Written by TempeBev’s daughter, Tif, who attended the Rally to Restore Sanity.
We flew out on Friday afternoon/evening in a plane totally packed to the gills. Apparently, there was also a Marines marathon race goingon the same weekend, so there were some military on board. At the end of the flight, the flight attendant asked us to applaud the military who were on board, and we did. Then suddenly, someone shouted, “And we’ve got Rally-ers on board too!” to which nearly half the plane erupted into hoots and hollers
We stayed out in a suburb in Maryland, thinking that if we were at the end of the Metro line, we’d have a better chance getting a subway into DC. I guess a lot of other people thought that too. The station in New Carollton was packed, completely overflowing so we reasonably and courteously pushed our way to get tickets with the rest of the thousands who were there, and then onto the train We followed the herds of people onto the National Mall and realized quite quickly that if we wanted to get a good spot, we should have arrived about three weeks earlier. Donning our neongreen “SL, UT” shirts, we weaved our way through the humanity, andfinally settled into a thick pack of bodies just behind the first jumbo-tron screen.
The crowd grew thicker and thicker until you couldn’t fall down if you tried. The rally started with thumping music from The Roots. I do have to say that the duel between Yusuf (Cat Steven)’s “Peace Train” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” was just sublime hilarity.
The poor souls who didn’t use the facilities before the show started(or who had small bladders) had to politely yet determinedly squeeze their way through the sardine-like bodies; they were never to return. I’m certain that some folks, once they realized that if you left, you weren’t getting back, just piddled in their pants. LIke the guy in front of me said, “Hey, it’s sterile,and it’ll dry.”
I think that the attendance has been put at about 215,000 people, and it could have been more (certainly not less). The signs were brilliant and made me wish that I could take a class to teach me how to be clever. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. “My wife is a Muslim and NOT a terrorist, but I’m still scared of her.”
2. “God Hates Figs. Mark 11:12:14”
3. “It’s not fascism when we do it.”
4. “We disagree, but I understand I still mustn’t stomp on your head.”
5. “Protest signs are an ineffectual way of communicating nuanced views on issues that cannot and should not be reduced to simple pithy slogans.”
6. “I’m mad as hell and I’m going to take a deep breath and count to ten.”
It was an excellent experience and great to be a part of. I’m sure that no real change will come of it, because fear is too profitable and polarization means not having to take responsibility to actually do something. But, it was three hours of feeling really good and lucky to have the folks at the Daily Show and Colbert Report to make some sanity in the midst of all the noise. We drank a toast to them later.
P.S. Our “SL, UT” shirts were quite the hit. We got many curious stares and when we announced “Salt Lake, Utah” each time, people were thrilled that we came all that way, and also that we can laugh at ourselves in Utah too. I’m sure we’re on someone’s Facebook page by now, given all the photos that were taken.