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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.