Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

I felt better after watching the rally in D.C. with a few hundred other sane folks at Hotel Congress this morning. I missed the first hour because it took some finagling to attach my Goddard sign, with a “Turn Off Fox News” bumper sticker affixed to it, to my bike.

But my people were there, wearing “Yes We Can” Obama t-shirts and the like, standing in front of a giant flat-screen TV on the Hotel Congress patio.

In their inherent silliness, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who hosted the “evil” part of the show, argued about the size of the crowd — was it 10 million or 6 billion? Apparently, the U.S. National Park Service estimated the crowd at 200,000.

At least six friends from Tucson attended the Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. No doubt I would have gone if I still lived in Maine. I didn’t see anyone I knew, but through one of those odd coincidences, someone behind me received an e-mail from an acquaintance at the Washington Mall.

On our collective TV Colbert reported that the New York Times, CBS and NPR all denied coverage to the event, although I checked online at home and the NYT lead story and slide show were about the rally. I’m flummoxed (but if you’ve been reading my blog you know that’s one of my favorite words).

Comedy Central and C-span broadcast the entire three-hour show commercial free. Full disclosure: Hershey (Yay chocolate!), VW and LG were the three sponsors.

The rally itself was therapeutic. I feel much calmer knowing that I’m not alone in my political lunacy rants, feeling more secure that humor can help us all.

The “conflictinators” [good one, Jon!] on cable TV didn’t cause our problems, said Stewart, but they sure as hell make solving them so much harder.

Taking the media to task, Stewart showed clips from the right and left that obfuscate the issues, with both engaging in name calling and fear mongering. Geez, I’ve done it myself.

What I saw on the clips was mostly new to me: stories from Cable TV about the horror of flip-flops, flying ants or some such craziness, and other fearful admonitions. I was reminded of “1984.”

“If we amplify everything we hear nothing” was one of Stewart’s best serious lines.

The inability to distinguish all Muslims from terrorists helps maintain a constant fearful state, another way to divide us. Who likes Muslims and who hates them? Not so simple.

I loved Stewart’s analogy comparing Americans to cars trying to get through a tunnel. We don’t ram into other cars for displaying an Obama or NRA bumper sticker. Occasionally there’s a jerk who tries to wreak havoc, but nobody likes him.

“The truth is we work together every damn day to get things done,” said Stewart. “The only place we don’t is here [in Washington] or on cable TV.”

He continued, referring to the darkness or problems that are always part of life; “and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.” The crowd roared.

Steward admitted that he wasn’t sure why he proposed the rally. “Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “But your presence here today has restored mine.”

Right on, Jon.

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2 Responses to Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

  1. Kasia says:

    Great commentary, Sheila. I couldn’t make it to the rally but you brought it to me. I appreciate that.

    • sheilawill says:

      Thanks Kasia! I appreciate your reading. Wish I could have been in D.C. Watching the giant crowd reminded me of my younger days when I never missed a meaningful assembly.

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