Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear - It was an (in)SANE amount of fun!

It has been two days since the rally and I am going to have a hard time writing this post.  If you are like me, then you understand how difficult it is to come away from something so large (in size and impact), so fun, so overwhelming (in a good way) and then put it into words; to organize my thoughts, to remember what all I saw, to put my feelings into a description that someone else would understand.  The reality is, the only people who really get it are the people who were there.  I don't know if I can get all my thoughts and interactions into one post.  Maybe I can.  If not, I will do a couple of posts.  Hopefully I will be able to convey to you what this experience was like for me.

I attended the rally with three girlfriends.  We drove to DC, leaving early Friday morning.  Eight hours in the car with four slap happy women can lead to a lot of interesting conversations.  On Saturday, we got up before the sun and were at the rally, along with 1,000s already, at around 7:30AM.  We were leaving DC at about 7:30PM.  We were home at 3:30AM Sunday morning.  On top of all that, I came down with strep throat on Thursday.  Thank goodness for really strong antibiotics.

The morning of the rally, we picked up a young guy, Vincent, on the Metro who ended up hanging with us throughout the day.  Once there, we scouted our spots, with only a little bickering among the four of us.  We can do that and still like each other.  Because we are sane.  We were stage left, at the front of the viewing area right behind the VIP section and we were excited!  We could see the stage plus we could see the jumbotron!

We enjoyed the morning reading signs, people watching, chatting with those around us, watching the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert shows that led up to the announcement of the rallies and Colbert asking to join Jon Stewart and make it one rally.  There was music.  And some pot smoking, not by us and not necessarily in that order.

There were families, there were young people, there were old people (I saw one elderly woman with a cane!), and every age in between.  There were couples, there were people in groups and people alone.  As I mentioned, we met Vincent.  He decided at the last minute on Friday to drive up from Knoxville and no one could go on such short notice.  So he came alone.  Once we secured our seats, we met a woman about my mom's age who was there alone, from Texas.  She had been in DC the few days before for work and decided to stay and go to the rally.  Her employer made her promise she would not wear any clothing that would identify them. 

While the rally was mostly comedy, of course the message of sanity vs. fear was all throughout.  Imagine watching a live show, not knowing what is next.  Jon Stewart wants to ride the Peace Train and cueYusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) coming out to sing.  At this point I was trying to call my husband because CAT STEVENS is singing Peace Train and I am there to see it!!!!  However, when Stephen Colbert insists he does not have a ticket on the peace train and he has no plans to get one, but feels much safer on the Crazy Train, cue Ozzy Osbourne's entrance, I quickly hung up the phone and starting jumping up and down and screaming my lungs out like a schoolgirl!  Oh my, I can't tell you how much we were enjoying this show.  Colbert and Stewart finally both agree, however, that while one won't ride the peace train and the other won't ride the crazy train, they can willingly ride the Love Train together, cue the O'Jays entrance, and the point of the rally is made, once again.  Work together, without yelling, screaming, hating, name calling.  Listen to others who have different viewpoints to make things happen, to get things done.  Without yelling, screaming, hating, name calling.  The entertainment of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert continued along with their guests.  Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock performed together, Tony Bennett sang, John Legend entertained us early on, Jeff Tweedy (from Wilco) and Mavis Staples performed a duet.  The Roots played for about 40 minutes or so.  Sam Waterston read a poem written by Stephen Colbert.  Father Guido Sarducci gave the "benediction".  I may be forgetting someone.

The most serious moment was Jon Stewart's closing.  If you haven't seen it, go HERE.  Really, go there.  It's good.  It's about 10 minutes.  Here are some of my favorites from the speech:
The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. If we amplify everything we hear nothing.
If the picture of us were true, of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!

The only place we don’t is here [meaning DC] or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustain us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it--impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.
Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
I will end with one more thing.  My mama (and dad) sit pretty far to the right on the political spectrum.  There are some things we agree on, but many we do not - not just politically, but socially, morally, etc.  My mama knew I was going and I told her she could watch it live.  Lo and behold, she did.  And this is what she emailed me when it was over:
We taped the show, Dad will watch it later but I watched it live. He [Jon] is great, so real! I wish we would have been there to appreciate his appreciation of our great country.
This little blog entry does not even come close to doing justice to the day.  I wish I was a much better writer to be able to give you the feel of the day, to make YOU feel like you were there.  But I'm not, so I can't.
I am sorry for that.

Come back next time for pictures, sharing of signs, the story about how I called a young man dressed as an ape an asshole, directly to his ape face and a little story about me almost going into full blown hysteria in a crowded Metro station.


  1. I so wish I could have gone! It sounds like an amazing event.

  2. I am so jealous! I wish I could've been there! I've watched most of it on TV/Computer but it would've been so much more amazing in person!

  3. I watched Saturday afternoon, and his closing remarks were, simply, sensible greatness. I think my husband, who slants differently than I do, got a little tired of me saying "YES!" as the viewing time went on!

  4. I big puffy fuzzy heart Jon Stewart. Glad you had a good time. Scary when a comedian is the voice of reason, but maybe he's just what we all need - a little laugh, and little slap upside the back of our collective heads.

    I'm dying at all the compare numbers of attendees crap though. Makes me want to shout at all of them to just throw their male appendages out on the table and someone get a ruler.

    Can't wait to read more!!

    (hope your strep is treaing you better)

  5. oh my gosh. I am in tears. I didn't expect the reaction I'm having!! Maybe it's just because I wish I'd been one of your friends screaming our heads off. Maybe it's deeper than that. ;)

    Father Guido Sarducci? shut up!!!! (not the reason I'm tearing up btw).

    You've related everything so well here. you go girl!

  6. I was there too! And I know what you mean - it was such a great experience, I'm so glad I was able to physically be there for it.

  7. I did not realize you were going! How amazing. I am envious.

  8. GOOD FOR YOU! Sounds like a wonderful experience!