If you're currently in the U.S. I'm sure you heard about the "Rally to Restore Sanity" that was held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. this past Saturday. Two political satirists hosted the event (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert) for (as they state on the official website):
Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.
You can read a review of the rally on the N.Y.Times (and other papers), but I'd like to share a more personal view with you. My dad's brother and his family flew up from Florida to D.C. to participate in this event, and I asked my aunt if she could tell me something about the experience and let me share it with you here:
"The Rally to Restore Sanity at the National Mall on Saturday, 10.30.10 was all it was billed to be, and more. The crowd of over 200,000 was happy, polite and there for a reason--we are all tired of being told we hate each other and are doomed. Homemade signs and slogans were everywhere, stating points of view politely and spelled correctly. Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert put on a comedy show about reason and fear fighting it out; Colbert trying to overwhelm and rule; Stewart calmly continuing on. His speech at the end was right on point, and very moving. "If we amplify everything, we hear nothing" could be the quote to remember. It didn't matter if you were Democrat, Republican or Independent, a Muslim, an immigrant or just an average guy. Everyone had the message that we CAN and Must work together to get past the hard times.
We (Michael, James and I) left our house at 3:30 in the morning, to drive across the state to the Fort Lauderdale airport and catch a 7 am. flight to DC. Probably half the plane were Rally goers - most wearing t-shirts identifying themselves. Once in DC, we made our way to the mall in a packed Metro train, then walked several blocks to the Mall. We tried to make our way to meet with some friends I had made on the internet, but we ran into a wall of humanity and had to worm and squeeze, politely, through non-existant spaces to make our way to the front. But there were so many people trying to use their phones and upload photos and messages that the cell phone system just collapsed and nothing worked. We never met up with our group, and so wandered our way through the crowd, stopping here and there, then moving on as best we could. We made friends with a Muslim girl from Colorado selling Rally buttons, and chatted with an older man from Santa Fe NM who felt he had to be there, just like us. By the time the rally started, no one was seated and everyone was standing shoulder to shoulder, chest to the next person's back. No personal space here! Those of us who are height challenged had a tough time seeing anything, despite numerous jumbo-trons placed up and down the mall. But it didn't matter - we laughed, cheered, and enjoyed the show we were hearing. Towards the end, we started squeezing our way to the edge of the crowd, as we had a plane to catch at 4:45. We came close to missing it as we just didn't want to leave when Jon was speaking. And then the Metro back to the airport - all I can say is it is a good thing we were in NYC this summer and got some training on how to survive in the subway. We somehow managed to get aboard a train - Michael getting caught half on/half off as the door closed - and stood like sardines 4 stops til we got to the airport. We made it through security 15 minutes before the plane was to start boarding! Then a flight home and a drive back home -18 hours door to door and an incredible adventure in between!
Am I glad we went - absolutely. Would I do it again - in a heart beat. Elections are tomorrow (today), and the most important thing we can do is vote. And then move forward to work together to solve our problems. Just sitting back and letting the negativity rule us is not the answer. And 200,000+ of my closest friends would agree!
Here are some pix they took with their phone, helps illustrate the tale (click on them for a bigger view):
It's election day in the US... mid-terms, so perhaps less exciting than Presidential elections, I know. But no less crucial! If you're in the States then you need to GET OUT THERE AND GO VOTE!!! And pass the word along! If you don't participate in the selection of your representatives on Capital Hill, then you have no right to complain if you don't like what they're doing! I sent my vote in a few weeks ago and got the following e-mail this weekend:
"This message is to acknowledge receipt of your voted absentee ballot. It will be presented to the Canvassing Board within seven (7) days prior to the election to be canvassed and counted."
I'm on the other side of the Atlantic and I voted, so NO EXCUSES!
And a big thanks to my Aunt Patte for sharing that amazing experience with us! :o)