My time at Stewart’s rally

Reid Engwall

As many of you might have heard, over the last month or so, satirical comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert planned to have a rally at the National Mall in Washington D.C. this past Saturday. The rally was initially intended to be two separate events, Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive,” but the two were combined to create the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.” According to Stewart, the rally took place to give a voice to the majority of Americans who are often silenced by the much more vocal 20 percent who dominate the political discussion. Many in the media and public sector, though, regarded the rally as a satirical counter to Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on Aug. 28.

For whatever reason, there is no way that Stewart or Colbert could have expected what went on at the National Mall on Oct. 30.

The stage for the rally was located at the far east end of the Mall using the Capitol as a back-drop, but the crowd stretched far beyond, nearly reaching the Washington Monument. The Rally’s lineup of “Daily Show Correspondents” – Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, Aasif Mandvi, John Oliver, and Wyatt Cenac, along with speeches and performances by Sheryl Crow, The Roots, John Legend, Kid Rock, the hosts of “Mythbusters” Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman – not to mention consistent stage time throughout by Stewart and Colbert themselves – created a group of unquestionably diverse guests to speak to an equally diverse gathering of a popularly estimated 250,000 in Washington.

People from across the country, and even the world, came to Washington to take part in the event and make sure that their voice was heard. Signs shot up everywhere, polka-dotting the crowd with both comical slogans, such as “Free the House Elves” and “The McRib is Back,” and political messages, like “Legalize Pot” and “You Can’t Stop the Movement” (whatever the movement is). Even though there was a definite sense of center to left-wing representation, individuals from all political and demographic backgrounds were in attendance.

Muslims (“Muslims Inc. We scare because we care”), apparent Second Amendment Supporters (“Support Your Right to Arm Bears”), supporters of the corporate backing of candidates (“Corporations have souls too”), Christians (“Christ for Sanity”), and those in reasonable opposition to the current presidential agenda (“I disagree with your policies but I’m pretty sure that you are not Hitler”) were just a few in attendance based on their posters.

The rally was initially directed toward “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” fans with a satirical message that can still be read from either the Stewart’s website or Colbert’s However, the event turned into so much more. It was a collection of individuals who are concerned about the direction of our country and came to Washington to voice their opinion about the “extremist media,” “socialist presidential regime,” or any number of issues in our country today. In the end, the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” was an event, if attendance means anything, that showed the American people, young and old, right, center, and left, still care about what happens to our country.