Monday, November 15, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity

A couple of weekends ago I attended Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. I had nothing better to do that day, which was really the ultimate requirement for attendance. For those of you who didn't watch it on TV or have no idea what I'm talking about, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert hosted a rally on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to get people excited about the possibility of just "being reasonable" rather than becoming either overly political to the left or the right, or being so brainwashed by the media feeding frenzy of the day that you no longer have the ability to think for yourself.

While the rally was interesting and I'm glad I went, I'm also glad I Tivo'd it to watch later because I missed about 90% of it.

Getting to the rally was definitely the most important part of the experience. After finding that I was the only one of my local friends nuts enough to make the trip, I decided to head to DC on my own and stay with my cousins, whom I easily convinced to go to the event because, like me, they had nothing better to do. I drove out the night before, and the next morning the three of us began our trek into town.

The adventure started at the DC Metro station in West Falls Church, VA around 9am. Having failed to think of buying Metro tickets the night before, we arrived there to discover twelve hundred people in line in front of us attempting to buy Metro tickets as well. After about an hour of standing in line and a couple of brief thoughts about leaping from the over pass onto the roof of an oncoming train in hopes of skipping the line, we made it to the ticket booth, bought our passes, and hoofed it down to the platform. When we looked back at the line behind us, we discovered that it now extended out the door of the station and down the street.

This was the line in front of us to get tickets for the DC Metro.

The first available train arrived at the station after a few minutes. Unfortunately, it was so completely packed with people from the previous stops that there was no chance of getting on. So we decided to be sneaky and get on the next train arriving from the OTHER direction, take it to the end, and wait for it to turn back around. That turned out to be a well-timed idea, because ten minutes later when the subway arrived back at our original station we saw that EVERYONE was attempting to do that. I have to believe that enough people gave up waiting that the rally would have been attended by an additional hundred thousand or so people had the DC Metro gotten their act in gear and supplied more trains.

We arrived in town a little after noon. Yes, over three hours to get in from the suburbs. So much for restoring sanity. After a brief walk toward the mall, we encountered THE CROWD.

For the next several hours we were packed like matchsticks into the vast, wide open space that is our National Mall. We had as clear a view of the stage as a resident of Vermont would have of Manhattan. The speakers and Jumbotrons were so far away that all we could hear was an occasional bass echo off the wall of the Smithsonian, amongst the chanting of "Louder! Louder!" by our three hundred thousand immediate neighbors.

But what made the whole thing bearable was the people around us. Everyone was friendly. Outgoing. Perhaps a little silly. The signs being carried by many were ingenious, and the costumes were a bit odd if not ridiculously funny.

I found it amusing that with 300k people they attempted to have an information booth.

That white thing behind the guy with the camera is a dude dressed as a tooth.

A simple test that should be used for all future primaries.

Hopefully not at the same time. Ew. Talk about your hanging chads...

Left wing kitten-loving hoser. Get outta my Belgian Cafe!

After watching the rally on TV the next day, I have to say I really didn't miss all that much. John Stewart's closing speech was fantastic, and his banter with Colbert was amusing as usual. The rest of the acts served pretty much as a way of filling time, and not much more. But at least I can say, "I was there".

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