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Stewart / Colbert "Rally to Restore Sanity / March to Keep Fear Alive"

by Professor Will Huhn on October 31, 2010

in Political,Wilson Huhn

     I felt that I counted for three at John Stewart's and Stephen Colbert's rally yesterday on the National Mall.

     They were there in force – tens if not hundreds of thousands of young people at a rally that attempted to imbue rationalism with a sense of fun.

     The participants were patient, friendly, and cheerful.  I waited an hour and half to purchase Metro tickets in a line that snaked all through the huge parking lot at Greenbelt Station.  There was no linecutting and no complaining.  One young lady and I went up and down the line getting "The Wave" started.  My "Fear the Roo" shirt was cheered by some Akron students.  The trains were cattle cars, but we mooed contentedly just to finally be underway to the rally.

     It was a Halloween parade, young adults dressed up as friendly fruit and animals (including a Big Banana and a Red Duck), Sesame Street characters (Cookie Monster and Elmo), Men in Black, cowboys, princesses, businessmen (though I suppose they might have been businessmen) and odd characters out of dreams.  They were decorative in other ways as well, draped over tree branches like icicles.

     The signs were ironic ("I hate intolerance"), self-referencing ("Conspiracy theories seem more persuasive if written in chalk on a blackboard" – written in chalk on a blackboard), and sometimes unintentionally self-defeating ("Restore Sanity – Legalize Pot").  It took me awhile to understand some of them (I initially thought "Down with Zippers" was a slam against the denizens of the University of Akron). 

     The leaders of the rally are a bit younger than I am and the music they provided dated from when they were young – Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) and the O'Jays.  It was playful, joyful, and hopeful. 

     All in all, I came away with the feeling that, with young people like these, America is going to be just fine. 

     Here is coverage of the rally from Hope Yen of AP, Brian Montopoli at CBS News, Quinn Bowman and Sarah Sullivan at PBS, and FoxNews.  

     Why did I count for three?  Because I was about three times older than the average person there; my feet think that I walked about three times further than I should have; and, upon finally finding my youngest daughter near the stage, I was three times happier than any other person possibly could be.


larry d. October 31, 2010 at 8:54 am

Cat Stevens is one playful dude. It was hilarious when he went on BBC to talk about murdering novelist Salman Rushdie for writing fiction he considers blasphemy.

Mike October 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Whats funny now, is seeing the Faux News clan and there followers trying to down play the crowd. The park service says 200k, and CBS puts it just under 220k! Thats over twice the 87k Beck had at his rally. Spin away!

larry d. October 31, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hopefully they'll all make it to the polls, if they're not too tired from studying and doing beer bongs Monday night. But then again, the whole rally was pretty much about toning down partisanship and mocking Americans who feel strongly about the direction of the nation, so wouldn't voting be a little hypocritical?

Callmewhatyouwill November 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm

The best part is that we feel good. We did our part. We must crush those that do not have and open mind to agree with all points of veiw. I do have one question. Why didn't any brown poeple join us?

Scott November 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Mike, see this story comparing the size of the two rallies:

The park service isn't allowed to publicly estimate crowd sizes since they estimated an embarrassing 400,000 for the "Million" Man March back in 1995. But "privately" they estimated ~200,000 for Stewart's rally, and ~300,000 for Beck's.

Of course, the only rally that really matters is the one that happens tomorrow.

Mike November 7, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Yeah, I'm gonna stick with media sources that are a little more reliable then that Scott.

Dave November 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Are you trying to be funny? Quoting CBS and then talking about reliable media sources. There needs to be a way to show sarcasm. It doesn't come across well in writing.

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