Last Saturday I attended the Stephen Colbert-Jon Stewart “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington, D.C. What an experience that was!
The rally was scheduled for Noon – 3:00. My sister and brother-in-law wanted to be downtown well in advance to assure a good spot on the Mall. We left my surburban home at 9:30 or so and hopped on the subway. There were already long lines and crowds at the station. Our ride into town was packed but uneventful.
When we arrived on the Mall, one of the first things we saw was the Fox News truck – which surprised many people. Fox News was the last news organization we had expected to see at the Stewart/Colbert rally. Not surprisingly, quite a few people were taking pictures of their friends standing beside the truck – with a ‘thumbs down’ gesture. A few raised their middle finger while posing. All quite amusing, to be sure.
Once we got to the Mall proper, there were a lot of people EVERYWHERE. It was already packed and we still had almost 2 hours to show time. But the mood was definitely festive and the organizers were playing video clips from Stephen’s and Jon’s shows to keep us entertained. We managed to find a spot from which to watch the rally on one of the many screens that had been set up.
We didn’t move from that spot for almost 5 hours. I had the same 18″-sq. spot of land for almost 5 hours. I didn’t move from that spot. Had I, I wouldn’t have been able to find my sister again. It was that crowded. Seriously.
Once the rally got started, the 3 hours went by amazingly fast. Jon and Stephen were entertaining and funny. Stephen made his appearance like a Chilean miner – he came up from under the stage in a capsule fashioned after the one that saved the miners. He wore an Evel Kenieval suit (cape included) and was just hilarious. Performers included The Roots (never heard of them before but I like their sound), Ozzy Osbourne, Yousef Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens), O-Jay’s, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, and John Legend. All were terrific.
Also for our enjoyment were Jamie and Adam from Mythbusters. They were great. They conducted a few experiments – one of which was ‘the wave’. Starting in the first row, the had all of us do ‘the wave’ that all sports fans are familiar with. The wave lasted a minute as it worked its way down the Mall. It took a good 10 seconds for the wave to reach where I was. [I later watched this online – it was just totally cool to see a ‘wave’ last for so long and go so far.]
So, in spite of standing in one small spot for nearly 5 hours with a backache, a headache, legs aching, dehydrated, hungry, and thirsty – I had a good time. It was a cool event to go to and to be a part of. The turnout was far higher than anyone expected. Current estimates have the crowds at 215,000. I know plenty of people who attended, but I never saw them. The mass of humanity was impressive and overwhelming.
But I will never go downtown to be a part of something so huge again in my life!