.)
One student claimed she would “probably not” vote in the Republican primary tomorrow and mentioned that her group wasn’t in the know about Super PACs. But Colbert was there to explain that, until recently, corporations were subject to campaign finance limits, so that after 2010 deregulation, corporate-funded “Super PACs were born unto us.” In June of last year, ABC reported that the FEC voted to allow Stephen Colbert the right to create a super PAC, which he called Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.
As the event came to an end, the question remained: what’s the impact of Colbert’s attempts to run for president and shed light on super PACs?
“If they are calling being allowed to form a super PAC and [collect] unlimited and untraceable amounts of money from individuals and unions and corporations and spend that money on political ads and for personal enrichment and surrender that super PAC to one of my closest friends while I explore a run for office—if that is a joke, then they are saying our entire campaign finance system is a joke.”
Your thoughts, America?