Restoring Sanity, 200,000 People At A Time

Centrists red and blue are expected to take a beating at the polls today. But it won’t be for lack of effort on the part of the Stewart-Colbert Nation, which seemed to be fully represented on the National Mall last Saturday at the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.”

I was there with wife Laura and brother James, and I can’t even tell you with great certainty why we went. Politically, I’d describe myself as slightly left of center, and although I’ll occasionally defect in favor of a reasonable Repub, I tend to vote mostly Democrat. In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, author and political pundit Garry Wills drew a hard line with this quote: “You may like a person who is Republican, but if you vote for that person, you’re voting for all the apparatus that comes along with it.” I can’t say I’m there yet, but I can understand the sentiment given the Republican Party’s recent efforts to embrace its wackiest citizens.

So although I was leaning toward going, I was still uncomfortable with the thought of joining a couple hundred thousand people in one location, no matter how noble the cause. And any misgivings I had about the trip appeared to be confirmed when our flight to D.C. was delayed for two hours due to a terrorist threat.

Still, we arrived without a hitch at BWI and caught the first train to the Capital, where the spirit of “reasonableness” seemed alive and well – at least for one weekend. In the end, it felt good to be part of an event that thumbed its collective nose at the likes of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the true purveyors of fear at Fox News.

If there was a unifying force at this gathering, it was a shared aversion to political bullies of any stripe (“Use your indoor voice” read one of the better signs). Beyond that, a sense of cartoon-like anarchy carried the day, which made the event seem more like a Tea Party gathering – without all that right-wing doomsday rhetoric.

Jon Stewart said it best at the close of the rally: “We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV.”

So in the best spirit of the rally, I’ll let James’ photos describe what it was like to share the mall with a fairly respectful mob of people who generally agree that President Obama is not Hitler… and that grandma’s fate won’t be determined by a Death Panel. A Apolitical Blues/Little Feat

All photos by James Quine.

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5 thoughts on “Restoring Sanity, 200,000 People At A Time

  • rixaidan, 02 November 2:03 pm

    They have it backwards…. the GOP is Fox News’ bitch.
    Like the Wills’ quote though.
    i wish we could give the Teabaggers their own state (Utah?)
    and tell them to go ahead, show us how it’s done with no tax revenue.

  • Mary, 02 November 3:50 pm

    Yes, rixaidan. And thanks James for the photos – this stay-at-home wanted to see just that – all the great signs and written sentiments of the day. Didn’t get to see enough of ’em. Reminds me of my march: the ERA one way back when….it too was sensible. Maybe that’s what got us no ERA…

  • admin, 02 November 6:39 pm

    Sorry you couldn’t make it, Mar, but we were proud to represent. Thank god we got a national park here in NE Ohio before the tea partiers took over.

  • Matous, 03 November 5:50 pm

    Glad you went.
    One big difference from all the recent Tea party rallies… the signs have far less grammar and spelling errors.
    Results of Nov. 2nd voting clearly show that the movie “Idiocracy” is looking more like a documentary every day!

  • Jack, 04 November 2:23 pm

    Thanks for the post and the photos. Looks like a great event. I missed it and I missed Woodstock too. Damn. But I did march for the ERA.

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