Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and Stephen Colbert’s March to Keep Fear Alive took place this Saturday, Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C. The joint “Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear” was a chance for people to get out and show they cared about something, maybe truth in our leaders to make good decisions, or just that they still have the ability to laugh about the current political state.
Stewart asked the public to come and support rational decision-making and truth, in both the media and Washington. Stewart’s website states that the Rally To Restore Sanity is “for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs)”.
On the other hand, Colbert called for people to come to his Rally To Keep Fear Alive, to not think reasonably, you know, because we can’t afford it. Colbert’s rally was a response to Stewart’s, and he stated on his show that he would “restore truthiness and fight Jon Stewart’s creeping reasonableness” with his own march.
An estimated 215,000 people gathered on the national mall for the joint rallies, many more than Comedy Central originally expected. According to the Wall Street Journal, Comedy Central’s permit expected 60,000 people, even though they ordered enough portable bathroom facilties for 150,000. The crowd was captured by ariel photographers, and even though it wasn’t the 6 billion Colbert predicted on Twitter, the large turn-out is definitely impressive.
During the three-hour rally, Stewart and Colbert entertained the crowd with skits and segments, along with special musical guests: The Roots, John Legend, Ozzy Osbourne, Yusuf Islam (but everyone knows him better as Cat Stevens), Sheryl Crow, and Kid Rock.
Towards the end of the rally, Stewart took the chance to address the crowd in a more serious manner, talking about the issues we face today and how Americans are portrayed in the media and by politicians and the press.
“The image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false…We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done,” he said.
“But the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here [in Washington] or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done.”
Stewart’s message to restore truth and dignity in politics and our daily lives is uplifting. With elections coming up, I can’t even turn on my TV without being bombarded by smear campaigns and commercials telling me why I shouldn’t vote for this Republican or Democrat.
Overall, the Rally to Restore Sanity and The March To Keep Fear Alive was a huge success with a bigger turn-out than expected, and according to the New York Times, four million people watched the rally live online. When asked how he thought the media would report on the event, Steward said, “I couldn’t care, I just don’t care. We’re proud of ourselves and proud of the show we did.”