Former CHSR DJ Kesten Broughton has issued this report from the Rally to Restore Sanity held in Washington, D.C. on October 30. The rally was led by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
I came down from Atlantic Canada for the Rally to Restore Sanity, on my way south to the COP16 conference in Cancun, Mexico.
Here’s what was good about the rally:
People at the Tacoma Metro Station. A packed traincar pulled up to the chant of the awaiting crowd, “Yes We Can, Yes We Can!”
The costumes. Cudos to all those dressed as tea-bags, Chilean miners, Darth Vader and Captain America.
Signs. My favourite sign was “First, the moderates came for the extremists… and I was silent. Then the moderates came for… DOT DOT DOT. This was a nice turn-around on the famous quote by Pastor Martin Niemöller about his nation’s apathy towards the extremist agenda of a minority.
Cat Stevens! Cat Stevens was banned from entering the U.S. after 9/11 on reported suspicions of ties to terrorist groups. Cat Stevens is the singer who wrote “Peace Train”. Somehow, organizers managed to smuggle him in to the country.
Now, the bad:
We biked down to the Washington Mall when it was discovered that the train would be a two hour wait. That was great fun, but when arriving at the mall, there were as many people departing as heading towards it.
The trouble was, that if you weren`t willing to elbow others to get within 4 blocks from the stage, you couldn’t hear or see much of what was going on. Apart from signs and costumes, there was no opportunity for crowd participation like at the massive Burning Man Festival in Nevada or similar artist-run events. While some festivals create space for imagination and allow participants to fill it, there was nothing besides the main stage for the perhaps-unexpectedly-large crowd at the rally.
Several groups, like the D.C. bike valet, tried to participate in the rally but received no response from rally organizers.
Another lowlight of the rally was the food. There were not enough vendors and no variety. There were 7 hot dog trucks and 30-minute waits at every restaurant within 10 blocks. Now that’s scary.
There were also no portable bleacher seats suspended by blimps. This was very disappointing. People couldn’t see the stage. It would have also been much more exciting, in a scary way, for the people on the ground beneath them.
And finally, for the peculiar: A guy leaving the mall said, “I was at the Beck rally. There’s five times as many people here today.” What the “blink” were you doing at both the Glen Beck Rally to Restore Honour to America, and, the Rally for Sanity and Fear!?