On Saturday, October 30, hundreds of thousands of sane and fearful Americans packed the Washington Mall for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, hosted by Comedy Central pundits Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
The pair of comedians, stars of sister political humor TV shows “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report”, originally planned two individual gatherings at the location – the simultaneous Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive – but the dual meetings were merged into one well-publicized comedic act.
Though some political experts criticized the rally for having partisan undertones – that is, hints of political opinion behind the outer message – Stewart argued that the purpose of the rally was strictly for entertainment for an ‘insane’ America.
Alex Popov, Cameren Dolecheck, Alyssa Morisi, and a group of other Leesville students attended the rally.
“I was stoked,” Popov recalled. Though their group was very far from the stage, “we could catch most of the jokes.”
Of course, at a venue like the Mall, being within hearing range is a challenge in itself – especially with the volume of attendees from all across the nation.
“There were more people there than I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Alyssa Morisi, who traveled with their group.
Fans in cities from all parts of America organized trips to the Rally, bringing diverse viewpoints and regions to Washington.
“I almost enjoyed the people more than the rally,” Popov said. “Most of the people were open-minded and had a great sense of humor.”
CBSnews.com reported that Stewart’s rhetoric during part of the rally was directed against the mass media outlets of America, and “the false image of Americans being pushed by the cable news-driven media”, called by Stewart “the country’s 24-hour politico pundit perpetual panic conflictinator.”
“The media couldn’t figure out what [the rally] was about… it was ‘anti-media’ in a way,” claimed Popov.
But the overall purpose of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was conciliatory. “Everyone there seemed so nice about everything,” said Cameren Dolecheck, attendee. “The rally was trying to make people see the gray, and not to be so black-and-white… the main point was to be ‘anti-crazy’, if you will, and bring people to accept a difference of opinions.”
“Other nations might consider us single-celled,” said Popov, “but I think it was a very good message [for Stewart] to give America a chance to not be red or blue.”