[Editor’s note: Back in May, we ran another postcard from Washington, D.C., sent to us by Travis Boisvenue, who went to interview Tea Party supporters. Eve Tobolka made the trek this time to witness the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear.]
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Glenn Beck was at Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Or at least if felt like he was. In August, the Fox News conservative commentator led a big religious themed rally aptly named “Restoring Honor,” where thousands flooded the Lincoln Memorial to hear Beck demonize socialism and preach ultraconservative ideals. It was obvious that not only was he being heard, but that people were listening and supporting.
Last weekend, Comedy Central satirists Stephen Colbert and John Stewart held a rally of their own, Stewart and sanity vs. Colbert and fear. The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was like a big politically themed Halloween party, and everyone got the message. However, the target wasn’t a political party nor was there mention to support any one in particular. It was “the country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator,” said Stewart, “did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder.”
When Stewart said this at the end of the rally and on a more serious note, I couldn’t hear him. Well over 200,000 people showed up and only 1/3 could hear and see the show in its entirety. Sure, I would have loved not having to whisper to my neighbour for additional commentary to avoid being politely (and understandably) shushed, but it didn’t bother me, or the people further back. Rallygoers seemed to understand that just being there en masse showed the rest of the country and the world that there could be other voices than those who support Beck. “Your presence is what I wanted,” Stewart stated simply. The rally would be judged by its “size and colour.”
Today, Americans are voting in their midterm elections, and after this weekend, there’s slightly more hope that people are looking beyond Fox News sensationalism. Maybe.
All photos by Eve Tobolka