The National Mall in Washing DC was already packed with blankets and people as the sun was rising over the Capitol Building on Oct. 30. Some had slept out all night, but at 6 a.m., the ones who hadn’t were arriving in droves.
The hazy sky illuminated cleverly designed signs bearing phrases such as “Things are pretty okay.”
The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was marketed as a “lampoon to bipartisan politics.” In reality, it was so much more.
TV personalities Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert joined forces that Saturday in the National Mall for the widely anticipated rally.
Between the musical guests, including Cat Stevens, Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Bennett, the hosts exchanged witty, but not accusatory, banter.
The crowd was a thoroughly diverse one filled with people who weren’t looking to take a side. There was no party loyalty driving the topical flow but a general promotion of inclusivity and unity.
Most of the rally produced gut wrenching laughter as Colbert played the part of a person who perpetually lives in terror because he is influenced by the fearful messages of biased Western media.
Stewart took a serious moment at the end and addressed the fact that everyone should make an effort to remember we are on the same side and to stop taking seriously the spreading animosity between political parties.
Stewart’s words of hope received head nods and caused eyes to well with tears across the broad expanse of the 250,000 people that journeyed to the mall to hear him. As the crowd filtered out, his words couldn’t help but echo on everyone’s faces.
“We know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together,” Stewart said. “And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the Promised Land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.”