Rally to Restore Sanity: National Mall filled for the Stewart-Colbert event
From around the country, tens of thousand gathered for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear organized by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Will it make any difference once the harsh midterm elections are over?
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Democratic organizers would have preferred that all the energy expended in getting to Washington and rallying on the Mall three days before the election was going to the weekend door-knocking around the country aimed at getting Democrats to turn out on Tuesday. Thatcher Beck, a custom cabinet engineer in Lebanon, Pa, said he came because the rally is “more fun than campaign work.”
“It’s something we can do in a day," he said. "I'm a liberal Democrat, but I'm reasonable, too."
Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga got a “Medal for Reasonableness” for his calm reaction to the blown call that cost him a perfect game last season. He appeared at the rally via satellite from his home in Venezuela. Also honored was Velma Hart, the woman who stood up a recent town hall and calmly told President Obama she was tired of defending him.
Colbert, in his counter role as the spreader of fear, handed out “Fearys,” including one to Anderson Cooper’s “tight black T-shirt.” The CNN newsman himself was the real object of fear, since he has a habit of showing up at scary news events like earthquakes.
Stewart's serious homily
Stewart closed the show with a sermon that began with the question folks have been asking for weeks: What exactly is this rally supposed to be? It was, he said, an effort to bring the country together, in a spirit of civility. He then took on the bombastic cable TV pundits of both the left and the right.
“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing,” Stewart said.
Under a cool, blue sky, a crowd of roughly two to three thousand Angelenos gathered in a downtown park to commune with the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or fear.
The crowd emanated an aura of well-behaved reasonableness as it politely – and enthusiastically – laughed and applauded its way through the three hour show. Folks who had made the effort to navigate the downtown corridor to attend seemed satisfied with the production.
“We really need to help keep alive the fear of insanity,” said Max omega, an LA businessman, as he headed for the parking garage.
Writer and downtown resident, 23 year-old Colleen Mclellan felt a bit removed from the Washington event which the crowd experienced via a JumboTron screen mounted on a truck. But, she added, “It was a thoughtful and accessible way to provoke sanity, which is great.”