A cramped bus, little sleep, sunburn and a crowd that was so packed it didn't leave enough room for me to scratch my nose may not seem like a great combination. However, it all came together for one of the best events of my life.
The highlight of the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in Washington, D.C. last Saturday was not the lineup, though seeing Ozzy Ozbourne and Yusef Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens) share a stage was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It wasn't even the jokes and speeches from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It was rather the surprising sense of instant camaraderie that I felt with the enormous crowd of about 203,128 Americans.
College students, aging hippies talking about past rallies, libertarians, moderate Republicans and Democrats and those who were simply drawn by the large crowds were all in attendance; it was all in the name of moderation and sanity.
Many of the signs portrayed the vast diversity, with messages on signs reading, "People for the Responsible Use of Hitler References," "Lazy People For…," and "I Support This Sign." There were signs bashing the Tea Party and hyperbolically making proclamations about eating babies. There was even one memorable sign that had Barack Obama wearing a Marvin the Martian helmet and asking where he was really born.
The main purpose of the rally was to show the country and the world that there are many people stuck in the middle in between the two extremes that tend to duke it out. This aim was achieved.
Another purpose of the rally was to have the proceeds of all the merchandise go toward the restoration of the very mall that the rally was held on. This really says a lot about the state of America when a national landmark like the National Mall is falling into disrepair and a comedian that more Americans trust for news is the one to stand up and do something about it.
Signs, jokes, musicians and entertainers aside, this rally did indeed help to restore sanity. It was a huge relief to see people from all over the country come together to fight back against the rhetoric and craziness that has gripped the political process on both sides during the last decade.
I, for one, despite being exhausted from 16 hours spent on a bus and 10 hours touring D.C., am extremely glad that I went, restoring my sanity and all.