This weekend, I gathered with two hundred thousand of my closest friends to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Metro set a record for Saturday ridership. Over eight hundred thousand trips. One hundred thousand more than the previous record, which was set during the Desert Storm rally in 1991. Of course, people leaned on the doors, then they got stuck, so we all had to get off the train several stops early.
Jon Stewart got Cat Stevens to come sing Peace Train. But that wasn’t fearful enough for Colbert. So he invited Ozzy Osborne to sing Crazy Train. An argument ensued where Ozzy and Cat sang at the same time. It was resolved when the O’Jays sang Love Train. At least they didn’t make us all get off the metro.
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, passed out fliers for her show. There was hardly enough room to move an arm, so I was surprised she got through. I tried walking to the edge of the crowd, but had too much trouble pushing my way through. Stephen Colbert estimated the attendance at six billion.
I was one of the lucky ones who got a spot around two hundred yards in front the stage. Those on the sides could neither see nor hear. Although they had access to the portapotties. The view of the stage was atrocious. When I zoomed in to the max on my camera, I could see the back of Stewart’s head a few times. So I gave up on that and paid attention to the monitors.
Stewart and Colbert gave out Sanity and Fear medals. They emphasized how the media instigates fear. And of course, the surveillance helicopters of Washington didn’t help.
Stewart led a feel-good sing-along. His voice cracked many times. I didn’t get the most hilarious singing on tape. He even laughed at himself and apologized that we had to hear that.
Then Jon Stewart got on his rally soap box for a twelve minute speech which seemed like he was positioning himself to run for office. He criticized the media for how they paint ‘others.’ And stood up for what Americans really are, no matter what political party they support.
The speech was well written and well delivered. It’s posted on YouTube and has more than a million hits. In addition to my view of the rally, there are many more clips on YouTube, some focusing on the crazy signs and costumes, others are just outtakes from CSPAN.