It’s an hour to the start of the Rally to Restore Sanity, and thousands are on the National Mall watching and laughing as Jumbotrons play past clips from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.”
As satirical as the two Comedy Central stars have treated this event, along with a handful of corporate marketers like Reese’s (handing out free towels), many who trekked here were drawn to the implied purpose.
Rose Capasso, a retired administrative assistant who woke early to come from Fort Lee, NJ, said, that she was “not particularly” a regular viewer or even fan of Stewart’s, but “it’s the idea he presented. There has to be a discourse in the politics of this country.”
“A quote I thought of was ‘behold the tyranny of the minority.’ You look at many of the people who are put on the news and see that it is because they are the ones who shout the loudest. But the media eats it up. But they are immoral. They don’t care.”
She was particularly concerned about the results of Tuesday’s midterms.
“I am a child of the 60s. That is my background. I always thought if you run for office, you had to give your ideas. You had to present ideas. You couldn’t refuse to answer questions.”
Matt Ellinger, a researcher from San Francisco, happened to be in Washington this week so he extended his stay. He watches Stewart and Colbert occasionally, and enjoys the show, but said he came out because he was “excited about the idea that we could show big numbers for a more tolerant and reasonable country.”
He too, worried about Tuesday’s midterms, and said, “I am not trying to be overly optimistic.”
“But I think (the rally) is a great symbol. If it does not go well (on Election Day) at least there is a movement alive and people’s hearts are in the idea of trying to find common ground.”
Signs were plentiful, albeit less geared to particular candidates and many targeted at the discourse and the media or particular issues. “Vote Sanity” signs were plentiful, and one older woman sat on a park pench with the placard, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself and spiders.” “In contrast to the Tea Party’s praise of Fox News, signs here had a different take: “Think outside the Fox” and “Fox keeps fear alive.”
Others were a little … strange.
One woman displayed a sign that read “soul pancake” and “Matt Damon wouldn’t care if the president were a Muslim.”
But the words Matt Damon were kept on a different placard so she could also wave his name separately.
“He knows why,” she said.