This weekend I traveled to Washington DC with my fiancee to attend Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert‘s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I was quite interested in seeing what kind of people would show up. Despite knowing Stewart’s premise that the rally was for the 80% of Americans who don’t fall into the 10% most liberal or 10% most conservative that generally attend rallys, I knew that in essence the Daily Show and Colbert Report audience and demographic tends to be somewhat liberal and so I expected the majority of the attendees to have that sort of lean.
100 Pictures from the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
by mav • • 4 Comments
Well, that was true.
But I was happy to see that the cross-section in attendance was somewhat more diverse than I expected. While the majority of the attendees were quite liberal (like myself) I was happy to see a fair number of republicans, tea-partiers, anti-abortionists, anti-homosexuals and religious types represented.
It was quite humbling to see so much support for such a realistic cause, essentially “be reasonable people, we’re all in this together.”
In particular, I was quite happy with Jon’s ending keynote where he echo’d many of my own opinions. While it’s easy, as a liberal (or in my case a pragmatic anarchist) to simply vilify the right-wing and blame them for every problem, Stewart made a case that I think most people tend to miss. Simply painting the right as racist, homophobic, capitalist swine is ultimately as damaging as assuming every Muslim is a terrorist. And in each case, our country becomes weaker.
At the end of the day, Stewart and Colbert are simply comedians, albeit ridiculously popular ones. But they accomplished something grand here. Under the auspices of farce and parody, they caused some 200,000 Americans of all ages, races, sexualities, colors and creeds to travel across this country and sit in a field simply to be entertained. Hopefully in the course of that entertainment, some of the message sunk in.
I certainly enjoyed myself. And I left DC this weekend a little more hopeful than I went in.