Looking back on things, I will not be surprised if someday the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear becomes a bit of a generational Woodstock. There were a lot of people (200-250k depending on who you ask), a lot of good bands played, and everyone was there to have fun. But because in the 21st century the rallying cry is probably more one of “man, if you didn’t blog about it you weren’t really there!” it’s probably time for me to give a summary of what we saw!
(By the way, my sign’s slogan was picked up by the BBC and said picture above of my sister Linda and I also got onto the Huffington Post. Unfortunately the pic is in a 500-picture slideshow with no permanent links, so unless you have way too much free time you just have to trust me it’s in there!)
Anyway, the first thing to note about this rally is there were a lot of people. As in stretched from the front of the National Mall all the way to the Washington Monument, and it was standing room only!
To be honest the main issue with this was Comedy Central who organized the show only expected about 60k people to show up per the filed permit, meaning crowd control was pretty non-existent. Which gets to be a touch worrisome when they try to funnel everyone through the entrance on 7th Street and people who are trying to exit are running into those trying to enter (the Metro was running on their normal weekend schedule so it literally took hours for many to arrive), and you realize no one is moving and it only takes one person to panic… Fortunately nothing happened obviously, but rally-goers ended up shutting down streets in pretty much all directions just by sheer volume. I can’t imagine what the Obama inauguration was like which attracted ten times as many people…
A view towards those camped out on the steps of the National Art Gallery, which hilariously had a narrow little corridor in the middle for those hapless tourists who didn’t get the rally memo and actually wanted to go in. I include this picture because there actually was a guy dressed as Waldo on the steps, so if you ever wanted to do a real-life Where’s Waldo? this is your chance!
Linda posing with an inflatable ball I had the foresight to bring to the rally once I heard they were going to have some bands playing. We released it into the wild while The Roots were onstage towards the beginning of things, so if anyone remembers seeing a yellow inflatable ball while watching on TV you should let me know!
The record should state that after this picture was taken (about a half hour into the bands) we left the Mall as the sheer size of the crowd dictated we weren’t going to see or hear much of anything when it came time for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to take the stage. On the other hand one of Linda’s friends worked at a bar nearby where we could get free beers and food while watching the thing on TV, so this really was a no-brainer! To be honest though, if you were there the best part was really the people-watching. So many creative costumes from guys dressed as Uncle Sam to one dressed as a Tetris piece (“Soviet Bloc,” get it?) and many, many creative signs. A sampling of some favorites, though check out the Huffington Post link above if you want to see more…
Clearly a sign all intelligent people can and should get behind.
12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he [Jesus] was hungry:
13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
To be honest, you might have heard differently but what most impressed me about the rally was how decidedly nonpartisan the whole thing was- sure there were some anti-Fox News signs and some supporting the legalization of pot or whatever, but these were definitely in the minority compared to the plethora of ones just saying stuff like “I like ice cream,” “tights are not pants,” “only you can prevent forest fires,” and “I’m not afraid of other people’s ideas!” It was great. We were a crowd of people there to show we had a sense of humor.
And then as a final note we went home, took a nap, then got dressed for Halloween (forgive the image quality, it’s an iPhone picture). If you ask me Linda and I make a great Alice in Wonderland and Carmen Sandiego respectively- now if only we knew where we are!
PS- I don’t know if I can recommend going through the airport dressed as Carmen. This is because a gal my age in the security line recognized me but her dad didn’t, which led them to get into a heated argument in front of me about how he never cared about her childhood. Awkward!