I traveled 15 hours to get to the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Where did I come from? New York City. Was that insane?
What drove me to sit in Holland Tunnel traffic for 2 hours on a Friday night and crawl down the New Jersey Turnpike was probably the same thing everyone else en route was motivated by: Passion! A passion for having our voices heard, a passion for making the statement that our country is not controlled by extremists or haters, a passion for openly declaring our love for country, freedom, mutual tolerance and our way of life. These were the lovers that went down to our nation’s capital. By all accounts, more than two hundred thousand people attended the “Rally for Sanity and/or Fear”—twice the amount that showed up for Glenn Beck’s rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August. It was good to know that more people attended an anti-hate rally than a pro-hate one.
One of the most interesting aspects of the amazing turnout was its intergenerational quality. Twenty-somethings to sixty-somethings filled the overcrowded Metro and the National Mall. Some said they were liberals; others called themselves conservatives. Many said they were “moderates” not confined to labels. All were voicing their protest simply by their presence to the heated and empty vitriol currently favored by politicians and pundits. In Jon Stewart’s moving closing speech, he echoed this theme:
Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives.
How do Americans live their lives? He continued in his usual deadpan style:
Americans live their lives just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do. But they do it. Impossible things that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises we all make.
It was the “reasonableness” of ordinary people that Stewart and fellow funnyman Stephen Colbert emphasized.
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