Saturday, November 6, 2010

That rally thing that happened last week...

It's been a week since the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I started writing my recap earlier this week but somehow didn't finish it, however, I did promise one of my aunts I'd tell her all the details so here they are:

Group shot at the rally:

The weather was beautiful, I had great companions, and the show itself was very entertaining. We were extremely lucky in that I live walking distance from the mall so we rolled onto the mall somewhere around 11am I think. At that time it was full but not crazily so and we were able to make our way up within seeing and hearing distance.

I mostly have pictures of people on the jumbo tron:

I didn't realize until I spoke to other friends and coworkers just how lucky we were. A lot of people weren't able to get within viewing distance of the jumbo trons and the speaker system wasn't strong enough to reach all the attendees (estimated at 215,000 by the same people who estimated the Glenn Beck rally in August at 87,000). The metro was also out of control, my coworker came in from one end of the Orange Line and she told me it was an hour wait just to buy a metro ticket, let alone actually get on a train. Her photos are mostly of the lines at New Carrolton!

Apparently the rally broke Metro's ridership record (from a Desert Storm rally back in 1991) with over 825,000 trips taken. Many people wondered why Metro didn't increase service for the rally any more than they did and apparently that's because the organizers told the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) that they didn't expect more than 100,000 people, which also accounts for why the video and sound couldn't reach everyone.

But enough with the numbers.

We ended up sandwiched among people who had arrived early enough to set down blankets and camp chairs. People were super nice, offering spaces to sit on their blankets and sharing snacks and sunscreen. One of the ladies nearest me lives in California but is originally from a small town about 40 minutes from where I grew up in Minnesota!

The program itself was upbeat and largely focused on the media and political world's constant name calling and fear mongering (this went both ways on Democrats & Republicans, Fox News & MSNBC – obviously the crowd slanted to the left but the rally truly was not about one side or the other). This included the awards given out by Jon Stewart to people who, when faced with situations in which most people would have thrown a fit, remained calm and reasonable. Steven Colbert, on the other hand, gave out awards to those people who incited fear through news programming and other channels (it's been a week now and I can't remember many details anymore).

Ozzy on the jumbo tron:

There was also the musical battle between the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens singing Peace Train and Ozzy Osborne singing Crazy Train with Stewart & Colbert eventually finding common ground on the Love Train. And those of us on the Mall itself got to do the wave with the Mythbuster guys so that was pretty cool too (though I don't think that part was on TV, it was part of the pre-show).

The Wave:

That's about all I can think of to recap, the whole rally is online in segments so you can go watch whichever part interests you most here (I suggest Jon Stewart's Moment of Sincerity if you want to hear more about the Why behind the rally).

Some of my favorite signs:

Lastly, Jon Stewart implored people to donate to the Trust for the National Mall and so far they've raised over $180,000. Little known fact: Congress doesn't actually allocate enough money to properly maintain the mall so the Trust was started to fund the upkeep on the monuments and grounds.