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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“I wanted to be one more body counted in the sanity column,” said the woman from Tennessee, a retired publisher. And what’s the definition of sanity? She thought a moment, then offered this: “It’s speaking truth as opposed to platitudes – platitudes like ‘cut taxes’.”Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Stewart, the host of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” has long pleaded for “reasonableness” in public discourse, and makes a tidy living skewering both parties, but clearly has a bigger following on the left.
So the essay question of the day was, is this event a political rally or just entertainment? Clearly, both. With the rise of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and the conservative tea party movement, the left has been aching for an opportunity to talk back, in unison.
“Sanity, not Hannity,” was one popular sign, referring to conservative Fox News talker Sean Hannity.
In the spirit of the Stewart-Colbert franchise, irony was also in plentiful supply. Like this sign: “Gay Nazi Mexicans are Raising our Taxes.” And this one: “This sign is spelled correctly,” a bow to the many tea party signs that could have used spellchecker.
Some rally-goers gave their Halloween costumes an early test-drive, such as the young woman dressed as a witch, with a sign pinned to her back that said “I am not a witch.” Wonder if she’ll owe royalties to Christine O’Donnell. Also sighted: Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Waldo, and Ronald MacDonald.
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."