Rally to Restore Sanity: Civil Discourse, Mythbusters and Great Music

Rally to Restore Sanity: Washington DC

When Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced they were doing an event in Washington DC to help promote reasonable discourse, it took Heuer and I less than two seconds to decide we were going. We had to be part of this. We had no idea what to expect, or how many people would show up, but this topic hits at our core passion – we wanted to be there.

We arrived around 11am (about an hour before the event started) to find the National Mall was packed. We walked around for a while, just soaking it all in. The crowd was diverse. Mothers. Daughters. Fathers. Sons. Singles. Marrieds. Teenagers. Grandparents. Catholics. Christians. Athesists. White. Black. Asian. Mexican. Irish. German. Australian. Antarcticans. Ok, just kidding about the last one – but you get my point. It was awesome to see people of all walks of life. Coming together around a shared cause.

We made our way through the crowd and found a decent spot just about in the middle of the mall – far enough away to have to watch the jumbo screens to see anything, but close enough to still hear what was going on.

It was incredible. People, people, everywhere. We all just stood there, for three hours. We listened to music. We watched a couple of skits. We even participated in the largest ‘human wave’ thanks to the folks from Mythbusters:

It was a fascinating experiment. These two ‘comedians’ were able to get 200,000+ people to show up on the National Mall in Washington DC by simply making the ask. We all showed up. We hung out. We made some new friends. We read witty signs. We went home. There were no screaming matches. There were no fights. It was simply 200,000+ people coming together to show solidarity around our desire for civil discourse from one another – especially from our politicians.

I will say I felt the day was missing a specific call to action, and I think Stewart/Colbert had a great opportunity to get us to do *something*. We were there. We were ready. Whether it was to encourage friends/family to vote in the November elections that were just a few days away or to write a letter to our politicians didn’t really matter – I was just a little surprised to find this piece missing from the event.

Even without a call to action, I was still glad we went.

I will leave you with the most serious moment of the day, a portion of Jon Stewart’s speech:

This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are, and we do.

But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus, and not be enemies. But unfortunately, one
of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24-hour politico–pundit’ perpetual panic “conflictinator” did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the “dangerous, unexpected flaming-ants epidemic!”

If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

You can see my full set from our trip, but I think my favorite photo form the day is this one. Pure genius. And true.

Rally to Restore Sanity: Washington DC