The Rally to Restore Sanity was off the chain.

I got up at 6:40 AM this morning. I figured that if I was going to be on my feet all day, I should start the day off right. I had an omelette, fruit and copious amounts of coffee, then took a shower and dressed for cool weather and walking. I actually left a bit later than I had planned, but that didn’t matter, as it turned out that my friend Nick K. and his gaggle of (very, very cool) friends were running significantly later.

2010 10 27 - 8105 - Washington DC - Metro Station by thisisbossi, on Flickr
A normal day on the Metro.

Even with my late departure, I was at Glenmont Metro station by 8:45 AM. That’s when I began to understand that my conceptions of this rally were … a bit off. I’d anticipated maybe 50,000 people – a comfortable little event were we wouldn’t have a major problem seeing the stage. Well, the Glenmont Metro Station – which is one of the least busy endpoint stations on the system – was packed. There were people all over the platform.

Smithsonian Metro platform, 2 PM by angelynx_prime, on Flickr
Smithsonian Metro platform, 2 PM by angelynx_prime, on Flickr. Yes, that's _before_ the rally actually ended.

By the time I reached our meeting point at Gallery Place / Chinatown, I had gotten used to the idea that I was going to be standing all day staring at a JumboTron. I camped out on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery and waited on Nick and his crew. He showed up before long with Krispy Kremes and some great posters: “Say NO to NUTS! (well, unless … of course … you’re into that kind of thing),” and “Everything is good in moderation. (except sex, and chocolate, and beer, and …).”
I love that guy.

The ladies decided they wanted coffee with their Krispy Kremes, and so we spent an hour (no joke) waiting on them to get through the line at Dunkin’ Donuts. We could see the exit of the Gallery Place / Chinatown metro stop from our perch at the gallery, and it was pouring fourth a non-stop stream of people. After the coffee was successfully acquired, a few more people showed up, and we joined the throng headed down to the Mall.

Once we crossed Madison Drive, we managed to make it onto the mall proper, and move forward all of 200 feet toward the nearest – and last – JumboTron and speakers. For the next 4 hours, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other rally-goers and .. well .. had a blast.

Joe Jervis photo of rally.
A picture across the top of the rally, by Joe Jervis. Click for more!

One of the most fun parts of the rally was the Myth Busters segment. They had Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman there, and they conducted fun “experiments”. The first was examining how fast The Wave propagates through a crowd; it took almost 60 seconds to travel from the front to the back, which should give you an indication of just how big the crowd was. Next they had everyone making noises – cheek pops, crying, laughing like a mad scientist, etc. The best one, though? They had us make an earthquake. All 200,000+ people jumped into the air at one time. It sounded like distant thunder. Apparently, though, it didn’t make much of a quake (lol).

The music was kind of hit-and-miss. I mean, the names were… well… legendary: John Legend & The Roots, Ozzy Osbourne, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, and more. The problem was their song selection – it wasn’t up-tempo enough. The performances, though, were very good (with one or two exceptions).

Rocker Ozzy Osbourne performs during the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
Rocker Ozzy Osbourne performs during the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

I actually don’t watch either Stewart or Colbert. I’ve never been much of a late-night comedy fan. My daily dose of non-fiction programming consists of Maddow & Olbermann clips on MSNBC. I have to say, though, the guys were funny. Personally, I enjoyed Colbert more than Stewart, but that might have been a one-off thing. They started the rally by showing how it ended up being one rally instead of two (that was a fiction, of course). Then, Stewart came out on stage and welcomed The Roots. John Legend joined them a few minutes later. After their first set, Stewart had to coax Colbert out of his “fear bunker, 2000 feet below the mall.” Colbert came up to the stage in a “Fenix” capsule, wearing a super-hero suit.

They battled it out over Fear and Sanity for the next couple of hours, victimizing Ozzy Osbourne, Yusuf Islam, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, R2D2 and many others in the process. Colbert handed out “Fearies” (think Emmy) and Stewart gave “Medals of Reasonableness”. The highlight of that segment was when Colbert gave a “Feary” to the major networks who refused were too afraid to cover the rally – a brave, 7-year-old girl accepted the honor “in their place.”

Comedians Stephen Colbert, right, and Jon Stewart perform in front of the U.S. Capitol during their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
Comedians Stephen Colbert, right, and Jon Stewart perform in front of the U.S. Capitol during their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

At the end of the rally, Stewart took a few minutes to actually give a speech. As one of the other guys in my group said, he undercut himself a bit by injecting to much humor – but then, he is a comedian. What he had to say was exactly why I went to the rally, and exactly what I was trying to say in my earlier post on restoring sanity to political discourse. Here’s the meat of it:

I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism, or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are, and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times..
 
[This] country’s 24-hour, political pundit, perpetual, panic conflict-inator did not cause our problems. But its existence makes solving them that much harder … If we amplify everything, we hear nothing..
 
Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do. But they do it. Impossible things [are accomplished] every day that are only made possible through the little reasonable compromises we all make..

That’s what this was all about, and quite honestly, this rally restored my hope that a return to sanity is possible. For over 6 hours today, I and my friends stood surrounded by thousands and thousands of other truly decent people. I spent 3 hours jammed up against 3 guys and a tiny little Asian girl that I’d never met before in my life, and at the end of the day, if they’d needed a place to stay, I would have offered. Every person I saw in the crowd was someone I ended up respecting, or at least understanding on some level. If you doubt the truth of that, you should have seen the condition of the National Mall when we left – it was spotless. There were literally people walking around begging to take your trash and recyclables.

Rally to Restore Sanity - 029 by derAmialtebloede, on Flickr
We were like Boy Scouts (except pro-gay), and left The Mall better than we found it.

After the rally, we sort of camped out on The Mall for a while – trying to get to a Metro station would have just been maddening. We chatted, rested our weary feet, and admired other people’s signage (personally, I thought Nick’s signs were the best). A few choice ones:

  1. They told me there would be Justin Bieber.
  2. Every word on this sign is spelled correctly.
  3. You seem nice, but if Zombies attack, I’m tripping you.
  4. The rent is too damn high!
  5. Palin Voldemort 2012. Keep Fear Alive!
  6. Fear is the mind-killer!

I’d thought about going to the meet-up with Joe Jervis and the readership of Joe.My.God. at The Green Lantern, but I chickened out decided that I need a wingman for my first visit to a gay bar. Since everyone else had plans, we went our separate ways around 5:30 PM. The trip home was uneventful, other than pleasant encounters with other sane people – including the total cutie who very, very politely asked to sit beside me on the jam-packed metro. I’m now sitting at my desk drinking fluids and soaking my feet… and feeling rather alone. Being one in a crowd of 200,000 must impact you on levels you don’t expect.

My Thoughts Recent Events

Here’s how I see it.. My thoughts on the topics we’re being forced to think about (and on some topics we actually should).

On Plane Crashes
The global air transportation industry hasn’t had a new thought in years. We’re really still using state-of-the-1970’s technology. I wonder what it would take to start seeing real change and innovation again.

On Dead Pop Super Stars
Sometimes I get the feeling that Michael Jackson never really got the chance to live, and god help his children. I’m not a fan, sorry, but I understand his influence. And Peter King is an idiot (which shouldn’t surprise anyone).

On Obama’s Continued “Fierce Advocacy”.
I’m beginning to understand why my grandfather refuses to vote. Humans always disappoint you, but politicians take it to an art form.

Mario Lavinderia (Perez Hilton).
The sheer magnitude of my schadenfreude from watching will.i.am. punch Perez in the face has probably destined me for life as a turnip next time around. This made me sick, but this made me feel better: ““I’ve always known that a lot of gays didn’t like me,” [Perez] told me a week after the incident, “but after this it felt like no gays liked me. It was one of the worst weeks of my life.””

Taser Your Child at Work Day
I reported on this a while back. The main stream media is finally picking it up. Yeah, yeah, I know they only used stun guns, not actual tasers. I suppose that makes it better.

Iranian Revolution
I wish them luck, but it’s gonna take a lot more of this for the international community to actually freaking do anything about these religious nutcases.

On That Batsh*t-Crazy Woman from Alaska
Here’s hoping she really is dead, but as I said to a friend the other day, “She’s like dog poop on the bottom of your shoe: just when you think you got it all off, someone’s like, ‘what the fuck is that smell?'” So I’m not counting on it, and I’m as confused as the next girl. Maybe Sanford should take a leaf from her book?

AMC Calls Robert Gibbs Bluff

I’m guessing that fear of the Rachel Maddow / Anna Marie Cox double whammy keeps poor Robert Gibbs up all night.

 
I’m guessing that fear of the Rachel Maddow / Anna Marie Cox double whammy keeps poor Robert Gibbs up all night. Check out this segment of Maddow’s show where she details Ana Marie Cox calling the White House on its DADT BS yet again. I swear, the woman should have been a trial lawyer.

White House Spokesman Lies About DADT

Air America reporter Ana Marie Cox asked White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs “Is their [Choi, Fehrenbach] dismissal a part of his national security strategy, or is their dismissal itself a threat to national security?” Gibbs reply was a blatant fabrication.

An Air America reporter, Ana Marie Cox, asked White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs a very pointed question yesterday: “Is their [Choi, Fehrenbach] dismissal a part of his national security strategy, or is their dismissal itself a threat to national security?” The best part is when Gibbs lies to her face and says that Obama is working with the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Just yesterday, pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that A) there are no plans to end DADT, and B) there are no ongoing studies related to it.

 
As I said yesterday, Obama and his team are forgetting his promises, and seem to have no intention of taking action on DADT at all.

Yet another hero falls victim to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

First Lt. Dan Choi, now Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach. God only knows how many other gay soldiers have been booted out of our armed forces, unremarked, between these two. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that firing 18-year veterans with millions of dollars in training is going to help keep our armed forces ready to defend us..

First Lt. Dan Choi, now Lt. Colonel Victor Fehrenbach. God only knows how many other gay soldiers have been booted out of our armed forces, unremarked, between these two. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that firing 18-year veterans with millions of dollars in training is going to help keep our armed forces ready to defend us.

 
Obama could suspend these travesties with a simple executive order, designed to halt the lynchings until this unjust law can be repealed. Instead, we find that since that warm, fuzzy week after the inauguration, his promises to the LGBT community – some of his most loyal, ardent supporters – have been swept under the carpet. So much for getting rid of the politics of yesterday.


//EDIT: Take a look at just how far Obama has distanced himself from the promises he made on the campaign trail:
 

Fourteen years ago, the Democratic Party faced a test of leadership, and our party failed that test. We had an opportunity to be leaders on the World stage in eliminating discrimination against gay and lesbian service members, to recognize the patriotism and heroism of the hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian citizens who have served our country. Instead, we bowed to fear and prejudice. We were told that American soldiers weren’t ready to serve next to gay and lesbian comrades. We were told that our airmen, sailors and Marines would lose their “unit cohesion” if we implemented a policy of equality. And so, rather than embracing leadership and principle, we embraced Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – a policy that is antithetical to the values of honor and integrity that our military holds most dear.

Here’s the current WhiteHouse.gov language on DADT:

He supports repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security…

I hardly think I’m the only one who will read that sentence and understand that repealing something “in a sensible way” probably means we’ll never see action on it at all.