It’s 6:04 AM as I manage to somehow turn off my alarm in the dark of my good friends’ apartment. I roll off the couch and attempt to avoid a sleeping woman on an air mattress, a naked attention-craving cat, and other objects out to trip me on my way to the bathroom. Somehow, I managed to shower, put on make up, and grab a cup of coffee after my power nap of three hours (due to catching up/sign making/watching the original Amityville Horror until 3 AM). Friend with job and I navigate to the nearest Metro, which surprisingly wasn’t as crowded as I imagined it would be at 7 AM. The car was packed with signs and laughter and jokes and compassion. The people ranged from teens to grandparents, in every color, plenty of gay couples, and they all had one thing in common: the desire to restore sanity to America.
Upon arrival at the Smithsonian exit, I held my sign proudly on the long walk to the front of the line. Strangers galore, but everyone was friendly. Friend with job and I were interviewed by Forbedre about why we were there (my answer: to have more people show up than at the Rally to Restore Honor… CHECK) and the economy and so on. We continued our journey to the front with compliments, smiles, chuckles, and photo shoots along the way. I did not receive a single negative comment or look towards my poster the entire day. The mindset of this group of people was that of humor. And perhaps acceptance.
Despite the fact that we had no idea where we were going, or where the best place was to stand, we somehow made it to the front. We settled in, a little to the right of the stage and in front of the mega screen. As I check my phone for the time, I realize there’s very little signal and that we would be standing in that spot for the next four hours until the rally began. We made some friends, used the porta-potties, and waited with anticipation for what? We weren’t entirely sure.
At noon, on the dot, The Roots start to play. I had heard their stuff before, but they were incredible live. Makes me want to go buy their album. As everyone was getting excited because it finally started, there was a fabulous surprise. John Legend made his way on stage. The day progressed with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert bickering back and forth about how sanity was better!-no, fear was better!-no, back to sanity! Which included a rather interesting playoff between Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” and Ozzy’s “Crazy Train,” followed by the O’jays’ performance of “Love Train.” The whole ordeal was an interesting mix of music and chaos, that just happened to fit together perfectly.
Acts between the music were humorous. Father Guido Sarducci gave a benediction of sorts, asking “God” to give us a sign when he stated the “correct” religion. Stewart gave out awards to people who have acted rationally in a difficult situation (like the lady who calmly explained how she and others needed jobs, and felt like nothing was being accomplished to Obama) and Colbert gave fear awards (my favorite was to Anderson Cooper’s tight black t-shirt).
Towards the end, Stewart and Colbert held a Formidable Debate. Colbert tried to defeat sanity with his giant life size personification of fear, which was then destroyed like the Wicked Witch when the crowd chanted that we were no longer afraid. Next on the agenda? Jon Stewart’s closing speech.
“I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.”
“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.” Jon Stewart managed to pull everything that happened that day together in his closing speech. To give you the Spark Notes’ version of it, basically the media takes every possible issue and blows it out of proportion. There are terrible, horrible things happening every single day, but the extent to which the media makes it out to be, is unacceptable. To be able to make rational, informed decisions as American citizens, we need more unbiased, rational, informed, news stations. And yes, although I do blame Fox “News” for most of the biased-ness that is occurring, most other news stations lean left. It’s not that hard to figure out. Either way, we as Americans need to start working together instead of being torn apart by our religious, political, and ethnic differences. We’re different, yes, but we don’t need to continuously bash each other. We’re all still Americans, and I’m glad we at least have that in common.
When I get a chance, I’ll also link all the bogs, news articles, and magazines that my sign made it into.